"The prenatal care was good ( private) and average ( state). I experienced both. Hospital care again excellent but total absence of choices for pain relief during labour which I found very upsetting. In fact I deliberately chose a different hospital for the 2nd one where epidural was available. Italy advocates natural birth and just leave you to get on with it." (SS, March 2014)
What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Italy?
Susan , I’m almost 43, have been here permanently since 2005
Whereabouts in Italy do you live and how do you find living there?
Live in small village near Como, near Swiss border….
What nationality are you and your partner?
I am British my partner is Italian
How many children do you have and what are their names and ages?
Two boys, 4 and 3.
Do you work and if so what to you do?
Work fulltime as Marketing / PR manager in Switzerland
If relevant what was your experience of having a baby in Italy?
The prenatal care was good ( private) and average ( state). I experienced both. Hospital care again excellent but total absence of choices for pain relief during labour which I found very upsetting. In fact I deliberately chose a different hospital for the 2nd one where epidural was available. Italy advocates natural birth and just leave you to get on with it.
How well integrated would you say you and your children are?
What language do you speak to your children?
English always, Italian in front of non- English speakers
What is your impression of childcare and education in Italy so far?
Excellent. Private nursery care from 4 months old was exceptional and not expensive. Scuola maternal form 2 years old very good. Heavy Catholic stance in the school but this is a bonus even though I am not religious. Nuns take classes alongside regular teachers. You do have the choice to opt out of religious lessons though.
What school do your children go to?
Scuola Materna in local village
Where you live, how good are the facilities for children (shops, restaurants, activities etc)?
Live in a village. Local facilities limited, no groups one toddler type play centre, and one soft play centre. IN fact pretty limited. Nothing like the UK. WE usually got to parks and sports centres with kiddies activities. A big disadvantage is there are no pavements so walking around can be limiting.
What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in Italy?
Advantages- the children are bilingual. If you live in a rural situation, life is very calm and easy for the children. They play outside the house in the street, a carefree and safe way. I wouldn’t let them do that in the Uk. There is less fear here and the neighborhood community is very strong. They have a broader outlook on life having the opportunity of two cultural backgrounds. Disadvantages-….. distance from Uk relatives and friends. It can be isolating especially when they are small. Also Italians are quite insular and it is hard to make real friends. You are always seen as a ‘ foreigner’- even after years here.
Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives in Italy?
Toddler focused free activities.
What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Italy with children?
Check out what the hospital offers by way of pain relief and if it’s free/ on request. Book place in nursery or Scuola maternal early. Have the baby in the UK then come to Italy after. The pediatrician system is excellent. They are assigned their own pediatrician from birth and see the same DR til they are 15. That is real plus.
(SS, March 2014)