Having a kid in France: Part I

Ryan and I are excited to start this new adventure of parenthood, although it’s also true we really enjoyed our time pre-parenthood. We never viewed having kids as a necessity for a full life, nor as a decision that was fully ours. But we wanted to know if it was God’s will that more “Bennetts” exist in the world, and he seems to have answered our question. We know that from the first day of conception to the last day our child has on earth (prayerfully a long time from now), we are not in complete control of anything… but even just the idea of playing an important role in molding and shaping another human being is pretty cool and unreal. I’m sure once he is here, it will feel like even more of a privilege.

This is the basic “carte vitale” to show you have insurance.

But that’s probably enough deep stuff for now. One of the first questions people ask us is “Our you going to have your baby in France or go back to the U.S.?” And to be honest we never even considered going back to the U.S. for it. As far as we’ve heard and experienced so far, France has a very capable and good health care system. And not that $$ is the only thing to consider, but it seems to be less expensive in France. They tend to view a child coming into the world as a right, and a right that shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. We have basic health insurance in France, most people here also have what’s called a “mutuelle” through their employer, which is additional coverage. But even with the basic insurance, so far I’ve had to pay a fee for each Dr’s visit and prescription (which has varied between 6-60 Euros depending on what it was). But from the 6th month onward (which has just kicked in for me), everything is 100% covered by the basic insurance, including labor and even some after labor services. I don’t know exactly how much it is in the U.S. since this is our first, but from what I understand it varies a lot depending on how good the insurance of your employer is. Here, it seems to be more standardized.

There is a hospital in Paris called “The American Hospital of Paris” and we did consider that briefly just because then we could do everything in English. But we decided we are ready to handle it in French. We have many fine examples of expats going through it before us, so lots of friends help out by sharing about their experiences. And several of our French friends are “par hasard” (coincidentally) in the same life stage, two of them just having had their babies last week, so they help us understand the French system as well.

But even though our French is quite functional now, sometimes we still miss things. For instance, my mid-wife was going to examine me “down there”, and I didn’t know the word for “down there,” so I said “Great, and what or where is that?” so she explained in French (which was sufficient, I got it), but just to be sure, she also drew me a picture. Doing anything in another country and language is an adventure, and giving birth will be no exception.

One thought on “Having a kid in France: Part I

  1. Your pics are sooo detailed and beautiful!!! Looks like a boy for sure 🙂 I freaked out that Sarah wouldn’t be a girl and started calling her baby child before she was born 🙂

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