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.
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)