Monday, January 19, 2009

Culture Shock I (6mo-pregnant)

On Jan 6th I have been in Mexico for 6 months now. I feel like half a year is a good time to reflect on what Iv learned and how much I still have to learn. The main topics of my growth have involved being pregnant, food, children, and interaction with people, Spanish, and dealing with business. I don’t like each post to get to long so that people can read only on topics of interest to them so each of these topics will be discussed in different posts.

First off I found out I was pregnant like 2 months after getting here. If I were to do one of the conception calendars it would land on the exact day I first stepped foot into my new apartment here. Yes my husband works fast apparently. We really planned on it taking a few months to get pregnant, at least long enough for me to get use to the idea that I had just left my country to live in one that I didn’t even know the language of. But God knows best right! I have to always tell myself this. Well I immediately started searching online for others who has had babies here that were not from here. This blog was helpful for me in that matter but not until more recently. I had actually gone onto a couple of question forums and got some of the most rude and outlandish advice or answers. Such as, “Go back home to the States.” “All they give you is tequila to kill the pain.” (This one was serious, can you believe it) “Why would you even consider having a baby in Mexico?” (Even though I had wrote why I was here) “The people don’t help with the language barrier there.” That last comment is so untrue for most of the Mexicans and healthcare professionals Iv meet here. But at the time I didn’t know better so as you can imagine this search only increased my anxiety. I had almost given up before I found the lovely people Iv found through this blog. Iv written on a lot of that and wont go into to much detail about what I did but more about how I felt. I am a nurse and I understand that a baby will come no matter what but Iv also seen a lot of the issues that can happen. Quite frankly I was scared to have to deal with this so soon after getting here. I was also anxious about what would be expected of me as a patient here. I had heard that doctors here were different and from what I had heard I wasn’t looking forward to the experience.

Although I found a it to be much better than expected and even better of an experience so far than what I got in the States. My doctor has no nurse, which is slightly upsetting to my nursing ego. But this also means when I need him I call him directly, and he gets upset if he finds out that I should have called and didn’t. This also means he is in the room during my entire appointment. As a matter of fact the appointment is held in his office. His office has a typical office style bed for the patient, an ultrasound machine, all his equipment needed, and his desk. This was weird and uncomfortable to me at first because it makes your appointments more personal. How funny is it that a healthcare professional is saying that, more personal is more uncomfortable? But once I got use to it I really like it now. At any time I can interrupt with a question and he is there to answer. Now remember that I’m going to a private doctor and not one from the Social system. His family claims the experience is the same but I doubt it. This same family told me that having my baby in a Social hospital would be the same as the private. That is so not true I have a post on it for more detail. Even now I love the independence the health care system gives me although I know if I wasn’t a nurse this independence would really be translated into lack of education. At my last appointment for example our doctor told us we may want to do another urine test this month. Here I’m thinking he’s gonna write a script, but doesn’t. Issac called the hospital and they said I didn’t need it. So we plan to go get it and they will walk the results up the street to my Dr. office who will call us with the results and if we need to go get Antibiotics or not. NO Prescription needed. And honestly you could potently leave the dr. completely out of the loop and just go get your results on your own. We asked if they could be sent to our dr. and they said yes no problem. So for me this is ok because I know what Im doing but others don’t, although they would easily be able to bring the results into as pharm and ask the dr. that works there what they needed.
This pregnancy has been different than the first in ways other than the fact that Im in Mexico. That difference being I had to be on a special diet due to gall bladder issues, which will thankfully subside after the delivery of the baby. This diet however was made a little more difficult being in Mexico. For being such and over weight country USA has tons of options when it comes to diet foods. A lot of them are false advertisement but if you know what you’re looking for you can find many healthy prepackaged foods. For example I’m not supposed to have anything fried or oily, this means chips. In the states you can get things like baked Ritz chips, baked Lays (which were my favorite), ext. Here there is no such thing. That is only a small example but there are many others that I won’t go into as much until the food blog. What I have learned from this diet is that I can cook. I think I would have learned this anyway but my family would have died of heart failure on the way. I can’t have pork, gassy foods, greasy foods, or dairy (unless its desolactosa or lactose free such as pannela cheese) so I had to get creative and look stuff up. Thankfully I found some other blogs and websites with recipes that could be used here or easily altered to use here. I say used here meaning that you can’t get the same items at the grocery store here as in the States.
The last thing that is different about the whole pregnant thing here is that there are no second hand stores or garage sales for me to go to stock up on baby cloths and stuff. People just don’t have them here. I assume that items stay in the family until they are to broke down to pass down. His family will be throwing me a baby shower in Feb and this should be interesting. Im actually really excited to see if they do all the normal games and stuff with me. Aside from one family member his family doesn’t delight in pushing oddities on me and watching me squirm. Although I want to get the full experience so I hope they don’t shy away. I have seen pictures of at least 3 baby showers down here. There is a game they play where you have to guess who gave you each present and what it is. If you don’t get the answer right the person who gave you the present gets to draw something silly on your face with a washable marker. I saw it in all three sets of photos so Im sure if we play it I will have lots of stuff on my face. I don’t know his family well enough to get them right.  Again I say it will be interesting.
I think that’s all for this post.


  1. I've been to quite a few baby showers thrown my Mexican ladies, and they are so much more fun!!

    If they hand you a safety pin/small bouquet to pin to your clothing, DO NOT CROSS YOUR LEGS WHEN YOU SIT. Instead, watch for other ladies to cross their legs and steal their pins! Whoever collects the most by the end of the party wins a prize. :)

  2. Oh Liz thanks for the warning. lol


    Oh man the lipstick on the face present guess is a hardcore tradition in my bf's family. They do it at EVERY shower and they have a lot of them. I think your baby shower will be pretty similar to the one's in the states except maybe more food. Same games. I hope you get some cool stuff!

  4. Have enjoyed reading your posts on pregnancy in Mexico. Have been in Mexico for just a few months, and we're thinking of starting a family here but weren't so sure about the healthcare system, especially with my sub-par language abilities. Have your doctor visits gone smoothly in broken spanish?

  5. Alice nice to meet you. Glad Im helping a bit that was the point in the blog. :) My husband goes to every visit with me and helps a lot with translating. My doctor does know some English but its just easier to do everything through translation with my husband. If I had to go to an appointment alone it would be comfortable though and we would accomplish what we needed to. We are of course using a prvt doctor and not the system here so I dont know how that would go.