My Baby was Bahn Here

Written by: Ingrid

 

Well, okay, not really bahn here (island speak for “born here”), but she’s been here on St. John since she was 2 months old. Her mother – me – is a controlling Virgo and first-time mom. I must say that after watching so many pregnancy/new mother/chick-flick movies, my ideas of what it means to be a mom are a bit on the commercial side. I have idealized motherhood and child-rearing in the context of a city – not an island – and there have been some rude awakenings. I’ll discuss (bitch about) a few…

 

Pediatricians

I see that there are other infants on St. John. There has actually been a bit of a baby boom of recent with little boys and girls popping out of island gyal’s canals all last year. Unfortunately, regardless of demand, there are no practicing pediatricians on island. BOOO! There are health care providers wandering under the domain of the all-encompassing Myrah Keaton Clinic, but I was frightened off at our last visit when the friendly nurse wanted to give my 3 month old daughter a vaccine made for 6 month olds.

*click for image credit

*click for image credit

So, being city-minded, I went to the internet and Googled “pediatrician in the US Virgin Islands”. After a few clicks and phone calls to the St. John health care providers listed, I was informed that while the doctors on staff do see children, they are not pediatricians and that I should instead contact the neighboring island of St. Thomas. This was not good news – St. Thomas is huge and it is either expensive to pay the $50 to barge your car over or a pain to take the “dollar safari taxi” over with an infant and mandatory stroller/diaper bag. Fortunately, I found a pretty feasible option (as if there were many) near the ferry terminal in Red Hook that would do, only to find out a few months later that the doctor we were seeing had started her own practice way in town and the distance necessitated further transportation than just a walk across the street from the ferry dock. I guess this means we should stop feeling so special and just go see the general doctor at the St. John clinic.

 

Childcare and Babysitters

Unfortunately, the nearest blood relative to my daughter and me is about 2,000 miles away, give or take a few hundred miles. So what’s a girl to do when she wants a little rendezvous with her he-for-me, you ask? Wait for the baby to fall asleep and speak sweet nothings very softly  in the living room for the 30-60 minutes she’s out.

*click for image credit

*click for image credit

Fortunately, I am staying at home with my daughter and her father is supporting us which means we don’t need a regular childcare provider. But out of curiosity, I’ve asked around anyway. Back in Wisconsin, there is a childcare provider on every corner along with a church, liquor store, and bar. I am used to knowing there are many places to bring your kids when you’ve got to play or work. Here in the islands, it is a different story. After several inquiries to neighbors and women I’ve run across holding infants, I have only been told of TWO places on island that provide childcare, both of which close at 5pm sharp. There are a few other loose arrangements I’ve heard of where woman are watching folks’ infants while the mothers work their 9-5. The only babysitting service I’ve seen costs somewhere around $20 an hour and is geared more towards villa services for the tourists here on vacation. I guess three’s not a crowd when there are no other options. “Me time” and a solo shower are overrated indulgences anyway, right?

While motherhood on a rock comes with its adjustments, there have been some major positives. There is nothing more breathtaking or serene than playing in the ocean that surrounds us, watching my baby laugh and taste the salt of the earth. Living here is beautiful and while we may not have a lot of conveniences and the pleasures of material wealth, we are surrounded by beautiful spirits both in the flesh and not. And that is priceless to both mother and child – pediatrician or not.

*click for image credit

*click for image credit

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3 thoughts on “My Baby was Bahn Here

  1. i love your blog……..i grew up in STT …almost bahn deh…..left in 81 and then moved back to STT in 2010 …got held up at gunpoint at my own apt ….among other “things” Your link is in my RSS feed……would love to talk to you sometime…..do you know Les Anderson, Megan Elliot, Kevin Smith or Alan Johnson …Also know the Gibneys and the Boulon’s ……..love your humor ……you have to have a huge sense of humor to be woman on da rock…..or rocks…
    terri

    • Hi Terri,

      Thank you for your note, glad you’re enjoying the site and can relate to the humor of it all! It’s been a little over 5 years since I’ve lived in St Thomas (I’m in Virgin Gorda now) so I don’t think I know the people you’ve mentioned. But I’m sure, like everyone here, they’d look familiar 😉

      Best to you,

      Chrissann

  2. Hi Ingrid! I loved this blog post I cracked up at the part about St. Thomas being huge! Lol. It sucks about the pediatrician. 🙁 But about the babysitting issue, do you have neighbors that you trust who absolutely your little one? Try that route. All the best to you and your fam. 🙂

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