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God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing husband, Doug, and two gorgeous little boys, Gavin and Joey. It has always been a dream of mine to have a large family but God may have other plans. I had a series of 6 consecutive early miscarriages when trying for baby #2. We are currently trying for baby #3 after our 7th miscarriage. I am faithful that God's plan is perfect, even when I am not happy about it. I love comments and meeting new followers so please don't be shy!

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Monday, August 1, 2011

We Salute You- Anchor's Away

I invited Leteia from Anchors Away to kick off the 'We Salute You' tribute to military spouses who sacrifice so much for our country. Her button will be on my homepage for the month of August. She was kind enough to share her story of life as a military spouse and specifically about motherhood. Enjoy her post and be sure to stop by and visit her blog! As always, I invite anyone who is serving in the military to fill out THIS form for free ad space on my blog.

Hello Everyone! First let me say that I am very honored to be doing this guest blog over here at Life, Loss, and Other Things Worth Mentioning. Although I have never experienced a loss like Maria and many of you have, I have a lot of trials and tribulations that I go through on a daily basis as a Military Wife. Before I start, let me tell you a little about myself.

Like I said before I am a Navy wife. My husband and I have been together since high school and made the decision together that he should join the Navy. He went to enlisted boot camp and the day he graduated we were married at the court house in Chicago. We hung out for a few hours that day and then he was off to Pensacola! That right there sums up our life. He is gone a lot and during many important times. Since then, so shorten this up a bit, we have been married 10 years, had three daughters (ages 9, 5, and 3), went through two 6-8 month deployments, a 3 ½ month separation for him to go to Officer Candidate School, and many missed birthdays and holidays. Now we are currently stationed in Jacksonville, FL and in a month he will be off on a 6+ month deployment.

For this post I really wanted to focus on pregnancy and birth when your husband is away. For our first daughter, my husband was there for it all. For our second daughter he was there for the first few months of pregnancy and gone for the birth. With our youngest, he was there for the pregnancy, birth, and then left two weeks after she was born. So I have three totally different experiences and I have learned many things and had to do things that I never thought I would be doing alone. Gong through these different experiences is tough, lonely, and hard, but at the same time I am a much stronger person because of these experiences than if I had not went through them.

In 2005 my husband and I had just purchased a house, were in the process of totally renovating it when we found out that 1. I was pregnant with our second child and 2. That he was going on a 6 month deployment in a few months. I was happy for the baby since we had been trying for over a year to conceive. But, boy was I scared that I would have to pretty much do it alone. We were stationed in Brunswick, Maine and far away from any family to help me out (we are from Michigan). And at the time, friends were pretty scarce. It takes a while to make good friends whenever you move. Soon after all that news, we discovered that the base where we were stationed was set to be closed. That meant the house we just bought and fixed up for our needs was to go on the market and I had to sell (and also move!) while the husband was on deployment.

About a month before the baby was due I finally sold the house, found a rental, and gathered up some guys to help me move. So I (and our 3 year old) moved, got as unpacked and settled as we could, and started getting ready for the new baby. I was due on November 11th and late on October 30th I started having contractions. I called up a friend and asked her to take me to the hospital, grabbed my bag and a bag for my 3 year old and off we went. It was getting really late so after I was settled in the room I told my friend to go home with the kids (we both had one) so they could get to sleep. In all reality I was terrified of being all alone, with no one to hold my hand.

As soon as I arrived to the hospital I told the nurse to contact the Red Cross to let my husband know that I was at the hospital and going into labor. During deployments I have no way to reach him, even in emergencies. So after a few hours I was ready to start pushing and as luck would have it, as soon as I was ready to push her out, my cell phone rang and it was my husband. He called just in the nick of time to hear her first cry. Two days after I took her home from the hospital he was back home (they let him come back a few weeks early). It was kind of funny, when he was getting a ride home he had to call and ask me for directions to his own house. That may seem crazy to some but it’s how we live, like it or not.

Exactly two years later we were getting ready to have baby #3. Husband was home for the birth this time, good thing because it was a crazy birth story (we will save that for a later post). Two weeks after baby 3 was born we were saying good bye to daddy and we had to live the first 7 months of her life just the four of us, in Maine, in the middle of winter. It was tough but we made it through.

How to go through these situations alone:

1. Ask for help! It has taken me many years to get this one down. I am the type of person who has always been one to do everything by myself and I have realized that sometimes you just need someone else to lean on. Every time we move I have noticed that it takes about a year to make really good friends, ones that you can count on in emergencies and that you trust your children with. We just moved to FL, in a neighborhood away from base, and my husband is going out to sea very soon, I have been making sure to chat up everyone in the neighborhood, make new friends, and see who I can count on in tough times.

2. If possible have family come and stay with you or go to them! I wish I would have done that early on, but I didn’t and I had many days where I wished my mom or dad were there to help me wrangle the little ones. Many spouses (with young children) go home for the 6 month deployments, some days I wished I had as well!

3. Try to stay as stress free as possible. Something I never did and boy was I stressed out for 9 years straight! Now I make sure to take time for myself, take a bath when they are asleep, have a friend watch them so I can get my hair or nails done or take a trip to the grocery store by myself. Anything! I also look forward to Sunday’s at church when the kids are in their own classes and I can have an hour to sit and listen and reflect.

4. Know your limits. At one point I was taking on way too much stuff for one person. The kids were in school, sports, I was a Girl Scout leader, and I was attending school more than full time. I was close to having a mental breakdown! So I scaled back the girls’ activities, we stayed at home more, and enjoyed each other’s company instead of being on the go all the time.

5. Believe in yourself! Being confident that you can achieve what you want is important. Whenever my husband goes on deployment I set goals for myself. Not only does it keep my mind off him being gone, it gives me time to work on myself or start a project that I have been wanting to do. Which also helps with the ‘me’ time! I have learned to never second guess myself. I have to make a lot of decisions on my own, since communication is few and far between.

6. Know you are a good parent. There have many, many days where I think, wow, my parenting skills are really lacking today! But between the fights, accidents, screaming and crying sometimes it’s okay to be a less than stellar parent. If you don’t feel like making dinner, it’s okay to give them cereal or pb&j. Sometimes I am so over their fighting; I just let them work it out themselves and most of the time it comes out okay. Take a mommy time out or if they are being bad, naps for everyone! It is really hard to raise children on your own and I have finally realized that I will never be a perfect parent, as much as I want to be, it just isn’t going to happen. So I do my best and that’s the best I can do.

So the whole point of this story is that many times, as a military spouse, I have been required to do things that I didn’t want to do, but in the end I have become a stronger person. On my journey over the last 10 years I have learned a lot, and let me tell you, I have changed a lot. When I do go back home to visit family & friends many people comment on how differently I view life and go about things than they do. This has been a great journey and I really wouldn’t change much if I had the chance. Of course all the lonely nights and frustration of being a ‘single parent’ while he is away I wish I could change but I know that what we are doing is for the greater good and I know that there are many people out there that are thankful for our sacrifice. I am proud to say that I am a military wife and that my husband is protecting our country, even if that means a few missed holidays/births/school events/etc. along the way.

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