I had the chance – when I was on exchange in Helsinki, Finland last year – to interview a Finnish couple about the country’s maternity package, given to expectant and adoptive couples. Besides looking through the items in the package, I spoke to mother-to-be Heidi Laine and her common-law husband Mika Tuuri about the neuvola system in Finland.
Read “A Baby And A Box“, and here’s a short excerpt:
The changing room after a swimming lesson for infants, a friend of mother-to-be Heidi Laine reckons, is the scene that best represents Finland’s welfare system. As months-old babies wade one final lap their mothers bring them to shower and dry at the changing room, where the babies are dressed: the same tights, the same shirts and leggings, the same pair of mittens and socks, as well as the same suit. Every infant looks identical with common outfits.
Even around town, especially during winter, new-borns don the same kind of clothes.
These common items come from Finland’s maternity package, given to its expectant and adoptive couples. The one-of-its-kind box is a standard gift granted by Kela, the government agency responsible for social security programmes, via the Finnish Maternity Grants Act. 154 days after the pregnancy an application can be made, and a card from the local post office would then be sent to the family for the package to be picked up.