By Grace Lipscomb
As a soon-to-be first-time mom I am doing what all moms do: scrolling through pages and pages on Pinterest and Google trying to get all the information I can. From a trimester by trimester to-do lists registry must haves, and hospital bag checklists to finding the perfect doctor and birthing plan for me; I am finding that as a military spouse many of these check lists I just can’t fit into:
I can’t find the perfect doctor because I will move twice during my pregnancy — spending each trimester in a different state (GA, SC, and HI). I can’t select my child’s pediatrician ahead of time because it’s up to Tricare who she will get assigned to at birth. Showers are hard to plan for when you live far from home, I can’t make my birth plan in advance since I don’t know the capabilities of the hospital I will be delivering in.
All I can do is make my lists, check off what I can when I can. To be honest, even though I knew I would be becoming a mom while also a military spouse, I didn’t expect to be pregnant during such a transitional time. But as military spouses we know we can’t plan everything, or anything. Something will always come up last minute. So here are the things you can expect as a military spouse who is expecting:
- You will most likely have more than one doctor. I have seen a different doctor, nurse or midwife at every single one of my pre-natal appointments. This happens even in one location. I have been lucky in that I have really liked all of them. Which scares me a bit for the doctors I will see during my last trimester that will deliver my baby! I have an irrational fear that if I have gotten this lucky so far, I am bound to get a dud when it actually counts! I know it’s silly, but it is still a fear I have.
- You might not be able to set up your nursery exactly like you plan. Maybe you are giving birth and then PCSing within just a few short weeks; maybe you PCS just weeks before the birth and are still on a housing waiting list when baby arrives. It can be hard when situations like this occur. Maybe your spouse is deployed and so you move home to have help with the baby so you and baby are sharing one room. All of these scenarios can prevent you from being able to set up your nursery like you have envisioned. I know how stressful that can be.
- You might have to give birth by yourself. I never thought my husband wouldn’t be home when it time to give birth! If this is your first baby you have no idea what to expect, but know that you’d give anything to have them home with you. If this is your second or third child, suddenly care for older children become a concern; especially when you live far away from family.
- You should be prepared to be a solo-parent. Along with giving birth alone you have to adjust your expectations for what it’s like to be a new parent because you with may not always have your partner by your side to help you childcare and household chores.
These are some of the expectations I have had to adjust to while being a pregnant military spouse. I have not had a typical prenatal experience. Not due to complications, but due to inconsistency in care from moving. My medical care has not followed the traditional timelines for prenatal care because of the time it takes to establish care at each location. My mom and dad will be my support at home when our baby is born and throughout her first year because my husband will be gone.
What unexpected events did you experience when you were expecting? Let us know in the comments below.
Grace Lipscomb is a southern belle who recently graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Counselor Education and an emphasis in marriage and family counseling. She has been Army Wife and a family counselor, emphasis in marriage and family counseling, she is trying to get her foot in the door to provide services for troops and family members. She is currently a volunteer intern with the Family Life Chaplain at Fort Benning, seeing service members and their families. You can find her personal blog at AdventuresofaYoungWife.com.