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My name is Lisi and I am the mother of Jimena and Carlos, two children who have come into my life to change it completely and make me feel infinitely lucky and happy.
Being a mom is beautiful but it is also a tremendous challenge. Especially if you are far from yours. And it is that when we arrived in Austin (USA) we could not even imagine that three years later we would be welcoming our second child here, more than 8,000 kms from Spain.
I remember that after the euphoria of hearing the news that I was pregnant, the first question we asked ourselves was, are we going to have the baby here, so far from our family? and inevitably the next question that came to mind was How much will it cost us? We had heard that Having a child in the United States could cost around $ 15,000-20,000. Thanks to some good friends we were living with at the time, we learned that there were different programs to choose from to receive aid and cover medical costs. After thinking about it a lot and reflecting on what was the best decision we could make (I still remember the tears of those days when I did not see anything clear living that special moment far from ours) we decided to embark on the adventure of being parents in Austin.
Fortunately, in both pregnancies, we were eligible for health insurance offered by the government in certain situations and which covers all costs. In any case, you are always afraid that some crazy bill will come to your home for some medical test that the obstetrician has sent you and that is not included in the coverage.
Overcome these first fears, the two pregnancies went very well. I was able to combine my work as a Spanish teacher with my first six months of pregnancy. At the end of my contract, coinciding with the end of the school year, I took both summers off to take care of myself and be prepared to receive my children as they deserved.
In the workplace there are no facilities or a policy to protect pregnant women. If you have a qualified job, the normal thing is that they respect it so that you join as soon as possible (usually six weeks after having the baby) but it is not usual that they pay you the time you are off for maternity.
Returning to the job is not easy either. There is no network of public daycare centers with reasonable enrollment fees and the usual costs of daycares are very high (between $ 900 and $ 1,000 for five days a week) so many moms decide to quit their job since they are not financially It makes up for the effort of being separated from their children all day. In our case, and thanks to the fact that my husband is freelance, we have been able to organize ourselves so that he takes care of the children while I work in the morning at school and from noon I stay with the children. Although it represents an important adjustment in economic terms, we believe that it is the best formula so that both of us can enjoy raising our children without giving up our professional career.
From the experience of being a mother abroad, I keep the beauty and all the special moments that we have lived here. Having the company of our family in both deliveries has been essential to be able to face the challenge full of enthusiasm, surrounded by company and affection and to be able to count on the help we have needed. I thank our families for supporting us unconditionally, our Spanish friends for accompanying us in the distance and our American friends for opening their hearts to us and making us feel part of their family.
Mom in the United States and Pedagogue
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