Inside: Military life family planning…is there ever a good time to have a baby? Plus, four things that you CAN control and count on once you are pregnant to make the addition to your family easier. This is a sponsored post with The Breastfeeding Shop.
I was hugely pregnant. Like massive. As in the kind of massive where people ask you every flippin’ day if you’re about to have the baby, except you aren’t due for weeks.
Strangers would walk by me and say, “Any day now, huh?”
At 36 weeks pregnant (with a soon to be 10.5 lb baby) and a very energetic toddler in the peak of an oppressively hot summer, I did not appreciate such questions.
So when my husband was finally coming home from deployment after months away on ship, you could say I was slightly over the moon.
The timing of everything wasn’t great, but it wasn’t the worst either. We actually tried to get pregnant with our daughter much sooner than it happened. As with all things military life, trainings, work trips and life seemed to get in the way.
There was even a point in my life where I debated about having kids at all. Military life is challenging, and family planning creates a whole new layer of complexity.
When considering when to have kids in military life, you may think things like…
- Should we try to get pregnant before the deployment?
- Should we try to get pregnant after the deployment?
- Should we try to get pregnant at all?
- Should we try to get pregnant and risk something like an unexpected PCS?
I’ve witnessed military spouse after military spouse grapple with the issue of family planning in military life. I’ve gone so far myself to obsessively count the days and pray it was close enough to both get pregnant and have him return home in time for the birth.
The truth is that as much as we want to predict and control our life plans, there is simply no good time to have a baby in military life.
Because something will always come up. Something will always change. And all the best plans in the world go to trash when deployments, pcs moves, unpredictable work trainings, etc., are in your life picture.
Here’s the good news about military family planning.
There are many things that you CAN control and count on once you are pregnant to help make the addition to your family easier.
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.
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.
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.
Getting a doula.
Operation Special Delivery is committed to offering discounted labor support services and increasing access to quality labor doula care to all qualifying military service members and their families. Through collaboration with trained and professional labor doulas from around the world and across a variety of certification organization, OSD is committed to providing the highest standard of professional doula care to our service men and women.
Family planning in military life is a lot more trial by fire than actual planning. You hope for the best, but know plans can change at any minute. And several years down the road, you can look back and know one thing for certain: It was an adventure.
Want more on military life?
- How to Get a Breast Pump Through Tricare for $0
- What Military Marriage Really Looks Like
- 7 Myths About Tricare…Debunked
- The Real Reason Being a Military Wife Is So Hard