You’ve overcome the most difficult step of having a baby (getting pregnant), and you’re ready to welcome that sweet bundle of joy into your home. But hold on, your spouse just got orders to deploy. What now? There are some things you might want to think about now that you get to join this exclusive deployment baby club.
Should I Go Home or Stay at my Partner’s Duty Station?
Honestly, this is one of those questions where you have to know yourself in order to know what’s best. For some, going home is the most comforting thought of the whole deployment-baby journey. But for others, that same thought can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress. The real question you should ask yourself is: “Would going home make my life easier or harder?” What you’re going for here is how to make your deployment pregnancy and labor as easy as possible at least with the parts you can control. If the answer isn’t “easier,” then don’t do it!
Should I Get a Doula or Try to Use a Friend or Family Member for the Actual Labor?
The short answer is both. You can never have too many plans when living the military spouse life. Doulas are great because they can be there for you and whatever you need pre- and postnatal, as well as during your labor. They provide emotional support and help you to make the best decisions for your care while you are in labor. They can help you get settled at home! Family and friends are great to have with you because they already know you and the familiarity is a plus. It’s always nice to not be alone during a deployment whether you’re pregnant or not. Of course, there is always the option to make a go of it alone. The nurses at the hospital are there to take care of you and the baby, but sometimes it’s nice to have a familiar face around, especially if you’re going through it the first time.
Should I Ask for Help or Try to Do it All on my Own?
Always ask for help. Or, better yet, like children’s author Kristin Ayyar says on the Dear MilFamily Podcast, ask them, “What are you good at?” when they offer to help. Are they someone who is good at plumbing, yard work, babysitting, cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc.? That way you know who your go-to person is when you back up your kitchen sink trying to fit too much food down the disposal or when you need someone to watch an older child while you go grocery shopping. Like the old saying goes, many hands make light work.
Should I Make Meals Ahead of Time or Let Others Start a Meal Train for Me?
Toot, toot! Hear that? The meal train is calling your name. Seriously, it is so nice to know you don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner after a long day of taking care of a new deployment baby. Babies are hard enough to take care of, but a deployment baby can be twice as hard, so take advantage of any free food coming your way. Definitely let people know about dietary restrictions beforehand. And if you’re planning a meal train for someone else, do not wait and call them when they’re in the hospital to talk to them about setting it up.
But if you like cooking, it certainly doesn’t hurt to prepare and get a month or two worth of freezer meals stocked. Remember that thing about never having too many backup plans?
Should I Stuff Down any Resentment Toward my Spouse or Face it Head On?
First off, just go into having your deployment baby knowing you will feel this way at some point. No, it’s not your partner’s fault that they’re deployed at this time, and no one blames them because there is nothing they can do (unless the stars align and they can come home for the birth during R&R, but that’s another article). You will get upset that they are not there to help with the baby or that you’re doing everything. Recognize that you are feeling that way on those days and talk about it with someone or journal it out. It’s up to you when you tell your partner about it, but you will need to communicate those feelings to them at some point to have a healthy relationship and ask for help if you need it.
Should I Include my Partner in Deployment Baby Bonding or Wait Until they Get Back?
Yes! You can still have family bonding; it just looks a little different. Record your partner reading books for you and your deployment baby to watch or listen to later. Send baby’s hat or one of the hospital blankets in a care package if you can. And, of course, with modern technology, your partner has the ability to be there through webcam if they can’t be there physically.
After the birth, you can still FaceTime or Skype (if your partner has internet access, of course). Bonding is especially important if you have older kids, but we have plenty of ideas to keep it fresh.
Should I let Family Visit after Deployment Baby Arrives or Go See Them?
This question is another one that you have to decide for yourself. Again, think of what is going to be easiest for you. If you have family come to you, are you going to feel like you will have to “entertain” them or will they truly be there to help you? And going to visit family, will it be easier for you to travel with a baby? Some babies do really well on planes and others don’t. You won’t know which baby you have until you try it, but only you can decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
These questions are just a starting point for things to think about during your pregnancy and after you have your deployment baby. Do what makes your life easier, and you are never weak for asking for help. Good luck and welcome to the club.
Photo Credits: Eastern Sky Photography, NC | Pixabay