I’ve had a baby before…but this will be my first time going through a significant portion of my pregnancy as well as labor and delivery during a deployment. Oh not to mention simultaneously raising a toddler. Then parenting both kids until he gets back. What could I possibly have to worry about right? hahaha
Let me say that I don’t in any way think this experience makes me unique. There are so very many women who have gone through pregnancy and child birth during a spouse’s deployment. There will be many many more. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a scary thing to think about. It doesn’t mean I (and the many others in my shoes) am not justified in having so many mixed emotions and thoughts about this pregnancy.
So I might not be unique. But I wanted to share my experience in the hopes that it can be a reassurance to someone else.
Thoughts and fears on pregnancy and having a baby during a deployment.
I don’t want this to be read as negative. This baby is very loved already. And yes. We are adults and we knew this was a likely scenario. So I am not playing a victim. But I want to voice my fears and thoughts because I am sure there are some of you reading this who can relate. Plus it might be fun to look back at after my husband gets home to see how reality compared to my fears! Pregnancy and deployment fears vs reality anyone?
I am sad about all he will miss…and all we will miss as a family.
This was one of the first things to hit me after I found out I was pregnant. First I was so so excited. Then I did the math and started thinking about all the things my husband wouldn’t be around to experience with me. I am fortunate that he was able to be there for most of my pregnancy with Oliver and when he was born. This time my husband won’t be here to feel the baby kicking. He won’t be there to drive me to the hospital. I will probably only be sharing the moment with my toddler when this baby rolls over or sits up unassisted for the first time.
It’s a lot to think about and process. I find myself going back through the pictures from Oliver’s first year of life and trying to guess which milestones my husband will make it back for. And that sucks.
I am terrified of having a newborn and a toddler by myself.
My mom is amazing and is planning to come help for a while. My friends are amazing and I know they will support me. But at the end of the day it will eventually just be me and two kids for a significant period of time.
This is my second baby so I know exactly what happens those first few weeks/months. The waking up every couple hours to feed the baby. Or the nights when the baby just won’t go back to sleep and screams and screams so you end up trading off with your spouse trying to console this infant that just won’t stop. Only this time I won’t have a spouse to trade off with. It’s just me.
I remember how tired I was with Oliver. The mind numbing exhaustion. Now I think ahead to try to fathom how I am going to do that by myself…plus raise a toddler.
My husband missing the third trimester of pregnancy due to deployment might actually be good for our marriage…
This is obviously a joke. Mostly. Because let’s be honest, most women are not exactly the nicest they have ever been when they are in the third trimester. And what good mood I personally start with tends to deteriorate rapidly around Week 38. So while I will of course miss my husband and would much much rather have him here, this is a thought I keep in the back of my mind to cheer myself up. I can’t say mean things to my husband (at least not as easily and in the moment) if he isn’t here!
I’m already brainstorming ways to help my husband feel involved in this baby’s life
One of my biggest concerns is what I can do to help my husband feel involved in my pregnancy during his deployment. Allowing him to start building a relationship with this baby before he gets home is very important to me. I am thankful for things like FaceTime and it gives me some reassurance.
To be totally honest, there are times when I feel guilty for worrying about having all this time by myself with the kids when he won’t get any time with them at all for so long.
Will my husband find out via Red Cross message that our baby was born?
I hope Charlie will be in a position where he is able to FaceTime when I have the baby. That is the best case scenario. Even if he could text it would be ok. But I worry that they will be out and about doing things and I will have to let my husband know via Red Cross message that our baby was born. Then I wonder if I should even do that or if it is better to wait until he is back reachable. I would hate to disrupt what they are doing and take his concentration away with the news. Add the possibility of that decision to the list of things I certainly never pictured for my future when I was growing up!
This is admittedly a shorter list than the actual litany of mundane thoughts, worries, fears and frustrations that run through my head on a daily basis. The logistics alone of having a baby without your spouse around are just mind numbing some days. There is the actual trip to the hospital, getting home, care for the toddler, care for the dog. Lord help me if anything goes not according to plan and I am in the hospital longer than anticipated.
Pregnancy alone can be scary. Pregnancy during a deployment is a lot to think about.
But more than anything, I know it can be done because so many amazing women have already done it. My concerns are valid. But at the end of the day I rest in the knowledge that things have a way of working out.
I have amazing friends and family who I know I can lean on.
To the women who have had a baby without their spouse, what was your biggest fear? And what is your biggest advice?