My Wife Became a Mother in Sweden

Important: this is both a story and a practical list. Practical elements will be usually highlighted in such paragraphs. Although certain conclusions we drew from our experiences may seem like advice, these should not be interpreted as such. These are our experiences and our learnings that we entrust you with, so that you may enrich your knowledge based on this and many other sources of information. May our journey entertain and serve you.

Ever since Rune was born, I knew that one day I’m going to write this story. The only unknown was when and how to do it. Finally, I have arrived at the right time and, along with it, also came the vision of how I should go about writing this.

I would like to entertain you while in the same time share with you some of the things we’ve learned about one of the best places in the world when it comes to childbirth. Sweden has one of the lowest infant mortality rates, but that’s a meaningless statistic compared to what I’m about to tell you. Here’s a little spoiler: Sweden may be great when it comes to childbirth, but things may get complicated soon after the child is born.


My Wife Became a Mother in Sweden – Part 5 – Babyhood

The drive home was gentle and Rune slept throughout. We got out of the car, entered the building and took the elevator up towards our apartment. The same emotional cocktail that we experienced when we had left the hospital overcame us again.

We went in our bedroom and placed him on our bed. He was so perfect, all dressed up for winter in a thick overall, a small face surrounded from all sides. And, as if to bless the moment, we saw his very first smile! It lasted only a couple of seconds, but it was as if he was saying: “I approve of your nest”.


My Wife Became a Mother in Sweden – Part 4 – Hotel

It took about 30 minutes for Rune to stop screaming just after being born. We started to get a bit worried, but we knew that he had also probably been awake throughout the 11-hour birth. He had been instinctually working together with his mother while in the same time wondering what’s going on. For a 9-month old, that’s a tough day, so no wonder he was a bit grumpy. Plus, breathing isn’t exactly something he was used to either.

Crina had lost more blood than is usual during the birth. This had me rather concerned for a while, but the midwives assured us that she will be fine. After the monumental effort she had been through, I was surprised to see her so alert, especially as I was slowly falling apart.

Never in my life had I abandoned myself in such a way. I hadn’t eaten since the day before, and it was almost 23:00. I lived through the birth with air and water alone. Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, I was beginning to realize just how starved I was. Luckily, the Swedes had something special in store for us…


My Wife Became a Mother in Sweden – Part 3 – Birth

It was a sunny Saturday morning, just like the Saturday when we found out that we’re withbaby. We started our day just like we did every other day but, of course, it wasn’t going to be just like every other day.

In the previous part I mentioned that, according to new discoveries, the signal that triggers the birth is coming from the baby. However, I believe that the communication is bidirectional and that a sort of negotiation takes place. Mother and child communicate through a language that we cannot even guess at. And, using this language, Crina, who knew that there will be less traffic on the motorways on Saturday, had agreed with WinterKid that they will meet this day. I’m only half-joking.

So yes, on this Saturday morning, Crina’s body started to help WinterKid towards his meeting with us. We later realized that her body had been doing preparations for a few days already. That’s probably why things moved quite fast during the morning.


My Wife Became a Mother in Sweden – Part 2 – Birthplan

Regarding the birth itself, Crina’s opinions changed quickly in Sweden. In our home country of Romania, C-sections are very popular. That is not surprising because C-sections are fast and can be scheduled at a doctor’s whim. There are even wealthy Romanian mothers and trend-setters who consider natural childbirth as something primitive. This is the society we came from and I’ll leave it at that.

Sweden is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum. Here, if a mother asks for a C-section, it is not uncommon for the midwife to recommend some therapy sessions with a psychologist in order to address fears and misconceptions about natural childbirth. Luckily, Crina didn’t need that. She had renounced her fear of natural childbirth after her first few years of life here.


My Wife Became a Mother in Sweden – Part 1 – Withbaby

Like most parents, I’ll never forget the day when we found out we’re pregnant. Yes, we were pregnant. Throughout this story, I’ll be using several expressions that we’ve coined during my wife’s pregnancy. It was Crina who came up with “we’re pregnant”.

Then, it was me who forged the word withbaby, and you’ll get used to it, because my wife wasn’t pregnant (and this is the last time you’ll read this word here). Crina was withbaby. Language is powerful. Language matters. We don’t use cold, distant words to express giving life to our child.

And if “having been impregnated” sounds too scientific, there are even worse expressions for withbaby in other languages. In our own native Romanian, they call women withbaby “însărcinată”. Ad-litteram, it means “tasked”, as in “having been given a task” (the root is “sarcină”, which means “task”).

Once upon a Snowy November Day in Stockholm

Once upon a Snowy November Day in Stockholm

Our neighborhood got dressed in white earlier than usual this year. We woke up to the beautiful dance of snowflakes waltzing to join their fallen brethren upon the immaculate lands below. I felt happy, as if I knew that an amazing day was about to unfold. Maybe I read it in the snowfall. Winter’s white can hide more than just the colors below. What if snow found a way to hide time from us as well? Then perhaps voices from the future reading these words whispered loud enough for me to hear their echoes.