It’s one of the token Dubai expat questions. Should I have my baby in Dubai, or should I go home? We asked new Mum Carmel Gill to give us an insight into her experience after having her gorgeous little girl here in Dubai:
I’ll be honest, when I first found out I was pregnant my initial thoughts weren’t ones of extreme happiness like I had always imagined. Having a baby wasn’t exactly on the cards until at least another 5 years. I’d only moved Dubai a year and a half before, I’d landed my dream job and I was totally loving my new life by the beach.
This, teamed with the fact that I don’t know any other mums in Dubai, none of my friends were even close to having a baby either, nor do I have any family here, it only heightened my worry and apprehension about this huge new chapter I was going to embark on.
Oh, and at the time of me becoming pregnant I learned that my Medical Insurance did not cover maternity. So, here I was thinking I would have to pack it all up and move back to rainy England.
My first big worry was telling work, I’d worked so hard to land my dream job at Emirates Woman and this was the reason I came to Dubai in the first place. Fear not, I told my Editor and I was over whelmed by the reassurance and support.
Second big worry, how will I afford the medical costs of having a baby in Dubai?
Well, I was lucky, as of January 1, 2016 a new law came into place that stated all companies of over 200 employees must offer maternity cover in their medical insurances. I think now this is for all companies.
Third worry, my family, my mum and dad broke down in tears on the phone, they were all super happy for me, I think the hardest and most challenging part of having a baby here though is the immense feeling of guilt that the grandparents and great grandparents don’t get to see their granddaughter growing up. I know that some of my best childhood memories were spent with my grandparents.
Fourth worry, the actual giving birth part…in a foreign country…
30th May, 2016, 7.54pm and weighing 7 pounds and 4 ounces we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world….and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I gave birth at Lifeline Hopsital, Jebel Ali by Dr. Vineeta. The care, support, medical technologies and luxuries of this hospital is absolutely outstanding, let me just say it’s nothing like the NHS. (one friend told me in the UK they measure your bump with a tape measure, at Lifeline Hopsital I was having monthly scans and tests and then weekly scans and tests leading up to the birth.) Everything was covered under my insurance, including my C-Section. I tried for 15 hours for a natural birth, but with complications I had a C-section. I was very skeptical about C-sections as I heard in Dubai that the hospitals prefer to do them. I quickly learned that this is NOT the case at all.
What I did learn is that we are so use to the NHS system, which is by all means get the baby out however possible. UK hospitals are not staffed or have enough funds to carry out the C-sections. Here, if there is a slight complication or worry, they do whatever is needed and what is best for you and your baby as they have the man power and money to afford it. The care here is second to none.
Fifth worry, we only have 6 weeks maternity leave in Dubai. I joined my annual leave onto this and I had 9 weeks, of course I would have loved to spend more time with her. I do know that this has now been extended in public sector companies to 3 months. I’m not sure if this applicable to every company but as a breastfeeding mother I’m entitled to leave work one hour earlier, which honestly makes a huge difference in gaining that extra valuable time.
Sixth worry, finding a nanny..
We were recommended lots on British Mums Dubai and Mums and Bumps Dubai Facebook group pages, I think this is the best way to find one. Don’t bother hiring a company to sort the nanny Visa, we have had major problems with the company that we hired in which we ended up down at Immigration ourselves. It’s easy enough to do It all yourself. However I would recommend hiring BabySteps to get the baby visa. This company is amazing, and it took only a week to get the Visa. They also guide you on how to go about getting the passport, if you are British you have to apply for this via the British Embassy website and send the necessary documents via DHL to Liverpool. We also got this back in just under two weeks.
So… with all that being said, I ask myself the question, would I recommend having a baby in Dubai… absolutely YES. Dubai is a city where you really can have it all. I am a full time working mum of an eight-month old daughter. My weekends are still the same, but now we take our beautiful daughter with us wherever we go. We have an amazing nanny that knows her routine. I learnt to come to terms with not feeling guilty about having a nanny, as this is so not the norm in the UK, however in the UK you have your whole family there, here our Nanny is our family.
Do you need to worry about having a baby in Dubai? Absolutely NO. (unless you are pregnant and not married, but that’s another story).
Follow Carmel and little Aviana: https://www.instagram.com/carmel__carmel/