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Swimming Lessons in Delft: A refresher post

A hot topic on any school yard. When, where, how…waiting lists…. A challenge for any parent, but for our international DelftMaMa parents it must be a nightmare I can imagine. I’m Marjolijn, voluntary swimming instructor at swimming club d’ELFT and mother of 2 boys. Because I know how challenging living abroad can be, I am a member of DelftMaMa. Since I joined DelftMaMa, questions on swimming lessons came by on a regular basis and I replied multiple times; hence time to write it down in a blog.

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Nina Bogerd: The remaking of my professional career and life in the Netherlands

Or, how I walked away from the dissatisfaction of a career as a researcher and  lecturer towards my  dream career  as a doula and  childbirth educator

By Dr. Nina Bogerd

My Early Days

In my youth in Slovenia and later on when living in Switzerland, I had always aspired to become a lecturer and researcher working at university. I was passionate about sharing my knowledge, inspiring students and guiding them towards finishing their studies. Seeing them graduate gave me immense satisfaction. It was my biggest reward and reassurance that I was good at my job and I was giving something back to the community/ society.

My Life in Limbo

However in a family, the priorities of our partners need to be considered too. I am sure this feeling resonates strongly within all of us.  All of us have had to adjust, at one time or another, so our family can function at any time, any place. So I tagged along with my husband’s professional career and seven years ago, I found myself in Delft with my 2 year old son and being pregnant with another one. I found myself a “typical highly educated expat wife” struggling to make a home whilst navigating a new culture away from friends and family. The flat Dutch landscape and gray, rainy weather made me homesick for the mountains and sunny skies of Slovenia.

The boys not only spiced up my life, their presence shifted my priorities from my career towards motherhood. I ended up juggling the need to grow in my career, spending enough time with my family and making an impact in the lives of refugees. Despite organizing our family lives efficiently, nothing seemed good enough to me. At the end of the day I was left exhausted and unsatisfied. Specifically, the volunteer work in the refugee camps forced me question the positive impact that my knowledge has on our society. Let’s face it, to see children fighting for food even when you want turn a blind eye makes you question yourself, “Does my way of life truly benefit anyone?” My answer was “NO”. Ahh!! That was my moment of truth. I decided to give my life a new meaning.

Despite organizing our family lives efficiently, nothing seemed good enough to me.
At the end of the day I was left exhausted and unsatisfied.

Finding My Way

I looked for career coaches who specialize in working with highly educated expats. I found my match in Magali from UDiverse. In her, I found a combination of a direct work approach while understanding the importance of my emotions such as compassion. During the first few sessions we formed a clear vision of  my dream career and defined the path forward. Looking back, there was one simple exercise that stood out and made a striking impact on me. “Without thinking while being aware that anything is possible, note down your dream careers”. Interestingly, only one vision was related to my past career. All the rest involved providing emotional, educational, physical and material support for women before, during and after giving birth . These included foreign women and their partners in the Netherlands as well as refugee women in refugee camps.

However, how do you leave 15 years of an international academic career? As odd as it might sound, I mourned. I sent an email to three key people who had propelled my  career towards my last position at TU Delft and consciously bid gratitude and farewell. From envisioning my dream career we transitioned to defining what profession would embody such a career. The answer was clear: doula and childbirth educator for expats. I enrolled for a certification as a doula at InBloei Doula in Rotterdam. At the same time I started training to become a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator – The Mongan Method.

Only one vision was related to my past career. All the rest involved providing emotional, educational, physical and material support for women before, during and after giving birth.
These included foreign women and their partners in the Netherlands
as well as refugee women in the refugee camps.  

Starting Anew

Within 6 months of working with Magali the career coach, I formed Birth My Way –  Doula and Birth Education for Expats. At Birth My Way we provide emotional, educational and physical support to expat mothers and their partners during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Why do we excel at it? Because we take the time out for you to passionately dive into your particular situation. We understand of how emotionally challenging it might be when you are expecting a new family member away from your family, friends and familiar health care system. Knowing your situation in depth, your cultural background and emotional needs we tailor our doula support for you, so you birth with calm, confidence and joy. Our ultimate goal is to create beautiful birthing memories that will empower you for life.As the name suggest, you can expect nothing but non-judgmental support to the way you want to birth. Through Birth Your Way in collaboration with DelftMaMa, I continue my philanthropic efforts by providing pro-bono support to refugee women and their babies residing in Delft.

Rebuilding my professional career has brought back passion to my career and sweetness to my life. My days are now filled with enthusiasm of supporting my clients. Visiting or talking to them when they need me, day or night. Supporting them through their birthing journey and visiting them afterwards. Spending weekends giving individual or group birth preparation courses. Nevertheless, these long hours are filled with gratitude and happiness.  I have created a job that is rather a way of life that I am passionate about. If you ever find yourself unhappy, drained with your professional career do not hesitate to take the leap into the unknown. It will lead you to the most beautiful destinations. I can vouch for it!

If you ever find yourself unhappy, drained with your professional career
do not hesitate to take that leap into the unknown.
It will lead you to the most beautiful destinations.

About Nina

Born in Slovenia, Dr. Nina Bogerd lived and worked in Switzerland before moving to the Netherlands. She now lives in the Delft area with her sons, Neo and Njal, and her husband Niels. Nina has a curious mind and a compassionate heart. She is an outdoor enthusiast and philanthropist. Nina’s scientific research background is in physiotherapy, physiology and human movement science. She is the owner of Birth Your Way where she provides doula and birth education for expats. Visit her webpage to gain more information on how she can support you and your partner through pregnancy, birth and beyond in the Netherlands.



Delftian Entrepreneurs: Eva Amaral of Multipaths Coaching

Uprooting your life and moving abroad is often an isolating and all-consuming experience, no matter how many times you may have done it before. The highs are high, but the lows are sometimes lower than you could have ever fathomed. 

Change is the only constant, as the trite cliche goes, but when life throws changes at you left and right, there’s little comfort to be found in dusty old cliches. That’s where I found myself before my conversation with Eva Amaral – weary and a tad emotionally disheveled after yet another move. Albeit, this time it was within the Netherlands, but far enough from Delft to register as a move away from “home.” 

Little did I know that an interview in which I was supposed to be finding out about Eva’s coaching business was just what I needed to go back to the core of what I want. Because that’s what Eva does, with warmth, honesty and a gentle nudge – she helps her clients make sense of their values in the midst of topsy-turvy lives.

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Delftian Entrepreneur: Gemma Rubio of Define The Fine

Next in our Delftian entrepreneur series, Delft MaMa Natalia Moreno sat down with Gemma Rubio, the energetic entrepreneur behind Define The Fine. Join us as Gemma talks about her business and how she strives for a healthy work-family balance, especially as a single mother.

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Unity in Diversity: A Fresh Voice In Refugee Work

Increasing numbers of refugees entering the EU has sparked debates about helping them to successfully resettle into their new communities. Last year, Delft Mama Julia Candy interviewed some refugee families about their integration and how other Mamas could help on a more individual basis. Join us as Delft Mama Hagar Taha provides an overview of some organizations that serve refugees. She also shares an interview with the head of one such organization, Unity in Diversity.

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Deciding to stop having more children: A parenting story

Welcome to the first blog post after the summer hiatus! Caroline Kappers brings us a thought-provoking piece about choosing to have, not have, or stop having, children. Each couple’s choice is an extremely personal one, and I thank Caroline for being open about their choice. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and happy reading. We look forward to hearing from you about this topic in the comments!

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Soft Landing in Delft (SLiDe) Programme

Agashnee Bodos stepped in as coordinator of Delft MaMa’s revamped SLiDe programme earlier this year. SLiDe, short for “Soft Landing in Delft”,  was originally designed to provide mentorship for newcomers to Delft in order to ease their transition. We’ve asked Agashnee to explain a bit about the revamped programme, what she expects to see in the future, and how you can help.

At the moment Agashnee is on maternity leave with her first child. We wish her all the best, and look forward to her return later in the year.

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How to reduce, reuse and recycle in Delft

Afval. Rubbish. Garbage. Trash. Whatever you call it, it’s a dirty business and one that everyone is confronted with on a daily basis. But when you start a family, concerns you might have had about the volume of waste you generate may as well go out with the trash.  The decision to go forth and multiply seems to correlate to a mushrooming of “stuff”–much of it necessary, some of it not. Over time, many of these new acquisitions need to be disposed of. Toys, nappies, baby clothes: out they go!

The question is: does it have to be this way? With this post, I want to get to the bottom of recycling in Delft but also gather ideas on how we might reduce the amount of waste we, as parents, generate in the first place; how we might reuse the things we have in our possession and recycle those that we really don’t need any more.  Brain dump your waste-avoidance ideas in the comments section below!

by Julia Candy

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Maintaining a social life with kids

Does developing a social life with young kids sound like a pipe dream? You’re not alone. Delft MaMa Gaelle Fourcade shares her experience with slowly developing a thriving social life while coping with everyone’s busy schedule. Throughout her account are some useful tips for those of us struggling to develop a healthy social life.

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