Military Moms: Being Pregnant During His DeploymentKatlyn Joy |31, December 2013
Babies have their own timing, from positive pregnancy test to labor. Military moms can face unique challenges in handling their pregnancy while their husbands are away. Of course the situation is not ideal, but there are ways to make things easier.
Become the family historian. It's so important for all of you, but most of all your husband, to record every bit of the pregnancy. Keep items like all doctor's instructions, keep a calendar with little easy notations such as:
- "I went to the doctor -- heard baby's heartbeat!"
- "Still coping with morning sickness! Yuck!"
- "I felt baby kick today."
It's the busy mom's journal. However, you should keep a pregnancy journal as well. In your journal, you may not make daily notations such as with the calendar, but keep other longer entries regularly. Any big day in the pregnancy should be recorded, but also special sections such as a letter to the baby, notes on what is happening in the world while baby is growing, entries on a description of your home and another on the family tree. If Dad will be missing your baby's birth, grab everything that isn't nailed down to share with him. Recreate as much of the event as possible for him.
Stay busy. Don't allow yourself to mope but instead stay active. Read pregnancy books and write to your husband, even if you know he can't read the letters until later. Take pregnancy classes and learn infant CPR. Watch movies, see friends and if you are too antsy, take up a new hobby. Knitting and crocheting are popular now!
Have a strong support system. This can be made up of other military moms who are near you or far, using the internet. Family members and other friends can be invaluable resources for support. Choose someone to go to childbirth classes with you and be your labor partner if you know your husband won't be there, or as a back up even if you think he will. Rely on these supportive people to go with you to appointments, help you prepare a nursery and buying baby gear.
Involve your husband in everything you possibly can. Can he do video chats? If so, take advantage of these to share all things baby. Don't leave him out! Is he able to receive letters? Write him as much as humanly possible, until your hand is cramped. Send him daddy packages, including mementoes of anything baby-related such as DVD's or photos of your sonograms, pictures of your blossoming belly, and a drawing of your plan for the nursery. Don't make decisions without his input whenever possible. Does he want to put the crib in the bedroom at first, or set up the nursery? Does he want puppies or teddy bears as the nursery's theme? Send him a list of names you like and ask him to add and subtract to it. Send the list back and forth and save the final version for your journal.
Avoid making him feel guilty. He doesn't want to miss this special time at all! Don't make him feel any worse by venting about how hard things are for you. Do that with your girlfriends, not your man. Show your positive strength and share how much you miss him, and all the things you can't wait to share with him when he gets home.
Be strong, but not overly independent of him. Don't leave him out of big decisions, and definitely don't make the major new mom mistake of nudging dad out of the way because he doesn't know what to do. Let him find his own way of parenting your new baby when he gets home too. Dads have their own unique gifts as parents. You know that a cry might mean your baby has a dirty diaper; he will learn it too if you give him a chance.
Focus on the goal. A complete, healthy and united family. That day will come and by focusing on that happy reality, the present troubles will seem less dire. He will not be away forever, you will not be alone forever, and your baby will be here soon, and so will your husband!
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