Military deployments are challenging for everyone involved. But for military spouses, who are often charged with the responsibility of holding down the home front, deployments can be full of loneliness, anxiety and uncertainty.
In some circumstances, deployment can cause service members to miss out on important events: anniversaries, birthdays and even the birth of a baby. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to predict when a military member will be deployed.
Pregnant military spouses are forced to accept that their husbands will be away during the pregnancy, and perhaps, even during childbirth. During this time, it is important to develop a strategy and a plan for coping.
Just because you are without your husband doesn’t mean you should go through the pregnancy completely alone.
While your husband’s presence is irreplaceable, turning to a family member or close friend for support is a good idea.
According to Army OneSource, “Having a good friend to be a labor coach during the absence of a spouse provides a great comfort.”
Family members and close friends provide a support system that cares about you. Often, they can help soothe your anxiety and fears while your husband is away.
Most military installations have a New Parent Support Program (NPSP). The program may offer home visits by NPSP staff, supervised playgroups, parenting classes and other parenting materials.
Remember, being a military spouse has its perks. Each branch of the military has its own resources for expecting parents.
Also, don’t forget to enroll in Tricare, the military health care program, to avoid expensive charges for your obstetric care.
Good communication is the key to surviving a pregnancy apart from your husband. He will want to know about everything that’s going on with you and the baby.
Whether you’re using the postal service or communicating online with tools such as email or Skype, finding ways to share the pregnancy together is important. He will appreciate pictures, letters and anything else you’re willing to share.
As a military spouse you quickly learn that anything can change at any time with little or no notice. Plan for the unexpected to happen well in advance. Have a backup plan and a backup backup plan. If you expect that your husband will be home for the birth, prepare yourself emotionally and logistically for the event that something may go differently than planned. The only thing more unpredictable than the military is pregnancy. Try to have a plan so that you can “go with the flow” if plans and procedures change.
Photo thanks to genue.luben via Flickr Creative Commons