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Welcome Home, I’m Enormous!

I’ve always thought that a baby conceived during the few sweet days of R&R has got to be evidence of one of two things:  1) Darwinism at work. Or  2) a baby who has places to go, things to do and people to see.

Personally, I think of these babies as the most interesting kind of minor miracle. The only problem with an R&R baby is that by the time the soldier or Marine comes home, that baby is making his presence known. Overnight ,the soldier or Marine is married to a pregnant lady.  Which is probably weird.  But is it a problem?

Emily wrote us this week with just this kind of situation. She and her husband made the R&R period of their year-long deployment really count. Emily will be 23 weeks pregnant by the time her husband gets home from his first deployment.  Emily writes:

“My question is, how to you go about reintegrating? I will be completely different from when I last saw him. I can’t do the things we usually love to do together. (Example: Scuba diving, being outside for long periods of time because it’s too hot, and anything else that pregnancy gets in the the way of.) He has been clued in on how the pregnancy is going, but I’m fairly sure he will have no clue how to react to it all when he finally gets home.

 Emily would like some tips from our SpouseBuzz readers who have had an R&R baby or who have had their husband return from a deployment or training at the end of a pregnancy. Here are some suggestions that I have been considering.  What would you add or subtract from our SpouseBuzz list?

Know you aren’t missing anything.  One of the things we military spouses do all the time is compare ourselves to each other.  We are so sure that something would be easier if we were more like this or that norm.  Pregnancy is a weird time in a relationship for everybody.  Just observe your own story as it unfolds with a little curiosity and a touch of wonder.

Put off finding out the sex of the baby.  Wait until homecoming to know if you are having a boy or a girl. This will probably kill you.  But holding that reveal until homecoming means that the pleasure in that discovery will be shared.

Put off some of the decisions.  So many military wives I know are finishers.  They hate to have unfinished To Dos on their lists.  So the inclination will be to get everything ready for that baby.  Which is fine with most guys.  They probably don’t care about what color you paint the baby’s room or which stroller you buy.  If you ask, your guy will probably tell you to suit yourself.  And he will mean it.  But sometimes first dads confess that when they got home they realized every decision had been made.  There is a wistfulness in them that makes me wish some things had been left undone.

Cut the guy some slack. For many expectant fathers, pregnancy is not that interesting.  It isn’t that these dads-to-be are not interested in their own children.  It’s just that pregnancy takes a long time and not a lot is happening on the outside.

When I was pregnant with our daughter and my husband was constantly out to sea, I wish I would have known that pregnancy is not a good indicator of what kind of father a sailor or soldier or  Marine or airman is going to be.  Fatherhood takes time.  Lots of time.  You just have to follow the example of other new military families and keep moving forward.

What are your suggestions? Tips? Ideas?

 

About Jacey Eckhart

Jacey Eckhart is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.

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