Have you recently had a baby? Do you live overseas and are looking for ways to cope with living away from your family?
You’re not alone!
According to The Guardian, about 258 million people, or one in every 30, were living outside their country of birth in 2017.
I moved from Germany to Australia in 2018 to live there with my partner. Early 2020 I became a mom. Having a baby in a country you don’t know very well and without having any of your family close-by is hard.
No mom comes over to drop off some food or cook for you or help you settle your baby.
No dad swings by to pick up your baby and take it for a walk in the pram so you can clean the house or sleep or just have some quiet time to yourself.
You won’t be able to share those milestones of your baby’s development with your family the way you would if they were just living around the corner.
It’s hard being away from your family when you first have a baby but you have to make the most out of it and be strong and happy for your baby.
Here are some tips that helped me cope with living away from my family when I first had a baby:
- Overview: How To Cope With Living Away from Family
- 1. Build Your Own Support Network
- 2. Include Your Family in Your Daily Life
- 3. Make Plans and Cherish the Memories
- 4. Remind Yourself of the Benefits Your Child Has by Living Overseas
- 5. Nothing is Forever
- FAQs on Living Away from Family with a Baby
- Is It Ok to Live Away from Family?
- Is It Selfish to Move Away from Family?
- Why Is Moving Away from Family So Hard?
- 5 Ways to Cope with Living Away from Family When Having a Baby
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Overview: How To Cope With Living Away from Family
- Build a support network
- Include your family in your daily life
- Make plans and cherish the memories
- Remind yourself of the benefits of living overseas
- Nothing has to be forever
1. Build Your Own Support Network
Even though I have my partner’s parents and friends live near us, I needed to be with people that were in the same situation as myself.
On Facebook, I have met two fellow moms who I am now very good friends with. Their children are very close in age to my daughter and they are German as well. This is a great benefit as I’m raising my daughter bilingual.
I have made Australian friends over time as well. However, people who moved away from their home country to live overseas understand your pain and worries so much better. People who have never lived overseas are most likely part of a set group of friends already. It’s hard to be accepted into those groups.
To find likeminded people, check out your local expat community or new mom’s group on Facebook to connect to other parents. Once you know a few people, they might introduce you to their friends. That way you get to know more people around your area and build up your own support network.
Leaving the house, having regular social interactions and asking for advice is so important to be able to cope with having no family around.
2. Include Your Family in Your Daily Life
It makes it much easier to cope with living away from family when you first had a baby by talking to them on a regular basis. That way you will stay close to them and you won’t be drifting apart from each other.
For me this means doing a lot of video calls throughout the week and on the weekend. Sending pictures and videos of us. Having my daughter draw something for my mum or my dad (which is of course a scribble, but they are happy to receive anything).
Sometimes I just have a rant about the things that annoy me being away from home. It helps when someone listens to my worries.
It isn’t always easy to do a video call due to the time difference. As life with a baby gets really busy, it takes organizational skills and self-discipline to make it happen.
By doing phone and video calls you won’t feel so distant from your family. Let them be a part of your own family’s life just how it would be if they were around you.
3. Make Plans and Cherish the Memories
My mom came to visit us in Australia when my daughter was 6 weeks old. She stayed for 3 weeks and we all had a wonderful time together. Then the pandemic hit and no one was allowed to enter or exit Australia for 1.5 years.
As soon as Australia announced they would open up again in November 2021, I made plans to travel to Germany with my daughter. Looking forward to this trip made it so much easier for me being overseas. I ended up staying in Germany for 7 weeks including Christmas, New Years and even my daughter’s birthday. All those special days on one journey!
So, go ahead and make plans to fly overseas. Or ask your family to come visit you and offer them a place to stay. Once you see each other, make sure to take lots of photos and videos.
Create a separate album for those on your phone. That way you can look at them any time you want and show them to your little one as they grow up.
4. Remind Yourself of the Benefits Your Child Has by Living Overseas
For your child to be raised in another country has many advantages. Learning another language next to the one which is spoken in your home country. Getting another passport. Getting to know a different culture.
This opens up so many possibilities to them when they get older.
Going on a plane to visit your family overseas every so often will make them learn about traveling, different time zones, other nationalities and the world in general.
Keep remembering these advantages and you won’t feel so guilty about living away from your family.
5. Nothing is Forever
For me this means there is a possibility for us to be going back to Germany. This might happen in the next couple of years. I think it’s only fair that my partner stays flexible on his location too since I moved to his country to be with him.
Whatever your situation may be – nothing has to be forever. You might move back home one day and you and your child/children can spend more time with your family.
We tend to idealize the places we don’t live in so you might be doing the same with your home country. Of course, your family lives there which is the reason you love your home so much. However, I’m sure the country you currently live in is a great place too so – enjoy it!
FAQs on Living Away from Family with a Baby
Is It Ok to Live Away from Family?
Of course, it’s ok to live away from your family, if this is ok with you. Before you make a decision, consider the advantages and disadvantages living away from your family.
Especially when you have a baby, it’s nice to have your family around, but depending on your relationship to them, it might also be good to have a certain distance to everyone.
Is It Selfish to Move Away from Family?
The simple answer is no. It’s not selfish to move away from your family, if you feel, this is the right thing to do for you.
By moving away from family, you will become more independent and responsible for your actions and decisions.
Why Is Moving Away from Family So Hard?
Moving and living away from family is so hard, because you constantly fear to miss out on something.
Depending on how far you move way, you’ll miss dinners, planned birthday parties, and spontaneous visits and activities.
It’s also hard because you feel guilty for leaving your family alone in case of an emergency.
So What’s the Ultimate Guide on How to Cope with Living Away from Family When Having a Baby?
It’s a good mix of all of the above.
The most important I would say though is to make sure you have friends around you who really understand you.
Like-minded people who are in the same situation as yourself will be genuine and loyal towards you. In a way, they will become your family.
There are hard times ahead of you where you will feel extremely upset. Especially on birthdays or cultural and religious occasions. And it’s ok to be sad.
Just make sure to stay positive and enjoy your life overseas as much as you can.
Sometimes you glorify everything about your home country only because you miss it so much. After a while though you realize you left it for a (good) reason.
Let me know if you have other tips to share!
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5 Ways to Cope with Living Away from Family When Having a Baby
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