Finding Support for Expats When Pregnant Abroad

Finding Support for Expats When Pregnant Abroad

Expat life impacts on every aspect of our lives and no experience can be more personal and pertinent in this respect than pregnancy and child-birth. Arriving in a new location while pregnant can be challenging as I know. We moved to live on the island of Madeira when I was three months pregnant with my second child eleven years ago.

Knowing no-one and not having the normal support systems of parents, relatives and best friends back home, not speaking the local language or understanding the medical systems can add to the stress of the adjustment process. But if you know what questions to ask, and are able to calmly identify what kind of support you want and keep an open mind then there is every chance you will find the care you need. In this interview I talk to Karen Wilmot – The Virtual Midwife. The conversation provides invaluable tips and advice.

Karen has been involved in the arena of women’s health for many years. Working in the Middle East, Karen came to feel that pregnancy and childbirth were not being treated with the respect and honour they deserved – becoming too procedural and technocratic.

Karen wanted to support women at a deeper level and so eight years ago she started to support women her way and a year ago opened a centre for pregnant women in Oman. This is a delightful conversation about the experience of pregnancy and childbirth.

We talk about:

  • The challenges women and their partners face when managing their pregnancy and child birth as an expat.
  • What Karen means by supporting pregnancy and childbirth from a holistic perspective.
  • Karen’s take on FEAR and her suggestions on how to manage those fearful thoughts and feelings.
  • What questions to ask and when.
  • We finish with Karen’s five tips for creating a calming birth environment.

We hope you enjoy this interview and please do share with your friends.

To learn more about Karen and her online programme you can go to where you can also connect with Karen.

At the end of the podcast I talk about two books Knocked Up Abroad: Stories of pregnancy, birth and raising a family in a foreign country and Knocked Up Abroad Again: Baby bumps, twists and turns around the globe by Lisa Ferland. You can find them on Amazon and listen to my interview with Lisa HERE

For clarity, these are not affiliate links. These are resources that I believe may be helpful to you. Please conduct your own research to ensure you are making an informed decision before buying. 

Keeping Calm and Serene Amongst the Chaos of International Relocation

Keeping Calm and Serene Amongst the Chaos of International Relocation

It is ‘that’ time of year again. Assignees and their families are embarking on new international moves, others returning after long summer breaks. Settling and adjusting to new routines, schools and jobs can be exciting and exhilarating on the one hand, and if we’re honest, pretty exhausting on the other.

This week on the Thriving Abroad Podcast I talk to Dr Tami Nelson and Dr Kelli Jones Sanness from Therapy Solutions Abroad, our subject is mental well-being and it is a conversation that is definitely worth your time.

The truth is everyone reacts differently to change and transition. Good days filled with excitement and awe at our new experience can be replaced by ones where it can all feel too much. Such is the roller coaster ride of international relocation – it is important to remember it is all a part of the adjustment process:

‘It is natural to feel distress and under some pressure from this huge move.’

As you settle into new routines now is a good time to reflect on your schedule and consider your personal sense of well-being.

A research report by Talking Talent highlighted that in the UK 71% of workers have experienced burnout at least once in their working lives, an alarming statistic and one that underlined for me the importance of being proactive and taking care of oneself as an expat.

Organisations can also help by thinking about the relocation pressure points for assignee’s and their families and providing appropriate and timely support.

So, in the spirit of well-being I encourage you to put your feet up and listen to the advice of Tami and Kelli as we talk about the issue of expat stress and mental well-being.

We encourage you to recognise it is a natural experience to feel distress and under some pressure – for a huge move this is a normal experience’.

During the conversation we talk about:

  • How stress varies from person to person, we are all different after all!
  • What can contribute to a sense of overwhelm and distress.
  • The importance of setting realistic expectations both before and during an international relocation.
  • The symptoms to look out for that may indicate unhealthy levels of stress.
  • Help – and where to find it.
  • How to help yourself including a tip – independence is not always a good thing.

‘If you take care of yourself you have the ability to take care of others. If you’re lacking in that then you’re not going to be able to give anything to anyone else’

To learn more about Tami and Kelli visit their website HERE

Tami and Kelly have also shared links to a number of articles they have published recently:



How to Support Elderly Relatives While Living Overseas.

How to Support Elderly Relatives While Living Overseas.

Supporting Elderly Relatives from Abroad.

One of the more challenging aspects of relocating internationally is the need to leave loved ones behind. Sometimes this involves leaving children at boarding school or at university. Often it means leaving our parents and relatives, and as they age the challenges involved in caring for them from afar can become increasingly complex and stressful. Of course, we want the best for them, but it can be difficult to know how best to support them when we are not available to visit regularly.

Of course, we cannot future proof our lives and the lives of those we love from all adversity but we can put in place contingencies that will support us and our loved ones in difficult times.

On the Podcast today, I talk to Alison Hesketh from Time Finders. Time Finders exists to provide:

‘Practical and emotional support for older people and their families in changing circumstances.’

Twelve years ago, Alison’s mother found herself no longer able to manage the house she had lived in for many years. Alison helped her to sort through a lifetime’s possessions and settle into her new home in a new community. This experience lead to the realisation that there was a pressing need for a service to help others in a similar position and so Time Finders was born.

This conversation is pertinent for you if you:

  • Have parents or elderly relatives and don’t want your sense of responsibility for their care to prevent you from relocating or continuing to live abroad.
  • Want to better understand the issues and challenges that may be encountered as your relatives age.
  • Want to be prepared for a crisis with a well thought through, and most importantly agreed contingency plan.
  • Are a silver surfer yourself, over 50, yep that would be me too, and want to think about how you can prepare for your more senior years responsibly.

As Alison says during our conversation:

‘If you have a contingency plan it can reduce immeasurably the level of anxiety you face when somebody becomes ill or an emergency happens….. A contingency plan is not just about your parents or relatives it is about helping you to avoid the blind panic that comes at the point an emergency arises.

You can learn more about Time Finders HERE, where they are happy to offer a complimentary consultation and you can sign up to receive their regular newsletter.

The Thriving Abroad Podcast Roundup

The Thriving Abroad Podcast Roundup

We have loved creating the Thriving Abroad Podcast Library and are thrilled at the great insights, information and inspiration that can be drawn from the experts we have interviewed so far.

We want to ensure that you have not missed out on interviews that could be of value to you. So we have created a handy list with links to the 27 episodes, simply click on the header to be taken straight to the podcast.

Please, as you head over to iTunes take the time to rate the show. We will be continuing to build the podcast series and would love for it to reach a wider audience. Ratings will help us to achieve that.

Relocating with Children

Episode 21. Bringing Up Bilingual Children. This is an interview for all those parents who are struggling to inspire enthusiasm in their children for learning an additional language. In this interview Rita shares the seven cornerstones of multilingual parenting.

Episode 27. Kate Berger of the Expat Kids Club. Kate shares her professional insights and advice about how you can support your child through the challenges of international relocation.

General Expat Experience.

Episode 1. Tayo Rockson. Founder of UYD, Use Your Difference Media, has a simple but profound message, ‘Use your difference to make a difference’. Listen to hear more about his fascinating journey and his inspirational messages.

Episode 10. Sundae Schneider Bean. Listen to Sundae as she shares her strategies for overcoming the challenges of expat life, and how she helps people to make the most of their lives abroad.

Episode 6. Chantal Duke. A vibrant and fascinating account demonstrating how Chantal embraced the challenge of seven international moves in challenging environments and created wonderful experiences and careers.

Episode 5 Apple Gidley. Author of ‘Expat Life Slice by Slice’, Apple shares her refreshing outlook on expat life and some great stories, just as you would expect from such a talented author.

Episode 17. Sharon Swift. The Expat Concierge. Sharon shares her experience of moving half way across the world to a place that she had never visited before, and how she realised that this challenge was her opportunity to create a business that fulfilled a real need.

Episode 18. Renske Ten Bosch.  Describes how her expat experience inspired her to create her two businesses, ‘Makulay Colourful Memories’ and ‘Crates & Co’, where one of her core values is to give back to the local communities that she lives in.

Support for Expat Partners.

Episode 3. Kristin Duncombe. Author of ‘Trailing a Memoir’. Kristin tells us her story and shares her experience as an expat partner, her struggles and how she created her portable career.

Episode 9. Meghan Fenn, Designing a Career Abroad. Listen to Meghan talk about what it takes to be an expat entrepreneur and how she built her diverse career and business.

Episode 11. Janice Wiggins. Janice shares her tips on how to become unstuck, the value of mindset and how she transformed her life, and the part volunteering played in helping her to get out of her comfort zone.

Episode 14. Rachel Yates. Walking the Walk to Expat Entrepreneurship. How as the expat partner can you keep your needs at the forefront of the international experience? Rachel tells you how.

Episode 16. Diane Lemieux. Author of The Mobile Life. This interview will help expat partners to identify what their international experience has meant to them in terms of creating opportunities and notching up accomplishments.

Episode 19. Naomi Hattaway. Stand Proud – The Positive Impact of Volunteering. Naomi talks about her approach to life and the role that volunteering has played in life at home and abroad. Roles that have been invaluable in developing the skills that have helped her in the creation of her own business.

Episode 20. Every Expat Partner Needs a Back Up Plan. We talk with Rachel Yates about the tricky subject of financial dependency, and some of the issues every expat partner should consider to address those vulnerabilities.

Episode 25. Lisa Ferland, Knocked Up Abroad. Lisa shares tells the story of her relocation to Sweden from the USA and how it has inspired her to create her new career in publishing.

Starting or Running a Business Abroad.

Episode 24. Ali Meehan, Imagineer, Costa Women. Starting a business? Or thinking about how to build your current one? This interview is for you. Packed with tips and insights from Ali who has built a community with 5,000 members and a social media following of over 15,000. She invites you to ‘think big’.

Episode 15. Natasha Vorompiova,Systems Rock. Natasha shares her inspiring story of building a business as an expat. She also gives us her favourite tips and tools for using systems to make your personal admin easier.

Episode 12. Stephanie Ward. Shares her journey to owning her own business and her insights on the difference between successful marketing and marketing failure.

Episode 8. Liz Perelstein, founder of ‘School Choice International’, talks about how her international relocation to the UK was the catalyst for the birth of her hugely successful business.

Episode 7. Russell Ward. How writing a blog lead to a new writing career and a successful business, ‘The International Writer’. Russell also shares tips on writing a blog that engages.

Episode 4 Andrea Martins. Founder of and co-author of Expat Women, ‘Confessions, 50 Answers to Your Real Life Questions about Living Abroad’. Andrea shares her story and great tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business as an expat.

Episode 2. Alison Cornford Mattheson is an expat partner who accompanied her husband to Belgium. The career she subsequently created as a writer and photographer has changed their lives. At the time of our interview they were about to start their new adventure, travelling around Europe in an RV.

General Interest

Episode 13, The Power of Partnership. Authors of Power Through Partnership, Betsy Polk and Maggie Ellis talk about their partnership and the secrets of what makes women’s partnerships incredibly successful.

Country Specific.

Episode 21. Molly Sears Piccavey – The Allure of Spain. This interview will give you a sense of the wonder and challenges of life in Spain. Molly shares her journey from arriving in her early 20’s in Barcelona to her life now in Granada, Andalucia, and the inspiration behind her award winning travel blog.

Episode 22. Sibylle EschapasseFrench Polynesia to New York and Beyond. Sibylle shares her fascinating story, which started when conducting research in French Polynesia, moving to her arrival in New York on a Freighter, and continues as she talks about her work for the United Nations and life in New York.

Episode 23. Jo-Ann Howell. Thinking of Moving to France? Jo-Ann is creator of ‘French Admin Solutions’ and in this episode offers advice and insights into the practicalities of moving to and living in France.

Parents! Have you relocated with children?

Parents! Have you relocated with children?

For us, nothing pulls more at our heart strings than seeing our children worried and unhappy.

In our experience, international relocation is the one sure fire way of upsetting our children and leading to some guilt riddled moments as parents.

Conversely and happily, it has also been the catalyst for fantastic experiences, very smiley faces and some fabulous proud parent moments. 

A mixed bag of highs and lows.

And a never ending circuit round these two questions:

  • Am I handling this right?
  • What more could I be doing?

This week we are delighted to welcome to the Thriving Abroad Podcast, Kate Berger. Our conversation gives insights, suggestions and we felt validation to at least some of our parenting efforts.

Kate is a child and adolescent psychologist, consultant and the founder of the Expat Kids Club which, since its inception has provided counsel to hundreds of youngsters and their families, as well as major corporations from the UK, Germany, Singapore and the USA.

In this podcast we talk about:

  • The benefits to children of a peripatetic life.
  • The challenges that children face as they react to the impact of life changing decisions that are usually totally beyond their control.
  • Why it is important to recognise that the process is stressful; ‘we cannot put our heads in the sand not acknowledge that stress is a real thing, that it is there.’ Kate
  • The wide range of support that we as parents can offer.
  • The importance of understanding yourself and your reactions as a first step in supporting your child.
  • When to call in the professionals.
  • The power of mindfulness in managing the impact of change and transition.

We really enjoyed and benefited from this interview and we hope you will too. Please feel free to pass this on to parents in your network who may find the interview helpful.

If you would like to learn more about Kate you can find her at:

During the interview we mention the organisation, Families in Global Transition, which supports families and professionals working in the field of international mobility. Visit their website to learn more.

How Stories of Birth Abroad Led to an Exciting New Career

How Stories of Birth Abroad Led to an Exciting New Career

For those of us who have relocated internationally, giving birth and raising young children abroad can be simultaneously one of the most challenging and most heart-warming and fulfilling aspects of our experience abroad.

We have both experienced this first-hand and so when the book, Knocked Up Abroad by Lisa Ferland was published in January 2016 we knew that the fantastic stories would resonate with many of you.

As Lisa explains:

‘the most interesting part is not the birth stories in themselves, but more the impact these experiences have had on the authors from a personal transformative perspective, and also the cultural insights the stories provide.’

Lisa knows all about international relocation. She and her husband relocated from the USA to Sweden in search of a better work life balance. Listen to the podcast to find out how that all worked out!

Also discover:

  • How relocating internationally lead Lisa to the creation of this new career in publishing. Lisa says ‘it is interesting how when you can’t do what you’ve been trained to do, how you can find a new path in an unexpected way and be just as fulfilled by it, or more so’.
  • How one book is leading to another and her plans for the second book in the series, which is due out later in 2016. You can find out more about this exciting project by viewing the book launch video HERE.

If you are pregnant or considering starting your family while living abroad then the stories in this book with comfort and inspire. You can buy the book HERE.

If you are an expat partner who is wanting to take their career in a new and exciting direction then this interview will inspire you to consider what is possible and how while pushing our own professional comfort levels can be tough, perhaps even risky, the rewards can be substantial.

We hope that you enjoy our conversation with Lisa.

Please share this interview and the Thriving Abroad podcast with your friends and social networks, and as always your comments are welcome.