I arrived in the Netherlands four months pregnant. So I looked for information about giving birth here. I found out there is a very old-fashioned system where you never see a doctor and all the appointments are with midwives. Classmates told me these women do not use technology and that they push you to have the baby at home. In my imagination they were stout old women in white coats who do not speak English. I got really scared.
During the appointments with the midwives, they asked me how I was feeling and whether my baby kicked, they measured my pressure, checked my belly, the baby’s position and his heartbeat. They were always so kind and warm that I began to feel secure, even though I never went to the hospital. I realized this was a totally different approach to the one I know from Chile. Giving birth in my country is a very planned moment. As parents you can decide on the date with your doctor: usually at the weekend because that way all your relatives can visit you. Therefore, over half of births are by caesarean section. If mothers have their babies in the natural way, almost all use an epidural for the pain without question from the doctor.
When my big day came, I still felt very nervous because Dutch people are friendly but not so outgoing and warm, and at that moment I needed to be comfortable. But when the contractions were hard and my baby definitely was arriving, the midwife came to my place. She looked into my eyes, held my hand and helped me to breathe. She was amazing, everything was peaceful and I knew that she could help me. The arrival of Arturo, my son, was a beautiful moment, mainly because she was with us. Maybe Dutch people still don’t seem so open and warm, but the childbirth system is lovely, despite the fact that it is old-fashioned.
Yélica Rudolffi Rojas from Chile, MSc student of International Land and Watermanagement.