Pregnant and Married to the Military? Survival Tips for the Real Army Wives!
I love Lifetime’s “Army Wives.” On the hit show, all of the spouses—Claudia Joy, Denise, Roxy, Pamela and Roland— at some point or another have to roll with the punches and make the best of the situations and circumstances that come with being married to the military.
I spent over a year spending time with military families while researching my most recent book, The Mocha Manual to Military Life--A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends and Female Service Members (Amistad/HarperCollins). I was amazed and inspired by the women who hold it down while their men serve this country.
One thing that really struck me was that pregnancy is so very different military style. Deployments and PCS moves wait for nobody or no baby, even if your belly is expanding by the hour.
The father of your child could be deployed within a moment’s notice if Uncle Sam calls, and you have to be able to cope with that the usual ups and downs of pregnancy. Given the nine months of pregnancy and the high frequency of deployment, it is definitely more than likely that you’re going to spend some of your pregnancy alone.
Thankfully, technology allows your spouse to be actively involved in your pregnancy even from a distance. Newer technology, like Skype, allows you to talk for free over the Internet and brings you just a click away from a chat or video conference with your hubby.
Here are some tips on how to deal with being pregnant when your man is depolyed:
1. Establish your own support circle: the support circle should be consistent and there for doctors’ visits and venting conversations.
2. Keep your hubby involved: find different ways like webcams, email and journaling to keep your husband in the know about the pregnancy and the baby. Some wives have used live webcams for the delivery!
3. Tape record his voice reading stories or talking about himself and play it for your belly or new baby. Have him make new tapes and send them to you.
4. At your next doctor's visit record the baby's heartbeat. If you're tech savvy you can even email the electronic file or just save it to a DVD and mail it.
5. Have a plan: create a labor and delivery plan well in advance so that you’re not trying to get things organized at the last minute—if your husband cannot be there for delivery, make sure you have a plan of notifying him when the first contractions begin!
6. Lastly, find ways to fill the time: you can join a club, go back to
school, learn a new hobby, etc… Whatever you do, make sure it’s
something you enjoy and that makes you feel happy—you may need that boost every now and then.
Just like my fav spouses on “Army Wives,” you too need to find your crew while your husband is away; be open to meeting new people and learning how to build meaningful relationships in a shorter amount of time.