By Tara Smith
& Guest Blogger
Congratulations, you are having a baby! Now what? Where do you plan to deliver? What type of delivery do you want to have? Do you want to deliver on base or off base? Childcare? These are some of the many questions that popped into my head when I found out I was pregnant.
Not having family here made me realize I would have to rely on my spouse for a little bit. Not having the support of our relatives nearby was disheartening. Still, I soon realized that if I searched in the right places, I would be better off than I thought. Two determining factors helped me to see that I needed to prepare for childbirth. The first is that I am a seasoned spouse that will be giving birth to her first child. Second, I am at greater health risk due to hypertension.
I will preface what follows with this: Please seek professional medical advice and listen to your own body. What I’m sharing is uniquely my experience, and I only wish to educate you on what I have learned thus far. I am six months and due in the spring of 2023!
Some of my favorite phone applications that have helped me to get started are: 1) What to Expect (when expecting); 2) Flo; and 3) The Bump. These three apps have educated me about the pregnancy journey, as I was eager to learn but unsure where to start. I also asked fellow spouses who had already given birth to a child to tell me about their pregnancy journey and what they wished they had been told when they first had their one.
I will admit that I also went on a mission to find baby showers. I knew I would not be near my family or my spouse’s family to host a baby shower in person, so why not a virtual baby shower? So, I decided to find local baby showers that were available in my community.
Baby Showers in My Area:
In addition to planning a virtual baby shower with family and friends back home, using platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and FaceTime, I found these opportunities in my local area:
Before I moved to North Carolina, I had the extraordinary opportunity to attend the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation — Military Moms Baby Shower in Tampa, FL. I was blown away at how well they supported moms and military families. My husband was also in shock to see how much support we received.
USO Special Delivery Baby Shower (Virtual and In-Person) https://www.uso.org/programs/uso-special-delivery-presented-by-johnson-johnson
No matter which baby showers you attend, know that many military families are going through the same experience and settings as you. Be reassured that you are going to be alright.
Helpful Pregnancy Tips:
- Planning is essential. You’ll be planning for the baby shower, the nursery, your delivery location/specialist, and daycare. They are all pivotal to managing the process and stress of becoming a new mom (or a mom again).
- Take educational pregnancy planning classes. These classes may include “Baby Bootcamp,” Infant Care, Breastfeeding, and Lamaze. Check to see if they may be offered at your on-base hospital for FREE!
- OB-GYNs, Doulas, Midwives, oh my! Learn about how each differs in services and what is covered through TRICARE, so you can make the best choice for yourself.
- Involve your spouse during the journey. I can’t reiterate this enough. You are both in this together. It’s important to stay connected throughout your pregnancy on all of the factors involved.
- Always ASK questions! Whether it’s a healthcare professional or a friend who’s been there, done that, if you don’t understand something or just want to know more about bringing a child into your life, find someone who can answer your questions… and ask!
I admit I was overwhelmed when I discovered I was pregnant. While waiting for the results from my confirmation appointment, I looked up at the wall. I saw this quote, “Eventually, all pieces fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the present moment, and know that everything happens for a reason.” This set me at ease and reminded me I’m not alone. I wish you all the very best on your pregnancy journey!
Tara is an active-duty Marine Corps spouse of 10 years. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides therapy to children and their families. Tara is a SpouseLink Ambassador, an expecting mother, and has one horse and two dogs. In her spare time, you will find her working out, walking her dogs, and spending time with her horse.