If my son was born in England…


Since being an Expat in Dubai and delving into the community of blogging that is mainly British, I have come across quite a few differences in the way that I think me and my son would have experienced life had he been born in England. Below Is my list of 12 things of “If my son was born in England…”:

1) My son’s delivery would have been done for free, instead of the thousands of dirhams I paid to the hospital! I probably would have had a Water birth and written a Birth Plan too. In the later months of pregnancy, I watched every single episode of “One Born Every Minute” and it taught me a lot about choices that British mums could make before, during and after the birth of their child. The one that intrigued me most were Water Births! Here, at the hospital that I delivered in Dubai, this wasn’t really an option. It was either Naturally, naturally through Induction or by C-Section. Here, they also don’t exactly ask you to write a Birth plan, which is something that I find is so important for the mums back in England. I suppose that’s because there aren’t as many choices and there is no NHS here in Dubai. (Oh how I miss the NHS!) 

2) My son would have attended Soft Play and other play groups. Though Dubai has some very lovely nurseries, they all cost quite a bit of cash. It’s something I can’t really afford at the moment, and so play groups here largely consist of taking my baby boy to small play areas in the shopping malls. I would have loved to have benefited from the support that other mothers offer at play groups and get a chance to socialise, as well as see my son have a great time with other kids. 

3) He would probably have spent a lot of time in parks or running around in the back garden. This is a city of skyscrapers, and we like many others live in a flat in a high rise building. The balcony is our back garden, and as you can imagine, it is simply not the same. Also, the times that I take my son to the park have to be timed so that the blazing sun isn’t scorching us with its rays and this is only possible during the winter months. 

4) His wardrobe would have been full of coats, jackets, jumpers, hats and missing gloves. At the moment, he has short sleeved t shirts and shorts! It takes up much less space and I love it! 

5) He would probably have experienced his first snow fall by now. Here in Dubai, Baby Z did in fact experience his first thunderstorm and sand storms instead! 

6) He would probably have been spoilt by all my relatives back in England. Here, we don’t have many family members and although I do miss them a great deal, I am also grateful that there isn’t anyone interfering with Baby Z’s upbringing and spoiling him rotten. 

7) His British passport would probably have arrived much quicker. The application process was long and delivery time took well over 3 months by time we got his passport. Thankfully, we weren’t travelling anywhere soon so it wasn’t a huge problem but I’m sure the wait would have been much less if we were in England. 

8) His birth certificate wouldn’t have needed to be translated. Here of course the birth certificate is issued in Arabic, and any legal work required that certificate to be translated and attested. (for a fee, of course!) 

9) I would probably have had a bunch of midwife visits after Baby Z’s delivery. Here, once I was discharged from the hospital the next day after giving birth, I pretty much had to do the rest myself. Of course, I could go back to the doctors at any time, but there were no home visits to give me professional advice. 

10) I would probably have had a baby monitor and had to buy stair gates. Thanks to the flat I live in, there is only one huge floor plan for my home and no staircase to run up and down on. I am so happy about this because I know I would be living in the constant fear of my child tumbling down the stairs like I once did. 

11) My family would have saved A LOT of money on parcel costs! Who knew posting gift items abroad would cost a fortune!! 

12) I would most likely not be a Stay At Home Mummy… And perhaps never created this blog! With God’s grace, me and my husband can afford our current lifestyle without me having to work, but I don’t think that would have been possible in England. This means I might not have been steered towards the Blogging community in my need for a creative outlet and missed my chance of meeting you lovely lot! 

So there you go! Looking back at this list, it makes me feel grateful for the life I had in England but also appreciative of all the new opportunities that my expat life has brought me.

What are you grateful for? If you are an expat, have you noticed any key differences like I have?

Mami 2 Five

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  • Tasneem Rajkotwala April 14, 2015 at 4:06 am

    Awww can relate to this post so much only difference that my son would have had a different lifestyle back in India – pampered by family members, much open space to run about though the concept of play dates isn’t very popular there and probably myself not venturing into the blogging world. However, I love living in Dubai – much safer and there is a lot more quality eating, but I am sure it would have been different for you in UK.
    Much love and keep writing! xx

    • MOMM April 14, 2015 at 5:52 am

      Thank you for your lovely comment! Yes I am so grateful for the great food and safety here too! ?

  • amybee1000 April 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

    My daughter was born in Switzerland and I really miss the amazing medical care: gynae available all the way through my pregnancy who would scan me whenever I went to see her, 5 days (!) in hospital when she was born so that they could make sure breastfeeding was working and I was healthy before they sent me home, dedicated paediatrician who would always be able to see us the same day. It was nearly impossible to find a babysitter though, nurseries in our part of the city were strictly 8-6 every day and we were away from both our families, so it was really tough for me to get a little time off! Now we’re back in the UK my girl goes to nursery a few mornings a week and I have an app on my phone that will find me wonderful, interviewed and Police checked babysitters the same day. I definitely have a lot more balance in my life in London. I really feel it’s a privilege to experience all these different things though, and I love the friends I’ve found along the way. xx

    • MOMM April 14, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Wow! Switzerland healthcare sounds AMAZING! Perhaps I will have to move there if I ever decide to have another baby! You’re right though, it is a privilege to experience all the different things that different countries have to offer! ?

  • Alice Megan April 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

    What an interesting thought, it’s nice to be reflective but it’s great your happy with your new life!

    • MOMM April 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! ?

  • John Adams April 17, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Just chucking a completely random thought out there…but is your little one liable for any form of military service in Dubai when he’s older? If you’re born overseas you can pick up citizenship of that nation and receive a call up card later in life (it happened to me!). Don’t, however, panic. It is usually very easy to get yourself out of this obligation. Otherwise, though, I imagine it is very different raising a youngster in Dubai. You must get thorugh a lot of sun screen. #TheList

    • MOMM April 18, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Haha thankfully my little one isn’t liable to join the forces… Its only the uae nationals that live here… Baby Z has a british passport so no need to worry about that.

  • Truly Madly Kids (@TrulyMadly7) April 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Interesting post. Living abroad definitely has its pros and cons. Thanks for sharing #sundaystars

    • MOMM April 22, 2015 at 4:54 am

      Your welcome! ?

  • Ashley Beolens April 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    It’s interesting to think “how would my life be different” but this is the first time I’ve read how would my son’s life be different, good stuff 🙂

    And great to see the differences you think there may have been as well.

    • MOMM April 22, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Thank you for the lovely comment! ?

  • hannah mum's days April 23, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    This is totally fascinating – i didn’t know any of these differences! So have you managed to make some mummy friends to hang out with? And how did you find the early months – i would have gone crazy without the extra support from family and the health visitors (but then I’m a wimp and can’t cope without sleep ;)!!) – it’s great that you found the blogging community and us on #TheList! I love reading your updates 🙂 xxx

    • MOMM April 24, 2015 at 6:25 am

      Thank you so much! The early months were quite a challenge but I really couldn’t have done it without my husband’s support and the blogging community! Mummy friends are few, but I’m more in contact with my old friends back in England! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and support… It means a lot! ?

  • Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk) May 14, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Awww this is an amazing list. While reading this I am seeing the differences and how we are lucky on so many ways to be here. I might do something like this as its awesome! Mine would be If my son is living in the Philippines! This is such a lovely read =) #myexpatfamily

    • MOMM May 14, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Thankyou so much! I would love to read your post and get to know more about Philippines too! Do send me the link when you post it! ?

  • Laura Wolf May 14, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Great post. Although my Z was born in the United States, our home, we moved just after he turned 1. We moved from a 250 acre farm to a city and an apartment. We are home visiting right now and seeing him run and play in the fields makes me think about how differently he would be growing up if we were here and not there. Thanks for sharing.

    • MOMM May 14, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Thankyou for your lovely comment! Gosh the change from a farm to a city must have been so different! Must have been a very brave move!

  • CalifornianMumLondon (@CalifornianMum) May 14, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    My kids would have such a different life and upbringing if we lived in the States. But I love living in the UK. And I also love the NHS! 🙂

    • MOMM May 15, 2015 at 3:46 am

      Haha yes the NHS is simply the best!

  • ersatzexpat May 15, 2015 at 8:31 am

    I sympathise with the passport – took us 5 months in Sarawak! I was so relieved to have baby number 3 outside of the UK though. I did not get on with the maternity system there. They wanted me to have baby no 1 at home (umm no he would have died) and just nurses no doctor in attendance (umm no thank you). It was very difficult to arrange to have a doctor attending me throughout the process as is normal elsewhere.

    • MOMM May 15, 2015 at 10:03 am

      5 months! I bet your little one looked nothing like the baby in the passport photo by that time! Ha! Gosh the maternity system sounds horrific! Must have been quite a scary experience, especially for a first time mum!

  • seychellesmama May 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Fab list lovely!!! It’s funny when you sit down and think about the differences isn’t it!?
    The birth plan thing is definitely something that makes me kinda sad, I’d love to be a little more in control of how things went with Arthur, this pregnancy I have been a little bit more forward but you are still very much told what will happen, what’s allowed and what’s not…..definitely no water births on the cards haha!
    The being away from family thing is an interesting one, in one hand you really learn a lot about yourself who you are as parents and do things your way but on the other hand there are definitely days where you’d love grandparents round the corner for 5minutes baby free peace!!!!!
    We also had no home visits, well apart from a 5 minute health visitor check once Arthur was almost a month old, but it was a joke!!
    Thanks so much for sharing your post with #myexpatfamily hope to see you again next month 🙂 x

    • MOMM May 16, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Thankyou for your kind comments and it was a pleasure being part of your expat linky!

  • Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork May 18, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Interesting read! I like your honesty. As with everything it’s a question of balance and there are always going to be positives and negatives. I share a few of the negatives – no birth plan, no garden, LOTS of sunscreen – but there are also many positives to bringing up a child in Italy. Of those, the one that stands out the most for me is how child friendly Italian society is. Whenever we go back to the UK I’m shocked at how families are expected to do “kid only” things, and not interrupt adults who are doing “adult things”. Typical toddler noise isn’t really tolerated unless you’re at a playground or a Brewer’s Fayre! Here you can cart your kid along with your everywhere, even to a fancy restaurant or bar, and no-one will bat an eyelid. Quite the contrary: said kid will probably get a ton of freebies! It’s something I know would have been different had M been born in the UK, and I never stop appreciating it.

    • MOMM May 19, 2015 at 5:15 am

      Thankyou , I’m glad you enjoyed the post! You’re right, it is so important to appreciate these differences… They might seem small ad insignificant, but they make such a huge difference to an expat’s life!

  • Brittany May 19, 2015 at 4:51 am

    Thanks for sharing! My husband and I are abroad and go back and forth about having a baby while we’re abroad. We don’t see ourselves going home anytime soon but our family feels like they’d be missing out with us gone. There are definitely pros and cons, and some things aren’t good or bad, just different. Your list is a great perspective on different cultures and baby-raising.

    • MOMM May 19, 2015 at 5:17 am

      Thankyou for reading! It really is a gamble, and as you said, some things are just different, not good or bad. I suppose it’s all about how well you adapt to these situations and make the best of what you’ve got! I wish you the best in your journey towards having a baby!

  • Keri from Baby Globetrotters May 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    A lovely read and so interesting to hear your views; I had my first two in the UK under NHS and my third in Abu Dhabi. None of my birth experiences were ideal but I certainly don’t hold the NHS on a pedestal! I am glad though that I had my first in the UK, had I been entering things for the first time in the UAE I’d be lost, a lot of medical support but very little social support and after care – luckily I knew what I was doing by No.3!

    I’m surprised you have struggled with play groups though – that’s the one thing I love about being out here, there are so many other SAHM’s and a good sense of community – maybe this is more so in AD than Dubai. Keep reaching out and trying new groups you are bound to find a group that fits you right – or move down the road to AD and we’ll look after you ; )

    #myexpatfamily #expatlifelinky

    • MOMM May 20, 2015 at 4:30 am

      Thanks for the tips! Perhaps I need to keep reaching out as you say… Or even move to AD! Ha! Thank you for stopping by! ?

  • pollymixtures May 21, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    I could have almost written this post word for word. So many similarities raising my daughter here in Gibraltar. Thing I miss the most is having a garden! And putting suncream on EVERY day is a pain, but hey, lots of other benefits to endless sunshine! #MyExpatFamily

    • MOMM May 22, 2015 at 4:55 am

      Thankyou for the lovely comment! You’re right, the sunscreen is a pain, but sunshine is so worth it!

  • Meghan Fenn (@mummymeg) May 26, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Yes, I love your number 9. I was so surprised when I was told I’d be visited by the midwives AND the doctor after I went home from the hospital after giving birth to my first child. Amazing service here in England! Wonderful! But by my third birth, I was so used to it I resented it when they stopped coming and now think the Dutch way is the best way! They actually have someone come to the house to help with the housework, cooking and taking the older children to school for you! Great post 🙂 #ExpatLifeLinky

    • MOMM May 26, 2015 at 6:23 am

      Wow the Dutch way seems superb!! If only we could bring those principles into Dubai!! Thank you for reading! ?

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom) June 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    This was really interesting to read, all three of mine were born in the UK, although we moved when my youngest was just 4mo. So, for me (in terms of medical care) it was getting used to different immunisation schedules and terminology! It’s been interesting to talk to mums here in the US and see how different it is though. Apologies for the horribly late visit from #myexpatfamily, it really has been one of those months!

    • MOMM June 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the read. Yes the different terminology of everything is definitely a struggle at time!! Thanks for reading… Better late than never! ?

  • Amanda van Mulligen June 10, 2015 at 9:03 am

    My three sons were all born in the Netherlands and I was grateful for the choice I had about a range of things relating to my pregnancy and the births. The Dutch are big on natural births – and choice about where. I liked that about the maternity system – that being pregnant wasn’t seen as a medical ‘condition’ but there are changes afoot……

    I love how you have highlighted the positives and the negatives – expat life is all about balancing 🙂

    Thanks for linking up #ExpatLifeLinky

    • MOMM June 10, 2015 at 11:45 am

      Oo looks like you have had lovely birthing experiences in the Netherlands. Thanks for reading, and I completely agree that it is all about getting the balance right!

      • Amanda van Mulligen June 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

        Well, lovely is not the word…. but I certainly had choices 🙂

  • Parveen June 2, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Lovely reading this..Zeyna,just been to london and im in love with it.
    One incident which i encountered..On the first day of my stay in london,i had a sever sore troat..So had to go the pharmacist .I asked her for antibiotic..She said she wont give me antibiotic because it s not good ,, as it lowers the immunw system and gave m 2 medicines like.lozenges and spray which she said will control.But here in UAE we are so used to popping antibiotics that i told her ,i have experienced this sore troat before and only abtibiotic will cure it.She agreed to give me antibiotic seeing my crancky face (i was in verge of tears bcoz she wasnt giving me an antibiotic and i dint want to spoil my trip.with fever n sore troat.)But then looking at the seriousness in her face just to give me antibiotic i told her ill try the other mdedicines and come tomoro if it dint get cured..Alhamthuillah the next day i was feeling better and got cured..Very nice polite people i met in london and London is so gorgeous it stole my heart..😍I love the transportation,weather,lively relaxed city,its.like people really enjoy life

    • Zeyna S. June 8, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Thank you and I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip to London. I agree, they do give antibiotics far too quickly here, which is why I always try home remedies or lozenges first.


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