Military families come in all shapes and sizes including “pregnant with a deploying or deployed partner.” It’s a select, and amazing, group of women who find themselves in this category. Particularly, if it’s your first pregnancy! On the one hand, you’re pregnant and dealing with the idea of going it alone because your partner is deploying or deployed. And what about the birth? As one of my favorite military moms said to me once: “Who am I gonna slap when I’m in labor if he’s away?!?”
On the other hand, you have a partner who’s stressed, distracted and may not be paying close attention because they’re preparing for deployment or already away. Add a tablespoon of guilt, frustration, and confusion. Garnish with hormones and you’ve got the perfect recipe for real fun times!
I want to share some of the best resources and tips to use for “deployed and pregnant” challenges.
- Put a nozzle on that fire hose of information! – Trying to read and remember the entire “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” No way! If you’ve got a partner that’s deployed or deploying, you’re also probably also trying to snorkel through binders of information written in military super-acronym language. It’s like trying to drink water from a fire hose. That said, you need the info and it will help you feel less stressed about what’s going on and help you know what to expect. So get people to help you sort it through. Ask friends and family members to read through things, looking for the good stuff they can write down for yo
- Get to know your partner’s unit Family Readiness Group Leader – this is the “FRG” people talk about. The leader is usually the spouse of a unit’s commanding officer. They can help you in many different ways – everything from navigating your pre-natal healthcare to communicating with your partner while they’re away to helping out to organize meals when you need them. No matter your need or request, your FRG leader has probably heard it before so please reach out to them, even if you’re not sure.
3. My favorite resource sites:
a. Giveanhour.org – free counseling for military families and service members who don’t want to do counseling with a military counselor
b. Militaryonesource.mil – amazing site with all the info and support services you could imagine. Just go there and check it out but remember tip #1 about the fire hose.
c. Military.com – well done site for information about your military benefits.
Captain Nicole Stelter-Flett, PhD, MFT is a behavioral health officer with the California National Guard, State Military Reserve Department. She is a mother of two boys, raising them with her partner in Long Beach, CA. She’s worked in civilian and military behavioral health, primarily with families and couples, for the better part of the last 20 years. Contact her at Twitter @Drstelter
Stay tuned for Nicole’s next two blogs in a series of 3:
1. Counseling and confidentiality with military families.
2. Seeking help despite stigma in military families.
k****PAM is a blog written and created by moms, some of us may be in the helping profession, and some of us are just mom’s who are sharing our personal experiences. It is part cathartic and part resource, but never meant to be a substitute for live conversation with your partner, medical professional, or a mental health expert on your specific personal or family needs. In otherwords, we are not giving advice, rather sharing. Please consult with your family and health professionals for your specific needs.