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As a diplomat, I could choose where to raise my family. I picked Uruguay because of the access to top-notch healthcare at a reasonable price.

Elianne Elbaum and her two children
Courtesy of Elianne Elbaum

  • By the time I was in my 30s, I had already lived in five different countries. 
  • When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and me decided to move to Uruguay. 
  • Having accessible healthcare and being close to our families was a key to my recovery. 

I was born and raised in Uruguay, and at age 24, I began my career as a diplomat. I had lived in the US, Italy, and Argentina before, but the diplomatic world opened up innumerable possibilities. 

I got São Paulo, Brazil as my first posting. I was in my 30s, independent, doing pretty well, and had access to the best services — including healthcare — due to my job.

After hundreds of Tinder dates, I met my now-husband, who is also from Uruguay. We were craving a slower-paced life and decided to move back home. Two months later I was pregnant

I had my OB's cellphone number and could text him whenever I needed

As soon as we knew I was pregnant, I went to my health provider and got all the tests and first ultrasound done. It turned out that I was 10-weeks pregnant. I chose my OB and had him for every appointment. He prioritized his pregnant patients, so every month I got to see him and check that everything was OK.

I thought it was great that the moment we got to his office, he gave us his cellphone number and said to call him if we ever had any questions. He replied immediately and made me feel safe. He made me feel like he actually cared.

By week 40, our baby was not ready to come out, so the OB said we could schedule a C-section or try to induce labor. I wanted a vaginal birth, so he let me wait as long as I could before induction, then suggested I check in to the hospital at 10 p.m. on Sunday if nothing had happened by then. 

It was great that he did not care it was the weekend, and that I could feel we waited for as long as we wanted instead of having me fit his schedule. The hospital assigned me to a nice room, which the regular insurance price included.

I ended up getting a C-section, but throughout the process I felt heard and respected. 

My insurance covered all of the meds and the baby's formula, so we didn't spend any extra money. 

Society is more supportive here

I was discharged three days after giving birth. 

My dad drove us from the hospital to our place, and my aunt had filled the fridge with yummy meals so that when we got home, we didn't have to cook or think. 

Additionally, while I was six months pregnant, I got a job interview. Even if they saw I was clearly pregnant, they decided to move forward and make me an offer. I couldn't believe it. So I got the job, worked for a couple of months, went on maternity leave for three full months, and then worked part-time for another 3 months, all while getting fully paid. 

Since there is no after-birth care in South America, having our family's support was the key to our well-being. I felt that without them, it would have been impossible to make it out in one piece. 

Being in Uruguay made a difference. We could access excellent personalized healthcare at a reasonable price and have that emotional safety net that all new moms need in the absence of care policies supporting women and babies.

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