Updated: Apr 9, 2021
I met Alina just a few weeks after she arrived in Madrid. Here is what she had to say about her transition to Madrid and my support:
"Firstly, I could not recommend Madison enough! This is actually a quite a long post, but designed for you to fully understand why. Madison compassion and support are beyond this world, so you would do yourself a great favour in asking for her help.
First time rootless mom, having read the introductory post from Madison on the Madoula page, I couldn’t help but relate to her calling herself “rootless”. I think I spent a while contemplating my own identity, but somehow this word never occurred to me.
Likely, if you’re reading this page, in Madrid and in English, there has been some “uprooting” going on in your life at some point. And, if anything, isn’t the transition into motherhood, a metamorphosis of a woman into a mother, uprooting enough on its own? I think everyone has thousands of doubts and restless thoughts going through their minds during the pregnancy, in anticipation of our life and our own perception of it changing irreversibly.
Anyone about to assume a role of a mother, whether through pregnancy, adoption or surrogacy is going through this process of preparation and doubt. “Am I going to be a good mother? Will I be able to be strong enough to handle everything? What if I do something wrong and harm them already, before they are even born? And, oh, how much will it all hurt?” - I’m sure these thoughts are familiar.
Now, add to this the fact that you are likely in a foreign country, with an unfamiliar language and healthcare system, with little to no support of family due to either their geographical proximity or other limitations, and in a situation you’ve never been in before, with a whole universe unfolding inside of your belly. And there is a pandemic raging through the world - what could be more unusual! Can be scary - but the chances are, you’re okay, because we are women, and women are capable of impossible. Just imagine a man in this situation and have a good laugh!
Frankly, I must say, being “rootless”, this is not my first time finding my feet in a country where I don’t speak the language, know anyone at all or know how things work. If anything I have the love of my life by my side, rubbing my back and cooking me dinner whenever I need him to. But having a tiny human growing inside me changes everything.
I feel like I used to be brave because I wasn’t afraid to get hurt, after all, I knew I could withstand many blows. But now, it isn’t about me. It is all about the life that I am about to give, that I will be responsible for for the rest of my life. That pressure, that weight of responsibility may break one from the inside, even without any external hurdles.
And yet, we must blindly navigate through a strange and sometimes cold labyrinth of bureaucracy and people’s haphazard unkindness, seemingly leaving you in the dead end every time you try to take action. And this is where nothing, nothing at all is more important than having the support of someone who knows what to do. Of someone, who knows what to say, whom to call, where to ask for help (and how!). Of someone, who, above all, knows exactly what you’re going through.
That brings me to Madison. I don’t think she realises yet the extent to which she is going to help lots of women like me. I don’t honestly think it is comprehensible -- because support and guidance are priceless, and kindness and devotion with which she gives them are measureless. If you’ve been moving around, if you’ve faced challenges in life you’re likely to be used to carrying the weight of responsibility on your shoulders.
My one advice, if you’re still thinking about it: don’t. Ask for help. And ask Madison. The support and kindness you will get is worth so much more than money can buy.
I personally moved to Madrid following my husband, who landed his dream job (an English speaking one) when I was around 6 weeks pregnant. We thought long and hard about this and decided to take a leap of faith and to move to a city we have never been to, where we don’t know anyone, or know the culture or language. I thought, having been a bit of a vagabond myself, it’s not the first time I’m going to do something like this, and so if he can handle it, I know I will. We have each other and we will figure the rest out with the pregnancy and having the baby - we are a great team!
And, while we are, neither of us quite realised what we’re getting ourselves into. We’ve arrived mere hours before Spain halted the air communication with the UK due to a new Covid variant. I was around 21 weeks by then -- our pet cockatiel on my lap, a couple of suitcases and hope that the flat we signed the documents for in advance would have heating, electricity and water on (it did!).
And so began our new chapter in Madrid. I tried to probe some hospitals/clinics while we were still in London, trying to understand what was needed from me. The husband’s new job promised health insurance, but we didn’t know the terms yet. I sent numerous emails using Google Translate to several clinics and hospitals trying to figure out the process and things they needed from me. The only one that got back to me (and in English) was Clínica Universidad de Navarra. Later we found out that insurance won’t cover most of the private costs so I tried again getting in touch with public hospitals but to no avail.
Finally, in an outcry in a Facebook group, I asked what am I to do as I am now 23 weeks and really need to resume my care. Lots of kind voices emerged, and one of them was Madison. I was very lucky to have met her like this, by chance. I wouldn’t have even thought of asking for doula’s help because that’s just something completely unfamiliar to me.
My mother is a doctor who also comes from a medical family, so I could never quite understand the purpose of a doula, wrongfully associating the term with a hippy flower child who believes in the power of essential oils over medicine. We all are not without prejudices and admitting to mine is a necessary part of this thought process. Sadly, one may think they are protecting themselves from wrongful prejudices by experiencing a lot and meeting different people.
However, it only takes a couple of people for you to form a wrong image and opinion on the matter. I was unfortunately one of those who, after meeting a few very vocal people with troubling resentment to vaccinations, scientific research and any sorts of medical procedures, decided to close my heart and mind altogether to what seemed to “fit” into that description. And there I was, totally confused about what a doula was and why she wanted to help me.
And so by chance, Madison extended her hand to me, and I took it, accepting my own fault in misunderstanding the meaning of a doula.
Do you need a doula? Yes. Not because you’re not going to be great at dealing with things on your own, not because you’re incapable or not strong enough. Simply because the doula will hear you and your voice.
The doctors and midwives are concerned with the health and safety of you and your baby, and you should be consulting them about everything and anything related to your antenatal care and childbirth. The doula is concerned with your sanity and happiness (as well of course, your and your baby’s safety!). At least, this is what I see it like now.
I am not used to being asked about what I want. I am not used to being asked if I have enough support. I am not used to someone external to focus solely on what I think and feel.
One doesn’t hinder the other. You can have all the medical help and guidance you and the baby need from the medical professionals, while having someone on your side, hearing you and representing you as a woman, as a mother. Needless to say, someone who speaks the language, knows the system and is professionally trained to help you “settle in” to the motherhood. And someone who respects your choices without judgement.
I couldn’t be more grateful to Madison taking her time to help me in my unique residency situation (I have a Russian passport and British residence permit so it is quite complex!) to get me back on track with antenatal care as soon as possible.
Besides that, she relentlessly represented me when people seemingly did not want to listen. She gave me tips and guidance on what to do in the meantime and which doctors to talk to.
Having not even spent a month in Madrid, I can say that I have received an immense amount of support and help, especially in such a difficult time. I will always be very grateful to Madison!
Now I realise you likely haven’t come to this page to read the story of my life, I hope now you can freely ask Madison for help, for help you deserve!"
Thank you so much to Alina for sharing this incredible story of her own journey moving to Madrid and her very kind words about my support.
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood?
Look no further - book a free discovery call with me (Madison - doula in Madrid) today and let's chat about how together we can work to make your experience a positive one!