Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Silent too long: an update on the Bawulskis

First, apologies for the inactivity on our blog. We might play the "we-just-had-a-baby" card... ...but at least I can promise that we'll do our best to keep the time between posts down in the future.

Now, on to something quite cute:

pile of babiesThis picture is from a get-together of mums and babies in the community of divinity postgrads for babies born this academic year (last fall or this spring)! Kate is 2nd from the right. Sara said is was a great time for all involved.

Two musings on our brief time of having kids in this place:

1.) So many kids are born into this community of postgrads (6 in one year is typical!) because: a.) the health care coverage is fantastic and is free at the point of application- absolutely NO medical bills for anything, including having a baby! (of course, it isn’t free- Sara paid into the healthcare system while she was working, which is funded by taxes; but I will say this: the British system costs about half as much per capita as the US system, and the quality of care is, on the whole, very comparable- but that’s a blog post for another day); b.) it is just that stage in life for most of us (late twenties/early thirties working on a terminal degree); c.) quality jobs are difficult to find in St Andrews and for many of us, starting a family becomes a better option than enduring a relatively undesirable job.

2.) Having kids here is fantastic because: a.) the support from the community is strong- offering help, advice, etc. to people who are often new parents and who usually are living very far away from family; b.) the money-saving sharing of baby gear in the community is widespread and remarkable, ranging from furniture to clothing to toys (our bassinette has been used by at least 4 other babies, probably more!); c.) there are several playgroups and bible studies for mums and kids; d.) British society tends to place a higher value on maternity than the US does.

On this last point (2.d), I realize it’s a broad statement but it holds true. For example, if a mum is leaving the workforce, she usually gets several months of paid maternity leave (even if she doesn’t return to work!). More anecdotally, we were in Dundee (big town nearby) and an older gentleman saw Sara with Kate and warmly gave her a few pounds! We found this strange until later learning that it is an established tradition for strangers to give a small amount of money to new mothers!

I won’t belabour the details of our experience as new parents, largely because it has been rather typical so far and because I am conscious of the liability of parents to go on and on for far too long about their kids… but I will say this, we have a relatively easygoing baby, and she’s been a source of joy far beyond our expectations. Here are some pics:

3 of us

kate1 sara&kate