When Ana and I started talking about expanding our little family, one thing was pretty clear. If we were to embark on this new adventure there were definite benefits of living in Germany. To stay in Germany meant a more affordable fertility process and resources and if this worked, the health benefits are much better here in Germany as well. There are more midwife services covered and for longer, there are more ultrasounds and procedures to make sure all is well that are expected and the process seemed more of what we were looking for. But the main benefit we saw in staying Germany for this process was the required time off for parents around baby time.
First of all, there is a requirement called Mutterschutz which is that it is required for the parent giving birth to take 6 weeks off before due date with full pay and 8 weeks off after with full pay. Then the parents can choose to have up to 2 years off on what is called Elternzeit (parent time) with a capped amount of money but still money coming in to cover costs of living. WIth each child, the government also gives a stipend per month as well.
For us, it is important that we move to be near family and we are looking to do so in the Spring but that will allow for us to take advantage of some pretty wonderful time with our son without worry.
All of this seemed like it was far into the future until this week. Ana’s Mutterschutz begins tomorrow!! Starting tomorrow, she is off of work for a number of months and we can really prepare for this little guy to arrive. It is so crazy that we are just 6 weeks out from the due date which means he really could come very soon! We are not playing a waiting game as we prepare. An active waiting that seems to well timed for the season of Advent. Advent is taking on a whole new level of meaning for me during this time.
We have a list of things we want to do for fun and for preparation and just because we can on a weekday together that awaits us and we are both excited and kind of freaked out all at once. Baby boy is growing just as he should and we are excited to meet him outside of his current natural barrier.
This is a moment in time when I am glad to be in this immigrant life.