Falling pregnant in Korea

13 Feb

I started writing this post in my head a few weeks ago. It was going to be called Why falling pregnant in Korea is a bad idea. The last few weeks have been terrible. But after my 12 week scan, I can only feel grateful for the life and health of this beautiful little kiwi.

Here is my experience of falling pregnant in Korea.

The Bad

1. The Smells – Every corner in Asia has an exotic spicy smell spilling out of road side restaurants and Korea is no different. Once the foreign smells were interesting cultural experiences but then they became gagging catalysts, forcing me to cover my mouth with my scarf, as I tried not to vomit in the street.

2. The Cravings – It seems as though we crave what’s familiar and there’s not much familiar here. Beef goulash, mince and spaghetti, steers ribs and chips, spur steaks, salt and vinegar chips, fresh bread, Spar sundried tomatoes, hummus, peppermint crisp chocolate: all things that I craved but couldn’t find. I did receive a few suggestions from Koreans who knew what was good for pregnant women, including seaweed soup, cow bone soup and dried fish soup – none of which appealed to me.

3. The bathroom – 6 weeks of nausea and vomitting isn’t nice for anyone but it’s especially horrible when you live in a room with a Korean bathroom. The shower is attached to the wall without a shower door so everything gets wet. This means the bathroom is always wet. Racing to the cold, wet, bathroom involves remembering quickly to put on bathroom shoes, to balance evenly on my haunches, not to sit on the floor, or rest my hand against the wall – and winter is bl@@dy cold in Korea!

4. The support – The people who knew were not in Korea. I think we really could have done with a few mom-cooked meals, someone helping with the shopping and certainly (South African style) a domestic worker. Thank God for a wonderful husband who cooked and cleaned everyday for 2 months. He deserves a medall!

The Good

1. Technology and doctors – It seems as though most Western doctors only see the woman for their first appointment at 12 weeks. We had our first appointment at 5 weeks, which involved blood tests, and from 7 weeks, we had regular scans. This meant we got to hear the heart beat very early on and I have a book full of scans of little developing Dowie. In Korea, generally, the doctor who does your scans isn’t the doctor who delivers the baby. So the scan-OB is always available for appointments.

2. The money – the Korean goverment pays women $500 for having a baby in Korea – no strings attached: no loans, no payback, no interest. They are trying to grow their population and, therefore, help pregnant families. This amount could cover all medical costs leading up to the birth.

These two good things, combined with a healthy 12 week growing baby, are enough for me to say that it’s going to be a wonderful journey!

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One Response to “Falling pregnant in Korea”

  1. Kwanda February 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    This is awesome! I’m so happy! 🙂

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