“You should have a baby boy”

In February 2014, one of my former co-workers who just had a baby girl stops me in my tracks: “Let me see your belly.” After looking at it, she concludes: “It’s really big. You’re wearing quite sexy clothes. You should wear more layers.” She says that on a sunny day with 21°C that reminds me […]

“Will your mother come here when you give birth?”

I’m at the grocery store. When I’m done with choosing the groceries I want to buy, I find a corner with massage chairs where I can sit down and wait for my husband (he went to another store and is the one carrying the backpack to store our groceries in). After a short while, an […]

Men not allowed to enter

One day in mid-November 2013 my husband and I go to a women’s and children’s hospital. We haven’t been to this hospital before, but after having been sent to do a blood sample every third day, we have decided to change the hospital and this one was recommended to us by a coworker. It’s time […]

“Who takes care of the kids?”

I have lunch with my new coworker, a woman in her mid-to-late 30s who has a 2-year-old son. She asks me: “Who takes care of young kids in Austria? In China, it’s often the grandparents who look after the kids, but what is it like in Austria, with people all working?” I: “It’s often the […]

“How much does it cost to have a second child in Shenzhen?”

Me and my coworkers take a cab. One of them recently became a father for a second time. The driver asks him: “How much does it cost to have a second child in Shenzhen?” Coworker: “220,000 Chinese Yuan (around 27,000 EUR or 40,000 USD).” Driver: “Wow, that’s a considerable sum for a hukou*. We registered […]