This Saturday I` m having coffee with a good friend of mine, the half Romanian, half Dutch as I like to call her, mommy-to-be Ruxandra Stefanescu, newly Van Soest. At only 26 years old, she has made a life for herself in another country, finished studying and landed a job there, and is living the “Dutch” dream. With a baby girl on the way – actually just around the corner-, freshly married one week ago – from here her new Dutch name -, with a loving husband and a cute house just outside Amsterdam, the proud mommy shares with us some insights from her pregnancy so far.
Can`t wait to meet little Roberta, who is probably squeezing in there, sketching her way out to the real world by the time I` m writing this. Good luck pretty mamma, and Congratulations big time!
I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and I have been working since very recently, now I am in maternity leave. I actually just got married a couple of days ago.
How would you describe you pregnancy so far?
Well I can consider myself very lucky as I did not experience the “well known morning sickness” nor had other issues. The only tiny issues I had was the fact that I was extremely tired and now in my last weeks I got swollen up quite a lot.
What are your fav cravings?
Humus is my number one craving, I could eat it non-stop. Besides that I had tiny periods where I was only eating mandarins, grapes and yes a guilty pleasure- fries with a lot of mayo.
What was the best part of being pregnant? And the worst?
I honestly do not see any bad parts in being pregnant, I enjoyed and still enjoy every single moment of this wonderful period. Best part, hmmmm, I think the whole pregnancy as an overall is the best part.
What was your biggest challenge in working while being pregnant?
As I work in customer service, the biggest challenge was being patient. Sometimes, we do have customers which are not very nice and that’s when you have your patience tested. However, I do believe I did quite well with that as I have a supportive team and they were unconditionally there.
What changes will you make after giving birth?
I am planning to start working part time in order to be free 3 days so I can spend more time with my baby but besides that no huge changes.
What have you bought so far for the baby?How does her nursery look like?
First of all we have a big painting on the wall behind her bed which Rolf and I made (more him than me, as he is the one who was drawing it and I just helped with the paining), of which we are very proud. Besides that we bought everything we needed and which was not needed ( as some people told us). I do not know at this point what we have as we are renovating the house and we still did not unpack everything from the boxes. I will send you a picture and you will see what I am talking about. 🙂
But I do belive we are fully prepared for her as we got everything in advance. Now we just need to clean everything and unpack. Hopefully by the end of this week it will be done.
What does your typical day look like now and what do you expect it will be like after the baby?
Since I am in maternity leave I became a bit lazy, so most of the time I am staying in bed and watching series. When I am not doing that I obsessively clean (especially now with the renovations downstairs ) and spend time with Rolf (we go shopping, visiting his parents, going to restaurants). The only thing I am missing now from our activities is biking in the nature park next to our place. I was biking until 7 months and a half and since then I haven’t.
How will you give birth? What is the plan?
The plan was to give birth in water however the hospital that offers this facility is too far away and my midwifes said that if I need to go to the hospital in traffic hour we will not be able to go there.
“Therefore, I will give birth naturally (still thinking if I will be using any type of drugs as all have their risks) in the squatting position.”
What are the key advices you received so far about becoming a mom?
Depends on the people I spoke with. Some people managed to freak me out by complaining a lot and by always but always “ doing things by the books they read” and some people just told me it is a wonderful period and that I should just trust my maternal instinct and do as I fell. So I do not have any key advices, I will just proceed as I feel and hope it will be the best decision for my baby.
Who is going to look after the baby in the first months before going back to work? Do you have any help?
We already signed up our baby girl to a child care where she will be going from Monday to Wednesday from 08:00 until Rolf or I will pick her up around 15:30. Thursdays and Fridays she will be home with me and in the weekends she will be home with Rolf and he will probably visit his parents or they will visit us. Also his sister lives above us and if needed she will also help. Moreover, his mom lives 5 minutes away from us and she will also be helping us.
What is life in The Netherlands like?
If I would have to compare it to Romania, I would say it is 10 times better from all points of view. Everything is different here, and I am saying this in a good way. People are always smiling and helpful and if they have problems (which we all have) they do not show it or act them on you.
How do Dutch people act around kids? Are the local places children – friendly and is the country as a whole a children- friendly place to raise your children?
Dutch people are lovely around children and yes most of the local places are children friendly. Based on a study the Dutch children were actually found to be the happiest children. The dutch combine the old family values with a modern respect for the children`s opinions which not only makes the children very happy but it makes them confident. The family is the most important thing for Dutch people, and you can see this by simply observing them on the streets, at the movies, etc.
How do Dutch people raise their kids? And do you feel you are like them or different?
Dutch people put a lot of accent on family, education and liberty of the children. I do believe that this is what all the parents from all around the world want to teach their children.
What is the biggest challenge of living there as a Romanian, AND having kids there?
I strongly believe that there are no challenges in regards to the people I’ve meet as they are very open minded and straight-forward with people in general. The only big challenge for me is not having my family here.
Doctors’ view on giving birth? What is their approach?
My midwife’s view is based on giving birth naturally. Here you only give birth with a gynecologist if you have complications. Usually the midwife is the one assisting you while giving birth and 90 % of the women give birth at home. Here it is totally normal to give birth at home, fact that they insist on. I will however be giving birth in the hospital as I do not want to risk anything.
Are you planning to remain there for good?
Yes, I do not want to return to Romanian as I made a life here.
What kind of mom do you think you will be?
As discussing with my husband we said that I will be the ‘bad cop’ and he will be the ‘good cop’. I think I will be a bit strict but hey that’s why we are 2 in this and we will compensate.
What do you want to teach your daughter? Which of your attributes do you wish she will inherit?
I want her to be a good person, honest, loving but in the same time I want her to be strong and make the best of this life.
How have you met your husband? How have you decided to become a mom?
Rolf and I met at work where I was actually flirting with him for 2 months in which he did not notice me ( he says I was a bad flirter ). It just happened and we both decided to just let it happen and see what it brings us.
How did this wish of becoming a mother come to you? Did you feel it was the right moment, did you get maternal instincts, was it planned etc ?
As previously mentioned it was not planned, it just happened and we let it be.
What have you discovered about your husband while being pregnant?
I discovered that he is even more wonderful than I thought he is. As you know during pregnancy you do have moments when you snap out (for me it happened quite often, I snapped out from every tiny thing), he was always there for me, he was always calming me down, we never had a fight and I do appreciate him and his way of being as I know I can be very difficult.
In other words, I discovered he’s my person, the love of my life.
Now about the civil ceremony – why have you decided to do it, how was it ?
Rolf proposed from last year and we were planning to have the wedding this year however I got pregnant and we couldn’t have the wedding we wanted this year. We both decided to have the civil ceremony on the last moment as we both were excited to be married, to be a family. It was the most amazing day of our lives and we are looking forward for the religious ceremony and big party which will either be next year or in 2 years.
How do you envision your life 3 months from now?
The same as now, only that we will be 3 instead of 2.
What are you most scared of?
I’m scared of not being a good mom, of not being a good wife.
What will you miss most from before having a baby?
Honestly, I do not think I will miss anything.
Life motto right now?
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley