FamilyLife.Rocks parenting in germany

More Midwifes!

The last post was on midwives in Germany. The midwives in London during the 1950s are available via the original Netflix series “call the midwifes”.

Lisa is absolutely addicted and has already consumed all 5 seasons. Bing watching alert.

Call your midwife!

Guest post on pregnancy and delivery and the role the midwives play in Germany by Dr. Katja Heumader. Katja is a close friend of Lisa. Her kids are the same age as ours and we spend at least one afternoon per week. The late night WhatsApp messages about the hard/stupid/crazy moments of parenting have saved the day more than once.

My Brazilian friend got pregnant in 2013. The first question she asked was: “I don’t understand this whole midwife-thing you have in Germany. What do I need a midwife for? And how do I find the right one?” In Brazil, children are born under doctoral supervision in hospital, many of them via c-section (in cities up to 90 per cent). For comparison: In Germany the share of c-sections is about 30 per cent. Of course, the absence of midwives is one of the reasons for the high share of c-sections in Brazil.

Midwifes in Germany

Midwives care for women during pregnancy, birth and childbed

For women from abroad the role midwives play in Germany might be stunning. They might even be puzzled about the various midwives a pregnant woman needs. Each woman has the right to get help from a midwife during pregnancy, birth and the time after (Recht auf Hebammenhilfe). Midwives attend each birth, even c-sections. They have a broad medical knowledge about all issues concerning pregnancy, birth and childbed.

What midwives in germany do in detail

Instead of seeing a doctor, a pregnant woman can get all examinations from her midwife. Apart from the medical knowledge midwives offer a different perspective from the one doctors have. They consider pregnancy and birth as something natural whereas medical staff in hospitals tends to see pathologic aspects and eventual risks in the first place. Of course, pregnant women profit from medical achievements. But quite often they are alienated instead of encouraged by gynecologists and nurses.

Midwives can be a corrective and give women the strength and help they need during that special time. A midwife might choose other means or set aside some technical devices. Women who don’t want to relinquish those modern medical methods can also choose a combination: They can see their midwife for some appointments and their gynecologists for others (for example ultrasonics).

Midwives also offer prenatal classes in which women or couples can learn everything around birth and the first time with the baby. Many women get to know the midwife who looks after her in childbed in those classes. And of course, a midwife helps the becoming mother to give birth to her child, in hospital, birthplace or at home.

During childbed midwives come to see mother and baby at home after the two have left hospital. They check if the baby is gaining weight, look after the navel and control the wound healing of the mother, look after wound nipples and after nursing in general. But most importantly they give advices for the everyday life with the baby. Everyone who has children knows: The first days with the baby are exhausting. Mothers suffer from baby blues. Babies don’t know any difference between day and night yet and keep their parents awake for hours. Sometimes babies cry a lot – without a specific reason. Parents feel helpless in those situations. A midwife can strengthen parents and the relationship to their children by giving mother and father the necessary self confidence that they do the right thing for their little child.

Midwives in germany face financial problems

Unfortunately, midwives have been facing huge problems in recent times. As courts tend to adjust big amounts of compensations to families who suffer from damages they gained during birth (which is per se a good thing), insurance fees for midwives have increased significantly. This leads to the fact, that many midwives have to resign from their job because they can’t work profitably any more. Furthermore, house birthing has become nearly extinct. Unfortunately, political solutions have had only temporal effects so far Haftpflichtversicherung für Hebammen steigt erneut .

Being transgender in Germany

My daily routine starts with coffee. In a way I am in a automatic mode before I had my first cup. Especially winter mornings are tough. The darkness seems to crawl through the windows and tells me: “go back to bed, it is still night!” If I didn’t have my wife and my kids, I’d most likely listen to it. But the family schedule forces me into my daily routine.

Being transgender in Germany

Hello, my name is Nina and I am transgender. Being trans isn’t really unusual, but being trans in a small town is very different. And we live in a German small town. Well, to be precise: we live in the train station of this small town. If you have never seen a German small town, try to imagine Stars Hollow having a train station. It is a three storied brick-stone building. Every hour a train passes through, stops to drop students, workers and a few tourists and returns a few minutes later to pick up passengers to the next major town.

There isn’t such a big difference between living in a station and a normal house. Except that there is always lots of people in front of the train station. Every morning, when I go to the bus with my sons, we have to pass through strangers. Honestly, I usually think about a lot, when I leave the house. What should we have for dinner? Did I fill the lunch boxes? Did I forget my keys or wallet? But I hardly ever think about being trans, until other peoples reactions remind me.

It might be hard to understand, but most the time I do not think about gender at all. That was way different, when I had my coming out. In the first months and years it felt new to go out into the public, without hiding in my male costume. But after several years living full time, a lot of it became daily routine.

A lot of things became easier, when my name and gender were legally changed. It was quite a lot of bureaucracy I had to face about two years ago. It all became complicated, because I am still Austrian citizen. One would think the medical certificates I already had, would be enough to get the birth certificate changed. But it was way more trouble. I had to go to a psychologist – specialized on working with transgender – to get an expertise, sent it to the Austrian Embassy with a whole bunch of papers and then I had to wait. It took some months till I finally got my papers and my legal name change.

For me it was never a question to leave the small town. My kids go to Kindergarten and school here, their friends and my friends life just around the corner. A lot of people have an illusion that small towns were less tolerant and maybe in a way this isn’t so much an illusion at all. But whenever I have to go to a big city I realize: people aren’t really more open, tolerant or accepting, they’ve only seen enough odd things, so they don’t notice me as very unusual. While this avoids certain conflicts, it is in fact just a form of ignorance.

My family and I are kind of famous in our town. We cannot really go anywhere without being noticed. Yes, we’re outstanding. A transgender woman, her wife and their kids will always attract attention. But most of the people got used to us. After a while they realized that we are just a family like all the others. It was a lot of gossip a few years ago, but after a while a certain routine took over. We’re a not so normal family living a pretty ordinary family life.

A pastime singer

There was a time when my only focus was writing and performing music. I seriously considered music as a profession. While not being talented or assertive enough to really push my luck I still spent several hours a day writing songs and practicing. But then life got in the way and lead me along to the place where I am now - caring for a family and rarely finding the time to pick up a guitar and only climbing on the stage on special occasions during open microphone events.

But since last year marked the 25th anniversary of performing my songs in front of an audience I received a very special Christmas present: a video recording session.

“Neon” is one of these recordings. I hope you enjoy the old me fumbling for the microphone to sing a homemade tune.

It seems that most of my life These neon gas station signs Have been the only light up ahead

Reasons for not publishing your children's pictures on the internet

This blog is still young and only contains a few articles. But you might already have noticed that we do not post any pictures of our child. This is not a coincident but a well considered move. We actively decided to not publish any fotos of our son.

Our child is cute

Well of course our little boy is the cutest and most handsome child on the planet. No doubt about it. We are so sure of this fact that we do not need the reassurance and applause of the internet for our son. We know the good looks of our son and so do our family and friends. This is enough.

If we would make pictures of our son publicly available on the internet than everyone could download, steal, or use them. We would not have any influence on whatever happened to these pictures. Therefore we do not post any pictures in the first place.

Content matters

We want to share some details and stories of our lives but mostly focus on our experiences and not so much on our faces. If you do find our stories boring just move on. Those still here: happy reading.

We sure try to spice up our postings with pictures since reading would indeed be a bit boring. We try to think about what pictures we use. We are convinced that our articles still serve their duty without us posting the face of our son.

The kid

A great debate in Germany

Currently a hot discussion is taking place amongst German parenting bloggers wether posting pictured of your children on the internet. Lisa has attended a panel discussion taking place on one of the biggest German business festivals the re:publica in Berlin that concluded that we are part of the minority with our approach.

The parents uploading pictures usually have their arguments.

  • Our children will suspect that we think they are ugly when they notice that all their classmates have cute pictures of themselves on the internet a couple of years from now

  • My articles on the intimate daily routines of our family offer so many insights that I can publish family pictures as well since it makes no difference anymore

  • My children get filmed and recorded in public like e.g in shops and on the streets anyway

In our opinion these arguments are mostly nonsense. The underlying reasons to post these pictures is mostly the fact that they promise more clicks. More clicks equals more money in most cases.

We admit that the mother blogging about her daily routines with a disabled child has a valid reason: “I show pictures of my child on the internet because I want to raise awareness to the theme of living with disabilities. I believe people should be able to see, that we live a normal life. Disabled persons have been hidden away from the public for too long already.”

The career of our offspring

We have seen it all: crying children, sick children, mothers describing the consistency of their offsprings morning shit. The internet never forgets - 15, 20, 42 years from now it will still be possible to find these contents. Awkward scenes on weddings, meetings, or during political campaigns are inevitable.

But we can think of another valid reason not to show the face of our son on the internet: face detection. As soon as a service like Facebook or Google has your photos they are able to recognize you everywhere. This might sound a little strange or even farfetched but these are the facts: we would like to enable Florentin to shape his future the way he prefers. Therefore he should be able to decide for himself should he ever consider a career as resistance fighter and strive for independence if he pleases without his face already stored in every database.

Paraphrasing the argument: we take special care that he does not cut his eyes out by accident with a fork and spoil his spotless career as a pilot as well.

The kid as a resistance fighter