I’ve realised that I mention Dubai and pregnancy a lot in my posts but I’ve never really explained the whole complication that we had to deal with being unmarried and pregnant in Dubai … tad of an awkward situation!
Me and my fiancé Pete had been together for less than a month, I’m going to say around 3 weeks, when we found out that we were having a baby. We’d been friends for almost a year, so he wasn’t just some random guy I picked up in a bar, but regardless, it was a new relationship. I know everyone says they knew they loved someone straight away, and as much as my pre-pregnancy self would love to laugh at the new hormonal and gushy me right now, I really did know! *sick bag at the ready*
So to set the scene, we were in Dubai, where in case you didn’t know, pregnancy out of marriage is a big no-no. I’m talking prison, deportation maybe even having the baby taken away from you kind of no-no! So when we found out that I was ‘up the duff’ although we were ecstatic, we also had some serious planning to do.
After my initial panic of ‘I need to fly home RIGHT NOW or never leave the apartment again!’, we decided that our best bet was to have a legal marriage ceremony before I started to show, stay in Dubai until we had tied up loose ends with work etc and then head back to the UK to start our family and plan a proper wedding with all of our family present a year or so later. Still feeling nervous, I got in touch with a friend, who had been in a pretty similar situation. She laid down these unofficial facts for me.
1- Go to a Western clinic – as long as you don’t give them any reason to believe that you aren’t married, they won’t have any reason to doubt it. I mean they are there to look after mummy and baby right? They aren’t there to grill you on your marital status after all. I’m not sure that the same can be said at an Arabic run clinic.
2- Make it legal – If you are planning on staying in Dubai for a while, get married before you start to show. The Church that my friend put me in touch with was fantastic. They even randomly discussed pregnancy and said that one bride was 9 months pregnant at the ceremony and gave birth the next day! They made it clear that they do not judge, and obviously would never contact the authorities, but would still would want to guide you on the error of your ways. Regardless I decided to keep it shtum and keep the figurative halo above my head!
3 – Finally, as long as you are married for at least 5 months of your pregnancy, you won’t actually face any negative repercussions. They date it back using your marriage certificate and baby’s birth certificate to check that your dates match up. This was reassuring, but I was still set on having the baby at home around my family, and away from the laws of Dubai.
Needless to say I felt more relieved. We booked the wedding for when I was around 2 months pregnant and planned to fly home when I was about 6 months. I wore a random ring on my wedding ring finger and used Pete’s surname when we went for our first appointment.
All was hunky-dory, that is except for the heat! Dubai summers reach 50 celcius, and with morning sickness and exhaustion (ok a bit dramatic I was just overly tired), I wanted out. Pete was ready to go home too so after all of the planning and worrying, we ended up cancelling the wedding and booking a last minute flight home.
Out of Dubai, and back on British soil I can go back to using my real name at the doctors, no more undercover spy for me, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the rain and cold of good old England!
Pregnancy plans are well under way and I can’t wait to keep updating you on my pregnancy journey!