Let me first clarify, we are not pregnant. This is not an announcement of a baby in the oven.
I assure you there will be something much more creative to announce the birth of our first child.
After you get married, everyone seems to want to know when babies are coming, especially since we are the last in our families to have children. It seems like every day there is someone else online who is bringing a new life in this world. We are just at that age. So naturally people want to know when we will have our baby. (PS. What you are really saying is-So are you all having a lot of sex?)
I have resisted writing this to keep some semblance of privacy when it comes to our baby plans , but felt compelled when I saw the link up with Ashley today to address the topic of family planning with the military. Maybe it will squelch some of the never ending questions on when little W will be coming into the world and how the military factors in. That seems to be question number two for everyone after the “We want Baby Ws” comment.
Tom and I have been married for a little over two years. Out of the 27 months we have been married, we have only lived under the same roof for 13 months, and not consecutively.
Because of our distance relationship many people told us that we should just put baby plans on hold so we can get to know each other again. This is the only time in our lives that it will just be the two of us, and we shouldn’t rush into having kids just yet.
Well that sounds great in theory.
Here is our reality.
We have been together for 6 years.
We are 28.
We are part of the United States Military.
I am not sure if you were aware of baby making, but it is slightly unpredictable and can take a long time (at least 9 months) for that little bugger to introduce themselves.
And the Army can change it’s mind every other day on what they want to do with you. So making any kind of plan is hard, let alone one that has to simmer for approximately 9 months.
So because of that, we have had to adjust our timeline. Actually, we needed to accept reality and change our perspective with the timeline. It just cannot look like I have always dreamed, but that is how most of life goes. We have been seriously talking about babies since Christmas of last year. It was during Tom’s deployment that we decided that when he came home it was time for us to start considering our first child.
We are financially stable, even if my job hadn’t of panned out as it did. Because of the benefits we receive, our savings, and no debt situation, this really wasn’t a huge concern.
We are at a good age to start that chapter of our life. Our life is good and awesome.
When you are in the military there are a lot more things to consider though. There is a huge chance that I would have to either be pregnant alone or have to tackle the baby’s first year alone.
Not really the list you want to be choosing from as a first time parent.
And there is no way to guarantee that it wont happen that way. It’s just part of the life.
We talked extensively about what it means for us and what we would do in any situation. Contingency plans for the contingency plans. And we honestly started talking about these plans when Tom enlisted to begin with since at that time he was considering making the Army is career.
Yea maybe we haven’t had as much time “together together” as other couples who are starting to have babies.
But let’s get real.
I cannot get pregnant while Tom is deployed.
And that is what it comes down to. We have to be together to conceive that baby.
So we have to make the most of the months that we have together.
That is really what our planning has come down to. Would we ideally like to have a baby before the next deployment? Well yes, but there is no way to guarantee that. Ideally we would like a lot of things that are not an option in the Army lifestyle. We don’t have the luxury of time. So ideally, we have to deal with the time we are fortunate to have.
I have really struggled with this “time” acceptance more than Tom, which is probably why I have hesitated talking about this much. I have quickly changed the subject when people ask and skirt around our plans. There are a lot of personal issues that go into this, which is one reason why I decided to be open about the fact that we are trying to have a baby. To be frank, I would like for it to happen sooner than later, for the obvious reason that I want my partner to be here with me for this. It is our first child, and you only get to do that once. It kills me to think of doing that alone, and it kills me that he would miss precious moments of our child’s life.
I have felt that pressure of our time and wanting to know that it is going to become a reality. You know that inner clock they talk about with motherhood? Well I think baby fever goes on high alert even more when you are in the military and you have to get that bun in the oven with precise timing. Did I mention that pregnancies, while there is a science to it, there really is no way to ensure that this time will be the time? So for this perfectionist who always runs on time with her plans, this has been super stressful to try to figure out within the Army time constraints. Thank you Army, for another lesson in patience.
I have also wrestled with the reality of what if we don’t have kids and something happens to Tom. How do you move on from that? I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I understood what that meant. I have wanted to have Tom’s kid since we first said I love you. What if we can’t get pregnant before the deployment day? I don’t sit long on this one for obvious reasons.
Why don’t we just wait until after the Army you say?
We could realistically do that. We will be 30 when his enlistment is up. We will be back closer to family. Seems like a good idea right?
But that doesn’t seem right to waste the moments we have now. It doesn’t seem right to put our life on hold because the Army makes things more difficult. That is no way to live. You would spoil your life worrying about all the worst case scenarios and waiting for life to be “perfect.”
The truth is we are ready to be parents. We have put a lot of other things on hold during our relationship, and we are ready to put this plan up on the table God willing.
There are also benefits of having a baby while we are still in the Army. If we go to the base hospital, all the medical care is free. When Tom is stateside, there is a lot of leeway with helping with appointments and childcare necessities (at least with his unit we have seen this). When he on his business trips, I have a community of spouses that are also in the same boat who can be a support network who can be go to people in times of crisis or when I just need advice. I am also in a situation with a job that can allow for some flexibility if needed, plus it is a military friendly university with various offices that I could call on, let alone the colleagues that I know I could ask for help from.
So our decision to just go for it comes with a lot of thought and some planning…and a whole lot of crying, laughing, praying and dreaming…
The truth of it is though you cannot really plan for a pregnancy, and doing so in the military is really no different. As with most things in life, there comes a lot of uncertainty. And no matter how much I try, some things just cannot be planned. You set yourself[bodies/health] up for the best situation, and just start trying and hope for the best. There is a lot of patience when you have made that decision because there is a dump-truck load of anxiety that comes with deciding to have a military child. If you get caught up in all the what ifs of the military you will make yourself sick like I have on many occasions. (Tom is seriously the most patient husband to deal with my sometimes delusional expectations.)
What we did was just decide if we were ready to take care of another human being as our own and with the different scenarios would we be able to handle it. We are just ready to have a baby. It is as simple as that. We will figure out everything else as is comes, which is what ALL parents have to do. The timing will be perfect whenever it happens.
Tom has to accept that he may miss things. And I have to accept that I may be alone for things.
But really we just need to accept that this will change our life forever. And are we ready for that?
Whoa baby, let’s have a baby!
Just not today…
I can identify with a lot of the struggles you wrote about. It’s hard! There is no good time for military couples to have a baby. There’s always that possibility of a deployment. I know my husband is already mourning all the things he’ll miss out on in our future children’s lives. It’s something we’ll all have to live with. I hope everything works out for you and your husband and your future baby.
Thanks! Somehow it is comforting to know that others are feeling the same things. There is some validation know we aren’t alone in this experience, which is something I have truly appreciated with being part of the military family!
There is a lot to think about when having a baby in the military but I promise you, it is not that difficult when the baby comes. My husband deployed when my little girl was 5 weeks old. But you know what, I sent him pictures and videos each day. He was still able to be apart of her life and I was a stronger woman because of it. Dwelling on the ifs and buts now will only make you miserable. Just focus on being the mother of his child and that everything will work out in the end, no matter what happens!
Thanks Sarah! I figured as much that once you have the baby everything comes together and you just figure it out because you have to. And you are so right about not dwelling on the what ifs! They can make you just go silly!
This post is so awesome! I love how you just spell it all out 🙂 Its so incredibly complicated for people on the outside to understand. Thanks so much for linking up!!
It’s brave of you to put this all out on the table. But at the same time, don’t you wish some people knew what lines were not okay to cross? For some reason, when it comes to babies and pregnancy, people tend to forget that there are personal things that are the business of you and your husband. I wish you the best in this journey!