We are PREGNANT! Having a baby in Germany vs the US

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We have some news... We are pregnant!! :)  

Here are the stats: 

  • Due Date: June 2018 

  • Its a GIRL!

At the time that I am writing this I am 23 weeks pregnant (just over the halfway mark!). I used to always think "why are these pregnant women always speaking in 'weeks'??!" And now I understand, each week that you're pregnant is another milestone. Something new is happening to your body, and something amazing is happening to your baby. 

As we are "nesting" aka moving into a new/bigger apartment & buying all of the necessities... it seems our travel budget has taken a hit. :( So although we won't be traveling as much as we were in the past, this means I can catch up on our past travels that I hadn't written about! So don't be surprised if I am writing about our travels from a year ago. (i'm so behind!!)


Differences of having a baby in Germany vs the US

(That I know of so far!)

 

I thought I'd write a quick post because I've been getting quite a few questions since we've shared the news.  I'll admit - I am not an expert in this topic - this is all still very new to me, and i'm constantly learning something new as I research, meet with my HR manager, or talk to fellow moms here. 

Where are you having the baby? The US or Germany?

We will be having it in Germany! Germany is known for having amazing maternal/paternal benefits, so although it will be extremely hard to be away from family, we thought we'd take advantage of these benefits.

What are some of the benefits of having a baby in Germany?

Insurance Benefits:

I am a different case to most as Andrew and I have private health care instead of public. (complicated to describe, and in hindsight we should have taken public, but we never expected to have a baby here!)  Some of the benefits that I know we will get:

  • Full coverage of prenatal costs (including prenatal classes, scans, NTS screening, etc)
  • Full coverage of childbirth costs
  • Full coverage of postnatal costs (including postnatal exercise classes, midwife costs, etc)

Work Benefits: read here for more info

  • 6 weeks before & 8 weeks after childbirth full pay: "Following the standard five days stay in hospital, women receive 14 weeks of paid maternity leave in Germany – six weeks before the expected birth date and eight weeks after. The initial six weeks of maternity leave in Germany provides the mother with time to mentally and physically prepare for giving birth. The final eight weeks allows her to recover, get settled at home with her new child, and allow for the midwife to visit."
  • A full year off of work paid at 67% (or up to 1,800 EUR per month): "A parent who interrupts his or her career to raise a child receives 67 percent of their last net income (up to EUR 1,800 per month). The Elterngeld (parental allowance) payment ranges from a minimum of EUR 300 to a maximum of EUR 1,800 per month. This benefit lasts for one year, which can be extended to 14 months if the second parent likewise stays at home for at least two months. The aim is to allow both parents to take time off."
    • "Parents also have the legal right to take up to three years leave from work. During this time a parent can receive a reduced monthly allowance from the government. Furthermore, as long as there are no valid company reasons against it, parents can choose to work part-time. Other benefits are offered to mothers, such as nursing breaks and restrictions on overtime or evening hours."
  • Paternal Leave: Andrew can take part in the paid leave above! Its standard that dads here take 2 months off to spend time with family (and this doesn't have to be right after the baby is born). And what is even better - the company promotes it. 

Additional Child Benefits:

  • A monthly child benefit in Germany of 190 EUR (for the first & second), 196 for the third, and 221 for every other child. 
 

Differences of having a baby in the US vs Germany?

  • The Mutterpass! It is basically a "mothers pass". And just like if you're traveling, you better NOT forget this little important document! This is where they write down all the details of every doc appointment you go to (weigh in's, blood test results, etc). And you are responsible to bring this with you everywhere. (aka they do not put any of your details in a computer... just this book - better not loose it!)
  • Hmm, well this is our first baby so i'm not exactly certain of the other differences. But speaking to family/friends back in the US it seems that when you go in for your doctors appointments, in the US they will give you quite a bit more attention/information. Whereas here, its very quick and to the point. "The baby looks healthy, all looks good! see you in 4 weeks!" ... "wait, what? tell me more?? lets talk about this so i can ask you the 35 questions I have after googling things last night ..." 
  • I am having trouble finding cute baby stores. I am in the nesting phase and I don't know where to look! I'd love to find the equivalent of Pottery Barn Baby, or Land of Nod (if I attempt to ship from the US from these stores, the shipping will cost as much as what I buy!!) So if any of you reading this know some cute baby stores in Germany, please write it in the comments or message me!! 
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Are you scared/worried about having a baby in Germany?

I go through phases. haha! Sometimes I think  "this is AMAZING! I love all of the benefits here" and other times i'm thinking "what are we doing?! we are crazy!" Here are just some of the things I am worried about:

  • I don't speak German fluently (ok lets be real... my German is terrible). Even if my German was 'good', that would all go out the window when they're speaking medical terms.
  • The paperwork! Although we have amazing benefits here... we will have to go through some hoops to get it. I have heard from friends how horrific the paper work is that we will have to fill out (in German of course...)
  • Being away from family & friends. This is such an exciting time in my life, and I naturally want to be with my close friends and family.  It's sad to be away for all of these fun/exciting moments, but thank goodness for facetime! 

Thankfully, the one thing that helps get through any of my fears, worries, questions is Andrew. He has been a partner with me through the entire process. Thank goodness for him!

Thats all I can think of for now! But please feel free to comment with any additional questions, or if you have any tips for me!! 


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