First Person | Zhang Ting
My name is Zhang Ting, and I gave birth to my child in Los Angeles two years ago. Most of the Chinese women who travel to LA to give birth stay in local maternity care centers, which include services from maternity nurses, who care for mothers and newborn babies. Usually one maternity nurse is responsible for one mother and her child, or perhaps two.
Such facilities are ubiquitous and inexpensive. It would be unusual for a pregnant woman to bring a maternity nurse from China to LA.
I paid roughly 120,000 yuan ($18,000) to the center for the service, which includes food, accommodation and pickup service for antenatal examinations for two months before delivery and one month after.
In addition, I paid $200 in tips to the maternity nurse every week.
The price is no higher than in Shanghai, where a reliable facility costs nearly 100,000 yuan for a month"s stay after delivery.
Some of the maternity nurses here hold tourist visas valid for up to six months and they work as long as they can before returning to China because they can earn more in the US.
Others stay in the country illegally.
The maternity nurse working for me was from Northeast China and has been working as a maternity nurse in LA for 10 years. She abandoned her family and flew to the US with a tourist visa when she was in her early 40s.
She works at local maternity care centers, or for Chinese families taking care of their newborns or young children in their homes if they offer a higher salary. She said she didn"t have a home, only a suitcase.
She didn"t care that she was living in the US illegally, all she wants to do is earn money until she reaches the age of 60, and then return to her hometown.
(China Daily 10/03/2017 page8)