“I don’t know how you do it,” is what people say. They’ve said it to me now, twice.
To clarify: what they mean by “you” is never “you, Lisa, specifically,” but a plural: you military wives. You women whose husbands are halfway-around-the-world-away-from-you, in a combat zone, on a ship, at an embassy, et cetera. What they mean by “it” is giving birth with him still so far gone.
I’ve had two babies now, and both them have been deployment babies. So I thought I’d take a moment to answer this “how you do it” question for the people who’ve been asking, even though they never pose it in the form of a question. More importantly, though, I thought I’d answer the question for all you military mamas-to-be out there, especially those of you who are staring down the barrel of both imminent deployment and due date. Because more than likely, like I was, you are asking in the form of a question: How in the world will I manage this without him?
Here are ten keys to having a baby while your husband is deployed.
1. Forget “normal.” Your life is not normal, in the civilian-marriage sense of the world. You are married to someone who deploys. You know that deployments last a long time and can come up on a marriage out of the blue. You understand that those “Look who’s jumping out of the Christmas cake to surprise his family with a two-week leave!” TV segments are exceedingly rare. What’s more, your husband might be the sort who rolls his eyes at that kind of thing. Frame your expectations based on what’s real: It would be fabulous if he could be there, but it’s not fair to expect so.