Posted by: thelocaldialect | November 13, 2009


I finished up my last class yesterday and am officially on maternity leave, although I still have some loose ends to tie up with my school, mostly concerning my maternity package. This was a tricky situation since obviously my contract, like most foreign teacher contracts, did not include anything about maternity coverage. They were sort of playing it by ear, as was I. When I had my son 2 years ago I was still running my own school in Kunming, and as director, had a lot of control over the situation. Needless to say, I don’t call the shots here in Beijing! However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what the school has offered me. While it certainly doesn’t compare with the maternity packages that you’d get in Europe, or even in America, it is certainly better than nothing.

The biggest nice surprise is that my school will pay for my hospital fees, which will help a lot. As I’d mentioned before, fees here in Beijing are a lot higher than they were in Kunming. I’ll be giving birth at a top Chinese public hospital, and so we won’t be facing massive fees of an expat hospital or a private hospital, but the place still isn’t cheap. Knowing the school will be helping out is a big relief.

Otherwise, I am glad to finally be able to take it easy. The weather has gotten colder here and we’ve had 3 good snows already and it isn’t even halfway through November, so staying inside as much as possible is looking quite attractive. I still have about 2 and a half more weeks before my due date, but I’m not holding my breath for this baby to come soon. My son was 12 days past due, so if the first baby sets the precedent, this baby won’t be here till December. My parents and younger brother will be arriving in mid-December though, so I am hoping that by the time they get here the baby will have been here for a week or so at least, because I don’t want to spend their entire visit in Chinese confinement (zuo yuezi). Actually I have talked with my husband about possibly not doing the confinement this time, because what with my parents visit and all I just don’t feel like it will be all that realistic. He seemed much more open to the idea this time around. Last time I actually sort of enjoyed the month of seclusion, but having done it once, I don’t feel a huge need to do it again.

In any event, by this time next month we’ll definitely be a family of four rather than a family of three, and that is pretty exciting in and of itself. Let the countdown begin!


  1. So close – you guys must be getting quite excited! What does you son think of all of this?

  2. YAY for maternity leave starting! You are amazing for working so close to your due date- I doubt I could of done it.

    Also great news that the school is helping with your hospital payments- must be a huge relief. We get the equivalent to the baby bonus here in Japan (we call it a baby bonus in Australia- cash payment after birth) which will help replenish our savings a little since we used a lot of them to pay the hospital before I was 20 weeks. Definitely more expensive here than in Australia though…do you have a baby bonus in China?? I don`t think I have heard of it before…

    Hope your last couple of pregnant weeks go well. Race you to the finishing line 🙂 I am sure your bub will arrive first! I think Goma-chan is quite happy to stay inside for now. Would be funny if they ended up been born the same day!

  3. Congrats on finishing up and good luck with the birth. Glad that the school is paying hospital fees and giving you some mat leave.

  4. Been thinking about you, Jess — hope the labor goes smoothly, and that #2 comes on time!

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