Giving Birth Without Your Spouse: Advice for Pregnant Military Wives

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Today, I am happy to host Kara on Jo, My Gosh! Kara is an Air Force wife, new mom, and entrepreneur! Be sure to read her bio, enter the giveaway for her homemade goods, and check out her website!

He was going to throw it all away.

This was a man that had dreamed of being in the military since he was a child. He’s more ambitious than anyone I’d ever met. He took the ASVAB several times before getting accepted in the Air Force, determined at age 26 to master algebra once again so that he could fight for his country and for his family

A military wife who gave birth while her husband was at boot camp shares tips for other women in the same situation.

We had to accept that he would be in basic training when our son was born. The situation doesn’t seem real when it’s so far away. However, as days turn to months, it becomes real. It becomes scary. He tried everything to be there for me and for our son. Unfortunately, the Air Force had already pushed his basic training back so that he could attend a local police academy and he was almost at his one-year time limit for completing Basic Military Training.

“I’m going to discharge myself from the military.”

You have a year to complete Basic Training from the time you sign up, and you can discharge yourself as long as it’s before Basic is completed. “Absolutely not,” was my response. He had worked too hard, sacrificed so much. It was his dream, and I was not going to stand in the way.

The airport was quiet the day he left. Our son would be born in 3 weeks, and I could feel him kicking as I hugged my husband goodbye. It took two weeks before I got a letter from him, but I wrote him everyday. Our son was comfortable and had no plans of making his debut. I was in limbo. The pregnancy was harder because I didn’t have my husband, and my husband being gone was harder because I was anxiously waiting for our baby.

Despite every effort I made to naturally induce labor, I ended up having a medical induction. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. My baby was born via emergency C-section after 18 hours of labor and him going into fetal distress. He’s was so beautiful, healthy, and looked just like his daddy.

The first thing I did when I was brought back to my room was call the American Red Cross. I gave them all my information, my husband’s information, and they called the hospital to verify that everything was true. I waited, hoping my husband would call. He didn’t. He wasn’t notified for three days when he was granted a phone call at that time. The hospital kept me for a few extra days. They did that because of the C-section, but also because I was going home alone.

A military wife who gave birth while her husband was at boot camp shares tips for other women in the same situation.

What We Learned

Be prepared for everyone to have questions. Be prepared to be the talk of the town. Every nurse knew me: I was “the one who’s husband is at boot camp.”

Have a support system. My mom and my mother-in-law were there for me. My husband had his flight. In fact, the whole experience made his flight very close. I accepted the fact that I couldn’t really be there for him, but I did write him every day and sent him at least 3 pictures per letter.

Expect your spouse to be sad. Having a baby is life-changing, and not being able to be there for it is hard. My husband was very sad and angry at himself. He felt like he let me down. I tried to tell him that he didn’t let me down and how proud I was of him, but it didn’t help. Everyone deals differently and that’s okay. The base made sure he was okay. He’s just one of those people that deals better if you don’t harp on them about how he feels.

Make sure he lets his superiors know what is going on. My husband was told (after the birth) that, had they known his wife was pregnant, they would have arranged for FaceTime.

Establish a routine. I had my own routine that made the days go by a little faster. I always tried to find things to do, like visit my parents or my in-laws. I got int0 such a routine that it took a little adjusting when my husband came home and wanted to help with bath time and diaper changes.

Most importantly, stay strong. Everyone tells me how strong I am for giving birth, recovering from a C-section, and taking care of a newborn by myself. The truth is though, I think having the baby to focus on made missing my husband easier. Focus on your baby and visit your spouse if you can. Obviously that can’t happen with deployments, but Skype as often as possible. It will help with bonding and feeling more connected.

Military families make a lot of sacrifices and face many difficult challenges. You will find strength that you didn’t know you had. Acknowledge it, and be proud of yourself.

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Kara is a 25-year-old Air Force Wife. She writes about what it’s like to be a new mom and military spouse. She also makes and sells handmade military products that are fully customized. 10% of the profits from her items are donated to the USO. Find Kara on her blog, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

8 Responses

  1. My husband is military and I may have to give birth without him. But not because he’ll be away but because we don’t have anyone to watch our kids. So he might have to stay home with them while I’m at the hospital. We don’t have any family or friends near by. This is a great post.

  2. My husband and I have talked through the possibility of him not being around for a future baby being born and honestly – it totally scares the crap out of me. He’s definitely my rock and to do that without him? No thank you. But I think all of the suggestions you’ve offered here may really help us when the time comes.

  3. Hi, Kara! Honestly, I wish I could reach through the computer and give you a hug, right now. 5 years ago this February, our first son was born while my husband was in basic training. Since then, I’ve never met or heard of anyone who shared this experience, but I knew women like you were out there somewhere! Goodness, the emotions and memories this post brought back! So beautifully written. I can relate to every single word. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    1. I just saw this! Thank you so much, your words are so kind :-) My husband and I were just talking about how we can’t believe that it was a year ago that this was happening. It was so awful at the time but it really proved to me (and to him) how strong we both are. I’ll be honest, my husband still struggles with it but he’s such a great daddy!

  4. So much of this is true. I went into labor with our daughter 30 minutes after my husband called to tell me he was getting on the plane to go overseas for his first deployment. We had everything planned, I expected him on already be there and be able to skye through the labor, when my water broke and I knew there was no way to reach him I refused to believe it. I was in denial that it was happening like this. If it wasn’t for my mother, sister, best friend, mother in law, and sister in law I would have crumpled into a mess. They carried me through and gave me strength. It was the next day when he was able to call me and I had one big surprise for him. She was 6 months old before he held her in his arms. I can’t stress enough the importance of routine. It was so much easier on us all that I had an established routine and it made his coming home easier. I’m so glad to read this and know others experienced something similar.

  5. It is nice to read other people having this experience. My husband just left for Marine Corps Boot Camp and while we have a 5 yr old and 2 yr old they have only lived with us 15 months, we are in the process of adopting them AND I’m seven months pregnant. So I will be having the baby right before he graduates boot camp. It’s so scary to experience this for the first time anyways let alone without him there. But it’s nice to know there are other moms who have done it and it just makes them stronger!! It also seems like there aren’t very many military spouses while boot camp goes on, just parents and girlfriends! So it is also nice to hear of other boot camp wives:) any advice would be great!!

    1. So true (about the spouses during boot camp)! When we went to basic training graduation, the guards at the gate were surprised that I had a military ID.. I’m like “no I’m his WIFE” lol. They were like “oh then you guys don’t need visitor passes, your all set!” haha. My hubby was just talking about how he loves that we have gone through the whole military thing together from the beginning, like I’ve been “in” just as long as him :-) Good luck with everything and please reach out if you need any advice or to talk to someone who went through something similar!

  6. My husband is military, Air Force to be exact and I’m about to give birth to my son in around 2-3 weeks without him. We’re stationed in Alaska and he’s deployed right now until the baby will be 3 months old. Unfortunately no one of his or my family will be up here with me to help and support me. I know it is going to be very tough but I feel like as soon as my son is born the time will go by way faster so I’m really looking forward !

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