10 Things Military Moms Face with a Newborn when Husband is Deployed
1. Let’s just get #1 out of the way right now. The big one. The one every military wife fears: Having a baby while your husband is deployed.
We know we can do it. We know that wives have been having babies alone since the beginning of time, but we don’t want to. How will we get to the hospital? Who will take our older kids? What if he’s out on a mission and we can’t even talk to him in between contractions? The mountain of “what if’s” grow to volcanic proportions when Daddy is deployed.
2. Then there’s #2. Literally. Number two. Diapers and diapers filled with it. Who knew such tiny little humans could expel so much waste?
And who knew we could run through so many cases of diapers and wipes?! Thank heavens for the Commissary Case Lot sale and Amazon Prime Pantry shipments. With Daddy deployed, there is no one to send to the 24-hour Walmart in town if we run out, so we must be stocked up well in advance.
3. Oh, and the tears. So many tears! Both ours and our new babies’.
Sleep deprivation coupled with all those mixed up post-partum hormones often leaves us weepy, which is to be expected. But with Daddy away, we are at higher risk of having postpartum deployment so it’s important that we have a good support system in place that will check in on us while he’s gone.
4. And let’s just talk about that sleep deprivation for a moment. We know it’s normal for new moms to be up all night with feedings and changings, but without our Battle Buddy home to tag team it in those first few weeks, we look and feel like zombies. Our babies are lucky they’re so cute when they’re sleeping.
5. Despite the bags under our eyes and the stains on our shirts, we still have to pack up our bundles of joy and take them on their first official military outing – the day we get them entered into DEERS. Our ID, our POA, and the baby’s birth certificate should be enough, but this is not our first rodeo, so we will pull a wagon containing every document we have behind the stroller. And we will pack a lunch because we know how those lines can be.
6. Once the traumatic shock of single parenting a newborn has subsided, we’ve accepted our fate, and we have been cleared by our physicians to resume life “as normal”, we get to develop super powers that allow us to be both mom and dad at the same time. We get to mow… with a baby in tow. We get to wash the dogs…. With a baby in tow. We get to move into new housing… with a baby in tow. If we have older children we get to attend Cub Scout functions, father/daughter dances, and flag football games…. with a baby in tow.
7. Loneliness. Despite spending every waking (and sleeping) moment with our tiny humans, we get lonely. Sure, we have friends we could go see, activities we could enjoy, mommy classes that we could join… but this requires so much more effort and energy than we can produce right now. We miss our husbands now more than ever as we look into the eyes of this little person we created together.
8. We hate that he’s missing all of these “firsts”. He’s missed her first smile, her first bath, and the first time she rolled over. Her first Christmas. Her first birthday. Her first snow. We’ve taken pictures and videos. We’ve skyped and Facebook Live’d as much as we could. But we hate that he’s not home to see it himself.
9. And we grow weary of making all of the decisions for this new person on our own. To a certain degree, it can be fun making all of the decisions while he’s gone. But when we have a newborn there are so many decisions to make and our lack of sleep doesn’t help us bolster any confidence, that’s for sure. Is this just colic or should we take him back to the doctor? Was I right to hold off on that second set of immunizations? Should he be sleeping in his own bed now? While Daddy is often only a phone call or an email away, we miss having our best cheer leader by our side in those moments that we doubt ourselves and our decision-making abilities. We need to hear that we’re doing a good job from the person who is as equally invested in this child as we are. And having him literally holding our hand wouldn’t be so bad either.
10. But oh, the pride that we have. Pride in ourselves for holding it together when we thought we would come undone. Pride in our ability, as women, to bring forth life into this crazy world. Pride in our new baby that is absolutely perfect when she’s not screaming. Pride in our husbands that are serving our country, protecting our freedom, and providing for our family. Pride in being a military wife – a time honored position that likens us to fierce mama bears, heroic warriors, and Wonder Woman, herself. Why? Because we are. We are brave. We are fierce. We are amazing. And we will do anything for our families.