Being a first-time parent is a roller coaster of emotions ranging from the excitement of nurturing a family to the general anxiety of “doing it right.” In collaboration with Saraya, a leading manufacturer of baby care products in Japan, Tokyo Weekender is introducing and inviting six new and expecting parents to talk about their experiences being pregnant, giving birth and being a parent as a foreign resident of Japan. You can read our previous two interviews here and here.
Marion Gouilly has been in Japan for just about five years, and works in human resources for an American bank, though she has been on leave for a few months already, taking care of her newborn daughter. At the time we met with Gouilly in her home in West Tokyo, she was already getting ready to get back to work the following week.
Like most new moms in 2022, Gouilly spent most of her pregnancy at home. “I worked from home all the time, so it was very convenient.”
Celebrating Natural Births
Aligning with her values of keeping things as natural as possible, Gouilly opted for a more unorthodox but not uncommon option when it came to planning her birth. When talking about the differences between giving birth in her home country of France and giving birth in Japan, she mentions Japan is not as insistent on administering epidurals for example. “Unless, of course, that’s what you want,” says Gouilly.
But in general, she found it to be less medicalized in Japan. “It’s more natural, in a sense. Especially for french people, specifically French women, it’s definitely something we are looking for.”
Gouilly goes on to explain that in France, you don’t have many options when it comes to just how you want to give birth. And the difference lies in the little things. “For example [in Japan] you can eat. When I was in the delivery room, the nurse came to check up on me and asked if I wanted to eat.” she continues. “In France, it would be very difficult to find something like this.”
“I gave birth in a tatami room,” says Gouilly. At this clinic, she continues, she could do whatever she wanted to make her feel comfortable, including bringing her own music. “I had dimmed lights, and there was a bath if I wanted to take a bath to relax during the delivery,” she says.
But the most defining aspect of this unorthodox location was the ample choices. “You can do whatever you want, so it’s up to you to know how you want to deliver your baby,” she continues. “There’s a futon, and a beanbag you can lay on. It was really great.”
arau.baby’s Laundry Soap
New parents are never prepared enough for the loads of laundry that await them after bringing their newborns home. arau.baby’s Laundry soap is made without synthetic surfactant, bleach or fragrance, and leaves clothes clean with only a light, natural scent.
Gouilly talked highly of the arau.baby Laundry range, especially as with a newborn as there is lots and lots of laundry to do. Before trying arau.baby, Gouilly ordered a lot of her products online, which were often more expensive. She was happy to discover arau.baby, as it is one of the few Japanese brands that offer a more natural alternative to harsh laundry detergents.