Personal Experience Giving Birth in Japan
Being pregnant and giving birth in Japan: my firsthand experience
The year 2020 was quite challenging and frustrating to many of us because of the pandemic that we are facing so far. However, good things happen in the most unexpected times. For me, I was blessed in March 2020 when I found out that I was pregnant. Yes! Finally, I was pregnant again. I hope and prayed that this is really for me now.
After 18 years I got pregnant again. I gave birth to my first child in the year 2000, so that’s an 18 years gap. Sadly, on that first pregnancy, I lost my baby suddenly after just a month. I cannot explain how I felt. I felt nothing but pain. The process of healing this pain wasn’t easy…… But still, life goes on. We did a lot of checkups, and the doctor told us that the chance of getting pregnant again was only 2%. I had Polycystic both ovaries and Endometriosis. We went for a second opinion and the answer was basically the same. So we decided to accept God’s plan for us. Maybe that just wasn’t the right time.
God’s perfect time for me to get pregnant came in March 2020, and I gave birth to my second child in that same December here in Tokyo, Japan. Getting pregnant this year wasn’t easy, although I’m so happy and very thankful because this is what I prayed for.
I delivered my baby by Cesarean section. Currently, in Japan, your husband isn’t allowed to be with you during childbirth because of the pandemic. The nurses will only talk to your husband and will allow him to see the baby for a few minutes after the operation. Then you will go straight to the recovery room which visitors aren’t allowed either.
Here in Japan, after giving birth, you have to stay for one week up to 10 days in the hospital depending on your conditions.
Hospital rules in Japan: days needed to stay after delivery
Normal Delivery: You need to stay in the hospital for at least one week. The doctors will check your condition and your baby and if there’s no problem they will allow you to go home.
Cesarean Section: You will be hospitalized from 10 days to two weeks. The doctors will check your scars and your body condition. Same with your baby. Then they will allow you to go home.
The first three days in the hospital were so depressing for me. I don’t know why, but maybe because of the cultural shock of giving birth here in a foreign country. Different people and a different language.
On my fourth day in the hospital, I just cried a lot and kept saying I wanna go home. The nurses told me that I wasn’t allowed to go home yet unless told by the doctor.
They were worried about my condition so the doctor allowed me to go home after some tests. The next day, my husband came to pick us up from the hospital, and after signing some papers my baby and I were finally released from the hospital and we were able to go home. After 2 weeks I have to go back to the hospital and see my doctor to do several tests since I was released earlier than the date it should be.
At home, my baby and I are alone every time my husband goes to work. If it wasn’t for this pandemic, I could have invited one of my relatives to be with me and help me to take care of my baby. However, since we’re in a pandemic, Japan is not open yet for this to be possible. I had to handle everything by myself.
Taking care of the newborn baby(after 20 years, everything to me was new) as well as taking care of myself because I have to monitor my blood pressure every hour and make a note. Household work, cooking, etc. although it’s not necessary when my husband is around.
I experienced PPD (Postpartum Depression) on my first three months after giving birth. I became very emotional. I cried without reason, I felt tired of everything, I was so depressed.
There was a time when my husband came back home and I was just crying in the corner and the baby was crying also. I didn’t know what to do at that time, I was feeling so tired and my scars from the operation were hurting.
The good thing here in Japan for this kind of situation is that they have support from the Government.
Postnatal Care Support from the Government
For those Single parents and Mothers with newborn babies: The Municipal offers home visits by midwives or well-trained community health workers. And it’s all free of charge. They will give information and postnatal care for mothers and newborn babies.
If there is any problem with your newborn baby, you can contact the nearest Health Center in your area. They will guide and help you. Or even if you are experiencing depression (PPD), they will immediately help you or visit you.
I hope that sharing my own personal experience may have helped other mothers or future mothers in Japan. For more information about being pregnant in Japan, these other articles may also help you.