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hej,<br><br>
we are thinking of moving back to germany/ Hamburg.<br>
I am from germany, but lived my whole "mother live" abroard, and always felt a little strange beeing as a mom in germany (while visting). I really don't know why, maybe it is just that I lived in other contries and that changes you enough to feel diffrent.<br><br>
my question is: how do you feel as a mom in germany?<br><br>
another thing is, I just finished my doula training and would love to continue working as one. but as you know even the term is raley known.<br>
do you see any chance to worke as a doula and actually make some money out of it? although I would like to become an childbirth educater, but heard that only midwifes are allowed to give classes...<br><br>
it would be great if I could get some "inside/outside" information!<br>
anyone from HH here?<br><br>
thanks<br>
meike
 

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Hello-<br><br>
I am an American mom living in Germany. I have 3 children ages 8, 6 and 3 and we have been here for 5 years.<br><br>
SO, as a mom in Germany, I think the main difference for me is that I feel like I am always being watched and judged. For example, I worry more about my children being too loud in public or having dirty faces or going barefoot than I do in the US. I'm not especially strict about those things mind you, I just feel like people here expect all children to behave in a certain way, all children to BE a certain way - and we just don't fit very well, especially since we are a French-American homeschooling family living in a small town.<br><br>
What I do like about parenting in Germany is being able to find organic food, natural clothing and toys, and more natural medecine-minded doctors, midwives etc.<br><br>
I am training to be a doula too, but honestly I don't expect to work as a doula until we leave Germany. My personal reasons for this are not speaking German very well (shame on me after 5 years here!), being in a small town and not having a car. If I had a car I would probably find work with the American military families in Kaiserslautern and Ramstein which are about 45 minutes away.<br><br>
Of course, for you it may be easier as a native German to find clients, especially through places like La Leche League or midwifery practices.<br>
I guess because most women here have a midwife and expect to do natural childbirth at the clinic anyway that the need/demand for doulas is not high. That said, if you were someplace where there was a large ex-pat community of Anglophones or even francophones (I see you are in Montreal, do you speak French?) or near a military base you would probably be able to successfully propose your doula services in that community.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Plaid Leopard</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7918838"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">SO, as a mom in Germany, I think the main difference for me is that I feel like I am always being watched and judged. For example, I worry more about my children being too loud in public or having dirty faces or going barefoot than I do in the US.</div>
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I feel similarly.<br><br>
I don't feel "judged" by Germans, but I do feel like I'm a representitive of America and if my son is loud in a restaurant I know DH and I feel like we are "the loud Americans" which we always strive to not be.<br>
When DH and I first lived here (well DH lived here and I lived in London and came to stay on weekends) we were child-less and life was very different. We could blend in, whether or not our German was the best.<br>
But now I have to yell for my son to, "STOP" or "PUT THAT DOWN" at times.<br>
I felt like before I could walk into <i>any</i> restaurant and eat and hang out, no big deal. But now I find myself worrying if a place is child-friendly or not before we go in. In the states I could care less, I took my son to 'fancier' places all the time and didn't think twice about it.<br><br>
I don't think you will have that problem, being German. But I do understand what you mean, since you weren't a mom there before.<br><br>
I also find most people to be very warm and friendly with children. At our local village Pizzaria the owners don't care if our son runs around the place and plays peek-a-boo with them while we're eating (it's not a busy place <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> )<br><br>
(Sorry no doula info)
 

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Haha my biggest issue with being a mom in Germany (I'm Canadian) is that I moved here right before the birth of my spirited 18 month old and haven't had the personal time or energy to learn the language at a decent level..<br>
As for being judged, I don't feel judged as a mother, but the city I live in seems to be very looks conscious. I see mothers of infants ALL THE TIME dressed to the nines out walking in their stilettos with the tiny babies in the buggies. I dont' have anything dressy that fits me at this point, second I can't be bothered with high heels when I'm lugging around a baby and third um.. babies get my clothes really dirty. I find feeling like a complete slob in terms of clothing and looks to be the thing I'm most self conscious about here, even if I'm in clothing I'd feel totally fine to go out in in Canada or the US.<br>
We don't go to really fancy restaurants, but everywhere we've been has been really kid friendly, I see kids all over the place and a lot of biergartens around here will have sandboxes and stuff for them.<br><br>
Doula?? Um I would give my right leg for a doula.... right now! I'm going to have a baby sometime in the next 4 weeks and since I'm alone with no friends or family (dh works and travels a LOt) I'm desperate for help. I've heard of something called.. haushilfe or something like that which sounds doulaish (not birth helper but a helper afterward) and can be covered by health insurance. I raelly need to look into that.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Oh yeah, I forgot about the children's areas in certain restaurants and stores. I like that a lot., and also being able to find changing rooms in a lot of places.<br><br>
I don't feel like I am representing America. I don't really think about that aspect of it at all. I don't feel that the judgment is a personal thing against me - except for her in my own neighborhood - just that in general people look to see if your kids are clean and well -behaved, and give you dirty looks if your kids make a bit too much noise somewhere or cry on the bus, and feel free to make comments about something you are doing which they feel is not "right" - like not forcing your baby wear a hat.<br><br>
Hi Meg, I hope you can find some help and support!
 

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Meg,<br><br>
Where are you living?<br>
This morning I met a mom who's a doula, Mothering mama and living in Germany indefinitely. She's looking for more info about how she might be able to offer her services here.<br><br>
If you're in SW Germany I can put you in touch!
 

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I'm in Erlangen, it's about 20 mins from Nuernberg....I'd love to hear from you or her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I haven't been on the boards in an age, but doing a search today I happened to come across this post and I am more than intrigued.<br><br>
I am also a new doula & just found out last week that we are returning to Bavaria this summer after leaving just last summer. Meg, wish I was already there to help you!<br><br>
I expect my clients to be primarily American, but I have a friend who is ready to refer me to German clients as well. I am desperately awaiting my Rosetta Stone to arrive, needless to say. When we first arrived our last stay there my dh left shortly after we moved & I was left with very young children & no time to learn the language. I am doing my best not to do that again. I did pick quite a bit up, but not enough to assist a client through a birth the way I would like to.<br><br>
I can say I learned a lot from German moms, especially because I had my kids in German kindergarten. I was able to observe closely every day as opposed to just occassionally when out in public as is the case with many military families. I've learned not to be afraid of the weather, just to be prepared to be able to play in anything, to go for walks, not to flip out, let kids be kids & it's ok to dress up to hang out. Meg, you talked about the women dressed to the 9's...I noticed that all over Europe, but I take it as a reminder that I do need to remember to take care of myself once in a while. I had one momma get upset with me for not taking the afternoon at the spa when she picked up my kids from the Kindergarten. Sometimes I need that kick in the butt.<br><br>
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to return to Germany. Wish I could pack tonight!
 

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huskrkid you're right, they <i>do</i> take care of themselves.. and it IS something to learn from. My husband has some friends at work who have been/are pregnant, as well as a mutual aquaintance who had a baby three months ago and they're all about getting massages, chiropractic adjustments, the spas, mother fitness classes, postpartum rehabilitation etc. etc. and here I am.. not shopping for postpartum "fat" clothes and only in the last few mos (I'm 36weeks preg) had my FIRST breaks ever from my toddler..2.5 hours twice per week and during that time period I houseclean. And I wish you were around too! I'm still not certain where exactly to look or who to contact for postpartum help (not including the health insurance which DH is supposed to be looking into) but I hope my midwife can offer some suggestions next week.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Meg_s</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7918929"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm going to have a baby sometime in the next 4 weeks and since I'm alone with no friends or family (dh works and travels a LOt) I'm desperate for help. I've heard of something called.. haushilfe or something like that which sounds doulaish (not birth helper but a helper afterward) and can be covered by health insurance. I raelly need to look into that.<br><br>
I'm still not certain where exactly to look or who to contact for postpartum help (not including the health insurance which DH is supposed to be looking into) but I hope my midwife can offer some suggestions next week.</div>
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ask the midwife for a "haushaltshilfe" (household help, housekeeper), see:<br><a href="http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haushaltshilfe_(Sozialleistung)" target="_blank">http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haushal...ozialleistung)</a><br><br>
this person is not exactly like a doula, she is not responsible for <i>emotional</i> help like a doula (or a close friend), but she helps in the house. she does the cooking, cleaning, shopping, babysitting for older siblings and these things for some hours a day, if there is no other person (husband, close relatives, friends) around who can do these jobs for you and if you are not able by yourself to do it (because you are pregnant, in childbett, ill or disabled). and she is paid by the health insurance. you have to apply for this social benefit, and your gynecologist or midwife has to write a prescription. so your midwife is the right contact person for this help. check it out as soon as possible.
 

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Ha! So many different answers/experiences/opinions.<br><br>
I'm Canadian and I LOVE being a mom in Germany - more than I love being a mom back in North america, and more than I liked being childless in Germany. i feel awful for my friends back home that had babies the same time I did for various reasons:<br><br>
1) I find people here mind their own business. I only get smiles when I have my baby tied up on my back in a wrap, whereas back home - its ignorant comments. Nobody here tells me what I "should" be doing with my child, and there's very little competition between mothers (i.e. my child can do this, my child can do that). I read on the message boards people (and hear from my friends) back home getting comments about breastfeeding in public, formula feeding, baby wearing, comments if the baby is cranky, etc and I can't believe the gall.<br><br>
2) I feel so much more integrated in the community here than my friends do back home. The walls just seem thinner here, like you are more of a part of your surroundings, rather than a separated, isolated entity. Part of that is due to "pain in the ass" type stuff like having to go out and get bread and milk more often, and often we walk to do so. As soon as we go out in the morning, we see people doing the same - at the bakeries, etc. Back home, if i woke up early to do something like that, I would just want to go back home to bed because the streets would be empty. My point being, is that I feel less lonely because of that, even if these people aren't my friends, I still feel warmly that they are my community.<br><br>
3) Like Meg, I never had the chance to really learn German that well - due to the baby. But, having the baby did open up other doors for friendships for me. We live in a somewhat so-called "emancipated" area, where I got comments from coworkers about "enslaving" myself by marrying and ruining my career by having a baby. Even if I didn't have a baby, those aren't the kind of people I wanted to hang with. When I had the baby, even in spite of language barriers, I was "embraced" by other moms in our village. I was invited to playgroups and smiled at the playground, etc etc. Now, part of this experience is that we DO have house-hold help - we have a part time Nanny that teaches our children German and helps integrate them into the community as well - in turn, we have formed a great friendship that has completely opened the doors for me to be less isolated - and I get really awesome advice and "german life know-how" in regards to things like natural ear infection remedies, kindergartens, etc.<br><br>
4) also like Meg - the biergarten/playgrounds are the best invention since sliced bread. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> And I also know what she means about women being "dressed to the nines" here. It's good and its bad. In a bad way, in our area (Holly might know this as well), women STARE you down on the subway as if critiquing your ensemble. In a good way, its a little motivating to not go out in jogging pants everyday, which helps me feel better about myself anyways. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br><br>
Anyways, i think it depends heavily on two things. 1) Your location (we live in what I think is an optimal area for expats AND in a small village that's part of the larger area) and 2) how old your children are (from the sampling of people i know, the expats that have 0-3 yr olds are a bit happier than those with school aged children, when certain things are no longer a benefit to them - I can definitely see myself wanting to move back when my kids are in school)
 

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Wow, Swissmama. Your town and community sound great. Not at all what I have experienced! In some ways life was better in Leipzig (eastern Germany) than here in Saarbrucken, but people in general were not very open. "Strangers" or newcomers being invited to playgroups or whatever was not a usual occurence, even if said newcomer DID speak German. Plus my kids were younger then. As you said, with school-age kids it gets harder.
 

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Hi SwissMama! Where/how did you find your part time nanny? Does she have a "title" that I could look up someone in my area of the name nature?<br>
I find the city that I am in to be extremely unfriendly and cold, but supposedly it's just the area and anyone from "somewhere else" including other areas in Germany find it the same way! On one hand it isn't nice because it is very intimidating and casues me to withdraw, I'm used to being able to look people in the eye and smile at them if I want to without offense, on the other hand it opens up a small niche of other newcomers who are lonely as well <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I'd love to get some extended help. We're not REALLY in a financial spot where it would be no big deal, but there is so much that Germany has to offer that I am not able to even THINK about taking advantage of being literally every moment of my day (ok, except when I'm sneaking onto MDC during a babynap) is taken up with my son and housecleaning. I could be so much better for our family if I was able to communicate properly and use the internet in German.<br><br>
Thanks for the post partum help suggestions btw, I talked to my midwife and am on the way to getting some <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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For me (and again, this is both good and bad), I know that a lot of the invites had to do with local women overhearing me speak english and wanting to learn it for themselves, or have their children learn it.<br><br>
btw, we live in between Stuttgart and Tuebingen, so with IBM, HP, Daimler and the military - they are very used to expats here. I have also had the pleasure of making friends with German women who are married to American soldiers, who know what its like to be away from home. So yes, I've been *really* lucky. We used to live in the Ruhrgebiet, which was insane (poverty, hard to find German speakers, let alone english ones!) but again, the people were lovely. So far, in my experience, the villages are much more friendlier than the major cities, although with less diversity and resources. I would not be able to be this happy if I lived in Stuttgart proper, although I am glad to have quick access to it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SwissMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7946338"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So far, in my experience, the villages are much more friendlier than the major cities, although with less diversity and resources. I would not be able to be this happy if I lived in Stuttgart proper,...</div>
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Actually DH keeps commenting on this every time he brings the baby to MIL's on a weekend. We don't have a car so we rent one every once in a while to get errands done, and then he'll take the baby to MIL's so that I can get some proper cleaning done in the appartment and some time alone. Anyway he always comes back saying man it's so nice when you get out of the city, people are so relaxed and friendly. We'd love to rent a house in one of the tiny towns around here even if it means buying a car. We're both small town/country lovers <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Getting out of the city will be the next project after having the baby, getting help, and learning German enough for me to get more complicated things done...like house searching.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Meg_s</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7946311"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hi SwissMama! Where/how did you find your part time nanny? Does she have a "title" that I could look up someone in my area of the name nature?</div>
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Yup! we found her through the "tagesmutter verein". We got the number of our local one, and made an appt. They interviewed us, then matched us up with a wonderful, wonderful woman in our village. It's been incredibly rewarding for all of us, and now it's like an extended family. Her children are like older siblings/cousins to mine - her son practices his english with me, and although she started off just caring for my DD, we try to do things together as well. There are things that were just tough for me to figure out, like "where can I find a pumpkin patch to take pics of my DD in at halloween" - you know little things that we would do back in Canada that you can't exactly look up in the yellow pages.<br><br>
Here is the website:<br><a href="http://www.tagesmuetter-verein.de/" target="_blank">http://www.tagesmuetter-verein.de/</a><br><br>
I hope you can find someone! It actually is not that expensive - it's cheaper than getting a teenage babysitter, and as I said before on this board, I believe its because she is partially subsidized.<br><br>
I have found communicating on the internet in German rather tough, but again, people are open and encouraging about it. I did post on the Hebammen forum, to try to find out about Doula's, midwifes, hospitals, etc and they were so nice to me and encouraged my german (although it took me like 30 mins to write each post!). I got some good links, such as a hospital-look-up site where you can see the episiotomy/c-section rates of various hospitals by location, etc that way.
 
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