'I'd just moved overseas with no job and no insurance. Then I realised my period was late.'

I sat there in the cold plastic chair feeling nervous because I hate getting my blood taken. I also felt emotional because well, I'm emotional at the best of times let alone finding out you're pregnant in a foreign country with no job and no health insurance - surely that would make anyone feel a little less than pulled together.

The nurse called my name, and we went into a cold, open room with a bunch of other strangers getting their blood taken. There was no courtesy curtain, no privacy, totally exposed. It was precisely at that moment I thought - we can't have this baby here. I had no job or health insurance, and this moment tipped me over the edge - or maybe it was the calamity of events that led to that moment.

First, let me back up a little. It's a post-COVID world and in hindsight, moving countries was maybe a little rash. A holiday probably would have scratched that itch but hey why not sell all your belongings and use your dwindling savings to move to another country? We (my partner Ryley and I) are nothing if not spontaneous, adventurous, and ,some might say, impulsive - but when we're 80 telling our grandkids about our wild escapades, it'll be totally worth it.

Watch: Mamamia's hot tips for your next vacation. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

So we moved to Canada. First Montreal because the idea of immersing ourselves in the culture to "learn French" seemed like a good one. If you know Montreal, you'll be rolling your eyes (in French, because you know, French first). If you don't… well, it's VERY French. We stuck it out for three weeks before we decided we'd make the move to Vancouver, maybe we'd be more inclined to hike mountains than try learning a new language.


Vancouver is beautiful, if a little rough around the edges in some parts. It was also very difficult to get a job there. I spent the first few months applying to every job I could possibly apply to; I had interview after interview and finally, something came through… a position at a small digital agency in Calgary, I know what you're thinking and no, don't worry we didn't move again. Everything seemed to be finally falling into place. Christmas rolled around and after a few glasses of bubbles I said to my partner, "We should have a baby".

I pointed at our boots by the front door: "Imagine a mini pair of Blundstones right here. How cute!".

We immediately started trying, I figured I'm 35… this was probably going to take a while.

My time at the agency was short-lived. Five months in, they announced they were cutting costs and my job was one of the things to go. 

After that call came a wave of dread. I was going to have go through the job hunt all over again. Luckily, I'd picked up a few shifts at the Pilates studio down the road, but no amount of glute bridges would cover the cost of our extortionate rent, so back to the job boards I went. 

I got pretty far down the line with one big company: six rounds of interviews later I was still waiting to hear if I'd been the chosen one... bearing in mind this was two months since I'd hit apply on the LinkedIn post. I went in for the final interview and it went well; I got a good vibe from the people and felt confident that this could be the one.


The same week I had the final job interview, I got this funny feeling, something was different. I checked my period app and realised I was three days late. I raced to the drugstore to get a pregnancy test, and a mere few minutes later, there were two faint blue lines. OMG!

Samantha confirmed her pregnancy by taking a pregnancy test. Image: Supplied.

I waited for Ryley to get home to tell him the good news; we were obviously over the moon! We'd only been trying for a few months and things had happened much quicker than we'd expected. 


Samantha starts her pregnancy journey. Image: Supplied.

There were about 72 hours when we considered having the baby in Canada. At first we thought maybe it would be covered by our travel insurance - it wasn't. Then we considered that it might not be that expensive. It was! $30,000 Canadian out of pocket with a 50 per cent deposit upfront and that was just to have the baby!

My part-time Pilates class wasn't going to fund that! Maybe I'd get the job I'd applied for, along with health benefits, and they wouldn't mind me going on maternity leave.

In the meantime, we had the usual doctor's appointments - at $100 CAD a pop, mind you. On our way to the clinic to get bloodwork done we walked past a guy smoking crack. We passed the security guard at the elevator and joined the line of patients that was out the door with an old man who was so close behind me I could feel his breath on the back of my head. There I was sitting in that cold plastic chair, staring out at all the faces of every other person getting their blood taken, which felt a little too vampiric for my liking. I couldn't have this baby here - I wanted to go home.


Not once did I read any "moving to Canada - what you need to know" articles that mentioned when you arrive to apply for public healthcare, it's free and you'll be covered should anything happen (you know, just like Medicare). Why didn't we know this - it should be on the top of the list! Who cares if the milk comes in bags or where to get the best poutine? It was too late for us, so we booked our flight home the next day. I spent our last few weeks in the Great White North packing up and selling all of our belongings again on Facebook marketplace.

I've never been happier to set foot in an Australian hospital. We went through the public system and I couldn't shout any louder how amazing it was. The hospital was clean; the staff were professional; I had continuity of care and everything was covered by Medicare. Thank god because babies are expensive! And, I never had to stare into the eyes of another patient getting their blood drawn ever again. So here's to the public health system. Look Canada is great and I miss it all the time, but the healthcare here in Australia deserves a very loud round of applause.

Want to read more stories like this? Here are our top suggestions:

Feature image: Supplied.

Do love easy and simple skincare? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.