This time we have interviewed with Yaz.
Please click here for the article in Japanese.
ー Tell us about yourselfI’m from Sao Luis, north of Brazil and I trained and worked as a lawyer back home. My overseas life started when I went to Switzerland to improve my French for a year. After finishing the French course, I didn’t want to go back to Brazil yet, so I went to London to improve my English and being half Irish, so it was easy for me to move to Europe. I worked as a Legal consultant for Oil and Gas industry in London, where I lived for 9 years. I used to travel at lot for work and for leisure, and when I was holidaying in Zanzibar, which is a very beautiful island off the coast of Tanzania, I met my husband who is German. When my husband got a position in Amsterdam, so we went. Once there, I worked as a headhunter in Finance and Legal area and then as a Commodities Trader. My two sons were born in Amsterdam. After giving my second son, I took the Doula training course. That was when my career changed completely. In 2016 I came to Bangkok as my husband got a position here and I currently work as a doula.
ーWhat made you to change your career?Well…Having kids changes everything, you know. Moving to other country brings some changes but more than that, when you have kids, your life changes. You have your family to take care of and you feel like spending time with your kids so you have to readjust everything. After giving birth to my second baby, I found it difficult to go back to the corporate world and the long hours. So, I rather wanted to support women going through the labor and birth process. I thought that having a corporate career is not the only thing and supporting women who go through this life change would be equally important. Once you have a baby, everything changes, even how you see your life changes. This job is fulfilling for me both professionally and personally and it’s also important that I can be financially independent.
ーSo, your own labor experience influenced your career. You said in your website that you gave birth in a houseboat. How was your giving birth experience like?I delivered my 1st baby in the houseboat. Amsterdam is a densely populated city, so a lot of people live in houseboats, which are sort of big house-like containers floating at the bank of the river or the canals, they are stable and have all the commodities. We rented it for the first 6 months and that’s why I delivered my baby there, with a midwife who came to us and a nurse, in the Dutch way. It is wonderful to give birth on your own space.
ーWhat do you like most about the Doula job?I like everything. The moment a woman gives birth is fantastic! Working with the parents during preparation is also good and I feel fulfilled when the couple realizes that all the preparation was useful. I also enjoy seeing them becoming confident in the process, even after the birth how they grow into parenthood. I would say I do this job from my heart and guts. I dedicate all my efforts to this job. It’s a natural fit for me. It’s like I found my true calling.
Not really. Not many people speak English here in Bangkok, but the language is not a problem at all. Thai people are kind and willing to help. I think Thailand is a service-oriented country, so they always try to make it comfortable for the foreigners like us to live here. But of course, at first, I found it difficult to do a job as a doula in a country where I live for the first time. But gradually I got to know people and encountered BAMBI (Bangkok Mothers and Babies International), which is an international parenthood group for multinational mothers. I also had an opportunity to participate in the community called Doula in Bangkok and I came to find how to live and work as a doula here. Although I don’t speak Thai very well now, I would like to brush up on my language skills and share my knowledge as a doula to Thai people in the future.
ーThat’s wonderful! But are there anything you find difficult? Language, for example?
ーHow do you maintain your work-life balance?The most important thing is to take care of myself. I have to be healthy both physically and mentally. The nature of my job requires me to be calm. I shouldn’t let my emotion surge up, especially when accompanying the mothers to be at childbirth. Even at home, I should be calm so, I sometimes go to hot springs and massage to relax. Once I’m off to work, for a birth, I don’t know what time I can come back home. Sometimes I work till 3am but I can come home and get some sleep so it’s ok. I can somehow make time for family so I would say that a good balance has been maintained.
ーYour husband is cooperative in terms of housework and child rearing?Yes, he is. As I mentioned, my work hours are irregular so my husband can do everything in terms of both housework and child rearing when I’m not home. I also raise my kids to be independent so they can handle many things by themselves. When I step a foot out of my house, my work mode turns on and I try to focus on “now”.
ーFocusing on what’s in front of you is important for working mothers who have multiple tasks in life, doesn’t it? Do you also have a helper?Yes, when I was in Amsterdam, I had a babysitter. Now in Bangkok, I have a part-time helper for 4-5 hours every day. She does cleaning and cooking and I really appreciate it.
ーI always think it’s a good idea for working mothers to get a help with the housework from someone because it will lighten our burden both physically and mentally. How do you spend your weekends?
I want to slow down a little bit on the weekends because we’re pretty busy working on weekdays. So, we enjoy family time on weekends. In Amsterdam, it rains at lot, so we used to do Cinema day with popcorns at home. Here in Bangkok, we go out to eat, go to the cinema, hang around the city, visiting bookstores or stationary stores because my kids like reading and drawing. We also like to travel whenever possible.
ーI can see that you’re balancing your career and your family well. Finally, what do you think is important to do in terms of career development while you’re away from your country and live your life as an expat wife?
I think it is important to focus on yourself first. You have to be happy doing what you like to do. You have to think about yourself and be happy in your career. Even if you’re following your husband for his assignment overseas, you have to think what you can do for yourself. If you’re happy, your family is happy.