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Wife on Bed Rest: Can't Servicemember Return?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My son-in-law was deployed to Kuwait a couple of months ago. Shortly after leaving, his wife (our daughter) found out that she is pregnant. They already have a three-year-old and an 18-month-old, so that keeps my daughter busy under normal circumstances.

She is having serious issues with this pregnancy. Her doctor is ordering bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. Therein lies the problem.

Originally, we had thought (hoped) that our son-in-law would be able to come home on emergency leave. Now we find out that this situation does not qualify as an emergency. Did I mention that my daughter also has early-stage cervical cancer?

Anyhow, she spoke to some guy who is in charge of something and he basically told her that she is SOL. Since her other two children are from two different fathers, this person suggested that they be sent to live with their biological dads. Great in theory, but neither father wants to be in their lives.

He also suggested that I drop everything I'm doing to go to Colorado and live there, essentially, until the baby is born.

Both my husband and I work. I have an 11-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old, partially disabled daughter who both live with us.

There is no one who can go stay with my daughter. There is nothing she can do. She is in a new city, in a new marriage and has no friends where she is.

Where is the help? Where is the support? Was this bozo on the phone correct? Is there really nothing that can be done?

People automatically think that she has family and friend support out in Colorado, but she does not. I get out there when I can, but there is no way I can give her the attention she will need. Any advice you could give would be great. I'd sure like to give that high-ranking bozo a piece of my mind!

Sincerely,
Missy

Dear Missy,

I totally understand your anxiety regarding your daughter and her family. I’m not sure who your daughter spoke to by phone, but I’m pretty sure that person doesn’t have the final say.

I think your daughter should do the following. First, it will help if she can get a statement from her doctor that lists her current conditions and that she will need to be on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.

The letter should also state that she will need assistance to care for her two young children, who are in the home.

The doctor could also state that she recently moved to the area and she has not established a network of support and her nearest relatives are not able to give her the long-term assistance that is needed.

The letter should be given to her husband so he can give the letter to his commander in the rear, who will make sure this issue is discussed with the commander in Kuwait. Your son-in-law’s commander will have the final say.

Here’s the deal: They could say your son-in-law cannot return home to be with his wife. Why? Because there are many spouses who are on bed rest, without family and friends to help them.

Somehow, these women manage and make it through a difficult situation because their husband could not return home until it was time for R&R or his tour was over. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Your daughter may be able to qualify for the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) because she has a high-risk pregnancy. With this program, she may qualify for special services and some type of assistance in her home that would help her. Her doctor would have to refer her to this program. It’s worth a try.

The Family Readiness Group (FRG) may be able to help with caring for the children and meals if they have families available who can help.

Lastly, the chaplain may be able to offer assistance in this matter too. Please let me know how your daughter is doing, OK? I am hoping for the best.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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