Inside: Being a pregnant military wife presents a unique set of challenges. Remember these seven free resources to help you through deployment.
It suddenly felt very difficult to swallow. Tears pooled behind my sunglasses and my heart thudded fiercely against my chest.
For months, I prayed this day would never come.
As I stood on the dock with a toddler on my right hip, my burgeoning belly brushed against his cammies, and I knew this would be the last time.
The last time we would be this way together.
He left. I stayed.
My husband left on a ship that deployment and I remember thinking, “How am I going to get through this?”
This was my first deployment as a pregnant military wife, and overwhelmed only vaguely describes how I felt in that moment. In my mind, I had no idea where to begin.
My tears became waterfalls, and waterfalls soon became tsunami surges. I sobbed the entire way home purging every emotion from my body until all the tears ran dry.
Free resources for the pregnant military wife.
Getting through deployment as a pregnant military wife was going to be more difficult unless I made a plan and pulled my hormones together.
Here are 5 key (and free) resources that any pregnant military wife will appreciate:
If you live on or near a military base, there are tons of free classes you can take to help you prepare for the arrival of your baby. One of my favorites is Budget for Baby that is put together by the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society.
Operation Shower, Operation Baby Shower and Operation Showers of Appreciation provide free showers to pregnant military dependents going through a deployment. While each organization is run differently, they all work to create a special and unique experience.
Baby care packages.
If you are expecting your first baby, Mom4USA will send you a baby care package full of essential infant items.
You can also receive knitted, crocheted, sewn, quilted, and design blankets, booties, hats, onesies, bibs and many more homemade gifts by visiting Operation Top Knot.
Support Our Soldiers’ Special Delivery also provides blankets, bibs, onesies, washcloths, small toys and clothes, sizes newborn to 12 months.
Back when I was pregnant with my oldest, TRICARE did not cover breast pumps for service members or dependents. That’s how I found myself trying to buy a used breast pump.
Now you can get a new breast pump at no cost to you through The Breastfeeding Shop. Yes. A brand new breast pump from The Breastfeeding Shop for zero dollars.
Once you have your baby, you’ll want to update your wills to include guardianship for your baby should something happen. This is just in case, but so important. You can visit your local base legal office, and they will help you complete this process step-by-step.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but as a pregnant military wife, you will receive care through TRICARE at almost zero cost out of pocket.
If you are a new military wife, you’ll need to gather your important documents, as well as a power of attorney, if your service member is deployed and can’t go with you. Then go to the nearest DEERS office and get set up in DEERS. Then you can get your military dependent ID.
Once you are in DEERS you are automatically enrolled in Standard. (You can find out the differences between Standard and Prime on the TRICARE website.) If you choose Prime, you must enroll to get access. If you submit your enrollment for Prime before the 20th of the month, it begins the first of the next month.
I realized something.
My husband returned months later to find my burgeoning belly still brushing against his cammies — except it was three times larger of course. He returned home in time for the birth of our daughter, and in the end we all learned something: we are a lot stronger than we thought.
This is sponsored conversation in partner with The Breastfeeding Shop. Connect with them here.
Want more on military life?
- 21 Things You May Experience Having a Baby With a Service Member
- Breast Pump Through TRICARE Comparison Chart
- 47 Things No One Tells You About Being a Military Wife
- The Photos You Didn’t Take With Your Service Member (But Should)
I have a friends daughter who is pregnant and in Germany. Her husband is in the army but he isn’t helping her. Verbal abuse, breaking things, no Eros no car. He is not helping her to get to the doctor. Now he is being sent to Poland. She has no phone and lives off base. She had access to Facebook. She needs resources. Can you help? Email me at email@example.com
Sam, I would immediately go to militaryonesource.com for free counseling. Another place she can go to get free counseling (over the phone or even via email) is giveanhour.com.
In addition to Military OneSource and Give an Hour, other resources include the New Parent Support Program and Family Advocacy Program. Every branch and base has these programs. Since I don’t know where your friend’s daughter is, here is the information to contact New Parent Support Program at Ramstein (they can refer her to another base’s program if she’s not at that base or you can google to find her local program or she can contact Army Community Services and they will connect her; Military One Source can also find the information for her).
Information regarding the Family Advocacy Program at Kaiserslautern:
Best wishes to your friend’s daughter!
I wanted to be the best friend possible while still respecting her space and her privacy. She’s a brilliant, independent woman who always has things on lock. Like, always. And honestly, I didn’t quite know what would be the best, most helpful thing for her without insulting her or overstepping boundaries or making her feel weird. BUT FIRST…
If you’re reading this, chances are you know someone affiliated with the military who is pregnant or a new mom (or you are that person). I want you to meet a company that is going to make your life– or your friend’s life– just a little bit easier. 1 Natural Way is a TRICARE breast pump provider that works to make sure you are able to take advantage of your TRICARE benefits easily, all at no (or very, very little) cost to you. 1 Natural Way stocks well-known and reputable breast pump brands like Kiinde, Medela, and Spectra. The process to order a free breast pump through 1 Natural Way is easy: fill out the insurance information form found here, choose the breast pump model you like (they’re all TRICARE-covered), enroll in 1 Natural Way’s Resupply program to get supplies and products sent to you monthly, and upload your prescription. Your breast pump and supplies will be shipped to your front door.
1 Natural Way makes breast pumps and accessories so easily accessible, affordable (free is the best!), and worry-free so you have one less thing to worry about during deployment. (Because honestly, you have more pressing things to worry about anyway.) They take it off your plate so that you have a little more time so you can be the best mom and spouse possible, especially during a deployment….(Deepak Sharma- mygenericpharmacy)