Here you can read some indepth interviews with Madrid Mums and share their experiences of childbirth, schooling and Madrid living.
"I had gone from working full time and having lots of friends and family around to being at home on my own, in a totally different culture, not speaking the language and with no friends. It was very very difficult and I did feel very homesick! I also felt guilty for feeling like that and moaning - I know most people would dream to give up work and live abroad! I did know that what I was feeling was natural and that helped but it was probably about 5-6 months before I became fully settled, during this time I would have done anything to move back to the UK." (SV, Sept 2009)
"I would describe the Madrilenos as: Proud, noisy, late-eating, helpful, direct, welcoming car-lovers. A lot of the time, it sounds as if they are arguing. Sometimes they are, but its all forgotton about the next day. In my experience, they love to discuss any ailments they might have too, and trips to the doctor/hospital are commonplace and suitable smalltalk. If you want to get something done, particularly with bureaucracy, never shout back when voices are raised. If you accept full responsibility for not having the correct papers/stamp on said papers, you can very often get your own way. They love kids, and you cant leave your home without at least someone telling you how gorgeous your child is." (HL, Oct 2010)
"Tintinabulum have been fabulous with William, I was worried about the language barrier for him but I needn’t have at all. They are well structured in their daily activities with the children and they do not seem to have the restrictions of English nurseries, which is so refreshing. When William goes to school or when I collect him his teachers will always greet him or say goodbye with a hug and a kiss (as I would do myself), which would never happen in a British nursery due to child protection restrictions." (KG, March 2010)
"(I) really missed Mums & Tots groups, etc. when babies. As grandparents are 90% childcare here, society’s not prepared for those of us who need to socialize and don’t have parents on hand." (AG, Jan 2010)
"There are fewer playgroups (here). In London we were spoiled for choice. Even the local libraries would hold singing and nursery rhyme sessions for very young children, whereas here the majority of libraries only open in the afternoons and the storytelling is aimed at older children." (AC, July 2009)
"I am impressed with the quality of hospitals here… but the patient care is very different to home i.e. stirrups, patient disempowerment, father not present for c-section, and limited input allowed by mothers into decisions impacting your baby. In Madrid, a private hospital is more affordable than in Australia…no gap fee. Testing during pregnancy was very thorough, it would appear more so than Australia. Fortunately as this was my third child I felt more in control of making my own decisions regarding breastfeeding etc…I didn’t need a lot of support for this." (KH, April 2009)
"Before having a child most of my friends were Spanish after having a child they were mostly English speaking foreigners because I was looking for a community who shared similar views on childrearing." (MM)
"Bring your child to see a dentist before he or she needs any work done so that it is not a scary or painful experience, rather they get to see the cool chair, tools etc. And unless there is a problem they only need to see a dentist about once a year." (NV, Aug 2009)
"During the birth it wasn’t a problem; there was no need to talk, or even think much, but just concentrate on doing the work I had to do. There was no need for spoken language. I felt well informed through my research and from the classes and well-supported by the midwife and so didn´t need to worry and could leave my body to instinctively do what I needed to do." (Vivienne, Nov 2008)
"When we were pregnant with our second child, my partner suggested a home birth – birth seemed so straight forward with a full term baby! That experience was very special so a home birth again for the third child seemed the obvious choice. Of course we hadn’t anticipated how unusual home birth is in Spain! Having heard a lot of scary stories about the level of medical intervention during birth here, we searched around and finally found an obstetrician and midwife team who were experienced and passionate about natural birth and particularly home birth." (Kirsty, Jan 2010)
"I have lots of friends who’s birth stories feature stirrups, doctors jumping on their tummies, the baby vanishing for hours straight after the birth only to be returned covered in cologne etc and I’m so grateful I didn’t have to go through any of it." (JD, Sept 2009)
"When I first moved here, it was difficult for me to meet people, but I found that being pregnant and having children gave my neighbors and I something to chat about and it opened up a whole new social life for me, both within the ex-pat community as well as with Spaniards. Also, I make it a habit to frequent the same book shops, bakeries and cafés. It makes me feel like I’m a part of the community." (JM, Oct 2009)
"The only things I have really missed are Organic and Free-From Products, which seem to be scarce in Spain. Soya products are readily available but I struggle to find any variety. Last week we discovered Baby Deli in Lagasca (thanks to Diana hosting Cristina’s party there) and I was in heaven; I shopped like a demon and left with lots of Organix treats and the fabulous veggie smoothies from Ella’s Kitchen as well as the only Bubble Bath that I’ll allow near the children’s skin!" (LM, March 2010)
Corinne just relocated to Madrid from Brussels at the end of 2013. German, she grew up in France and Spain is now the fifth country she has been living in. Passionate about color and interior design she founded Emerald Green Interiors in 2010 and offers interior design services with the focus on color consulting. She works with the major fabric companies and understands her client’s individuality when creating or redesigning a space with them. In parallel to the work for her own company she has worked as a home color consultant for the British paint brand Farrow & Ball in Brussels. She speaks fluent English, French and German.
"My company Pequepegas.com is a company whose aim from the beginning was to help some of the youth of Spain. All the designs, including all the designs for the actual website, have been created by young designers who are very talented but have little opportunity, if any, to demonstrate their talent. We are very proud of their creativity, talent and passion." (LA, May 2014)