Immigrant mothers from Belarus compared births in the US and the UK
“In the USA, a child is a luxury for the middle class. And for families living below the poverty line, it’s not so scary to get pregnant and give birth, as the state provides them with assistance. They do not pay for visits to doctors, medicines, give birth for free, ”says Alena Pavlova, 40-year-old Belarusian, who now lives in a suburb of Philadelphia.
For Alena and her spouse, the birth of a child in the United States cost about 15 thousand dollars. “All that was required was a residence permit. Since my husband had her, and I was dependent on him, I automatically got the right to be examined for free at the state clinic, ”says Xnumx-year-old Belarusian Zlata Bukdenai, who gave birth in London. Two Belarusians told tut.byhow much labor costs in the US and the UK.
It so happened that both sisters of journalist Alice Ksenevich gave birth with a difference of four days in September 2017. Zlata is a girl. Alain - a boy. Zlata gave birth in London, Alain - in a suburb of Philadelphia (USA). How different may be the management of pregnancy and childbirth in two Western countries, read the material.
Alena Pavlova, USA: The nurse offered to look after the child, her services were included in the bill at discharge.
In terms of income, the Pavlov family, living in a “white” suburb of Philadelphia, is closer to the lower border of the middle class. Alena is a teacher of English at a university language school, her husband is an employee of an investment company. According to Alena, their joint income with her husband corresponds to the income of one resident of their area.
- To provide for ourselves and two children, we both have to work, so at three months, my son had to be sent to kindergarten. The most budget option, which was found, with Russian-speaking staff in the Russian region of Philadelphia, costs us in 180 dollars per week, that is, about 10 thousand per year. The average American garden is twice as expensive. As far as I know from the stories of girlfriends, children in American gardens do not cook children, but feed them with what parents have given with them. Instead of beds there are mattresses, covered with parental bed linen. During games and wakefulness, mattresses are removed, there is no separate game room. Children are entertained by the TV (in our Russian-language garden there is no TV in principle).
The Pavlovs used the most low-cost medical insurance for a family of three people in the US, which cost them 200 dollars a month. The insurance works in such a way that the patient pays for the visit to the doctor in any case. To some limit (in the case of Pavlovs - 5000 dollars per family), the cost of services is fully paid by the patient. When, in his medical expenses, he goes beyond this amount, the insurance company begins to cover 80% of the cost of visits to the doctor, the patient is the 20% of the cost.
According to Alyona, pregnancy and childbirth cost their family 15 thousand dollars. These are the expenses that are not covered by medical insurance, and which Pavlovs paid out of their own pockets. These included the purchase of medications prescribed by doctors, an apparatus for measuring blood sugar, visits to the doctor and the three days that the Pavlovs spent in the hospital after the birth of their son.
- The hospital had a good ward, three meals a day, for which, again, you have to pay. There is a TV and video channels that show how to breastfeed, put the baby to bed, and so on, ”Alena says.
“The paradox is that in America a child is a luxury for the middle class,” says Alain. - Families living below the poverty line are not so scary to get pregnant and give birth, as the state provides them with assistance. They do not pay for visiting doctors, medicines, give birth for free. And if I say that I have no money to pay for the management of pregnancy and childbirth, collectors will come to me and take our cars and house with my husband. When we were going to give birth, I said to my husband: I need you there not to ease the pain of childbirth, not to hold my hand and see the baby first, but to protect our financial interests. If someone touches me and makes any manipulations with me, you should ask this person how much it costs and if this is covered by our insurance.
- The most terrible story of my American pregnancy was as follows. When I got registered, I was told that since I am an old woman in labor, it is strongly recommended to do a test on the genetics of the child. The doctor gave me a call center where I can do this test. I wanted to check the exact cost of the test, but nowhere was this information available. There was only a program with which online, specifying your insurance and provider, you could calculate the approximate cost of the test. The amount of 250 dollars seemed acceptable to us. The whole test was that I took blood from a vein. After some time, I received test results (good) and a notification from the insurance company explaining future bills.
The cost of the test - 8000 dollars. The price tag was able to bring down in the end up to 200 dollars, but it took a lot of time and effort.
- The third month of pregnancy, and here it is! I call the insurance company. They answered me: “We can do nothing. The center where the blood sample was taken works with your insurance company. And the equipment for the procedure is provided by another company with which your insurance company does not work. ” There were no extra 8000 dollars in our family, I decided to fight to the end, ”says Alena Pavlova. - For two months I phoned various instances, and came to the doctor who advised me to do a test and gave the coordinates of the center. "Guys, you have planted such a pig for me!" And she: “Why didn’t you immediately come to us? We will give you the phone number of the representative of this company, he will settle everything. ” I called the representative: “Do not worry, this is a common thing. Once the clarifications of the invoices have come to you, the company has already begun a counterclaim on your behalf. Somewhere in a year you will receive a bill from the company, but not on 8000, but on 600. When he comes, you immediately call us, and we are filing a lawsuit on your behalf, so in the end you will pay 400 dollars. ” A year later, I actually got a bill, which I managed to knock off first to 400, and then to 200 dollars (provided I pay it right away). That is, they have their games there, courts, fights, and how do I know about them, and who will return these spent nerves and shed tears over debt in 8000 dollars to me?
Alain gives another example.
“On the first night after birth, the doctor told me to monitor my son’s breathing,” in the first hours of life there is a danger that the baby will suffocate. I did not sleep all night and by morning I was extremely tired. A nurse came up to me and offered to take the child for a couple of hours to the nursing center so that I could sleep a couple of hours. Naturally, I agreed and was very grateful for sympathy and participation. But when we were discharged from the hospital, these two hours of child care were taken into account in the bill for medical services rendered! At the same time, the nurse did not even dwell on the commercial nature of her offer to help. Any test of temperature, pressure, - all this was done for money. Our stay in the hospital cost us five thousand dollars. The worst thing about it all is not even the sum, but what nobody tells you how much and what you will pay for. You just put before the fact.
Alain says that in the US there is no prenatal leave.
- It is assumed that you work until the last day, until the last hour. Then you start contractions, you go to the hospital, give birth, and two days later, after giving birth to a child, you go out to work. Only two states have a law under which a woman is given six weeks of leave after giving birth. In other states, there is such a thing as family leave (this may be childbirth, care for a sick relative, death in the family). The duration of the leave is set by the employer, and you can only count on it if you have worked in the company for more than a year. Someone gives six weeks, someone three months.
In the company in which Alyona works, they give six weeks of unpaid leave to care for a child. Family leave can be taken before childbirth, if the state of health of the pregnant woman does not allow to cope with work duties.
- Vacation is over - babies are given to the nursery (kindergartens take babies from 6 weeks), and go to work themselves. It can not be extended. In my case, I was very lucky with my boss. I was given the date of birth on September 14, but in mid-August my condition worsened. Gritting my teeth, I went to work (I didn’t have any concessions, they gave me the same load), as long as I didn’t start bleeding. The headmaster, at her own risk and risk - theoretically had no right to do it - let me go on unpaid leave for 12 weeks. After 4 of the day I gave birth, almost two weeks ahead of time.
In the company where Alena's husband works, if an employee has a child (whether you are a mother or a father), three weeks of paid leave with a child are given.
- The husband of three weeks took only two, because the law is the law, and everyone is holding onto the workplace. And if companies were threatened with cuts, they could have been able to fire him first, because he dropped out of the cage for as many 3 weeks.
Zlata Bukdenay, 33, gave birth in London: “My clinic did not care about immigration status”
Her future husband Zlju Bukdenay met, having arrived in London to rest (she has American citizenship). He himself is not yet a citizen of the United Kingdom and is in the country on a business visa.
- Having learned about pregnancy in London, we first of all filled out documents that my future husband undertakes to bear financial responsibility for me. This is necessary for me to be examined at the clinic for free. My immigration status did not concern the clinic. All that was required was a residence permit. Since my husband had it, and I was dependent on him, I automatically received the right to be examined for free at the state clinic of the district to which we are assigned. In January, I began to be served in the clinic. In February, we got married. There was no need to buy any health insurance.
Zlata is very pleased with the quality of service at the state clinic:
- I was examined from and to. They shook with me, comforted when they found out that since childhood I was very afraid of injections. Every doctor I went for a checkup congratulated on being pregnant, especially when I found out that the pregnancy was the first, says Zlata. - I was fully confident that I could get help of any kind. The clinic even had a room where it was possible to spend the night if, for example, a pregnant woman quarreled with her husband and did not want to return home. There she is provided with psychological, legal assistance and three meals a day. Everything is free.
To attend childbirth in London, the father of the child does not need to undergo any training. Moreover, a man can come to the ward directly from the street without changing clothes.
- You can even sit there in your top clothes, your own business. The midwives were very good, they left her husband and soup to eat, and gave a pillow to sleep. The fights lasted a long time, - 22 hours, - my husband left for me to buy food, - apples, coffee, - no one controlled what he brought me there to eat.
Zlata says that the chamber was "the most ordinary."
- There are no neighbors, only you and your husband. Those who decide to give birth without epidural anesthesia are provided with the best wards. They are much larger, on the highest floor, with a panoramic view of London, a huge bed and a swimming pool, in case the pregnant woman decides to give birth in water. No surcharges are charged for this. Thus, in the UK, encourage natural childbirth without anesthesia. At 31, when they are giving free courses for young mothers and fathers, they talk about the benefits of natural childbirth in water and giving birth at home with a midwife. A midwife comes to the home birth from the hospital. In general, I realized that in the UK, childbirth is treated as an absolutely natural process, and not something extreme. During the courses, we, pregnant women, were told that even if we were abandoned in a helicopter somewhere in the midst of Hyde Park, we would give birth there. The body knows how to give birth. Of course, something could go wrong. But hope for the best.
Zlata says that after giving birth a woman with her husband and child is placed in the general chamber (the chamber is divided into sectors by curtains, so that women, children and husbands can be heard, but not visible), or in a separate room with a shower and toilet with an extra charge of 120 pounds per day .
- We chose the second option. They were fed free, three times a day, and it was possible to choose the menu itself: chicken, meat, several kinds of desserts, vegetarian dishes. Two hours before the meal, a woman came with a tablet, showed options, I chose what I wanted to eat, she gave me a ticket. With this ticket I left the ward to a special van and they gave me an order.
Zlata is dependent on her husband (to whom the right to be in the country allows them to run a business here), therefore she does not receive any allowance for the birth of a child.
“We are not British citizens, and our daughter, born here, is not a British citizen.” According to his passport, Margot is a US citizen (I have American citizenship). Children born in the UK do not receive the right to citizenship, but receive the right to permanent residence. I will have permanent residence next year, after two years of living in the country. The husband will be able to apply for citizenship in a year and a half. Daughter, respectively, too. I need to live in the country for another five years to begin to apply for citizenship.