Andi is moderating this panel, which includes Wife Unit, Sarah, and Joan D'Arc.
Andi is introducing this panel as the everyone has a story" panel. Do not think you do not have an inspiring story. As Milspouses, we are an extraordinary group.
Joan D'Arc: introducing self, and her story of her Husband's injury.
WifeUnit: share story of her premature birth, and Husband's IA.
Sarah: discussing Husband's deployment, and challenges they face.
How do spouses adjust to deployment, the change and alteration in lifestyle, and how do we do it while facing extraordinary challenges.
Sharing stories in a public forum is difficult.
Sarah: Is sharing the story of her first miscarriage that happened at the last SpouseBuzz Live event. Is sharing the story of her second pregnancy, infertility and miscarriage. It is hard for me to hear Sarah speaking of her experience. There are a lot of tears in the audience, Sarah is handling herself very well.
Wife Unit: Sharing the story of her pregnancy, miscarriage, and Husband's deployment. DH returned, and Wife Unit found herself was pregnant again. Talks about involving her DH in the pregnancy, and video conferencing the birth.
Joan D'Arc: Speaks of finding out her Husband was wounded, his subsequent 37 surgeries, being in Grad school, and how it altered their lives. She says so many positive things have happened since, they have not looked back. How many people that have benefited from mentor-ship, voice activated laptops, advocacy of the wounded troops and needs. The birth of Project Valour IT.
Sarah: Claiming she has become Jim Carey from "liar liar", she tells everything, and the truth can be difficult for some people to read. She puts out so much information out, and she does it to help just person.
Wife Unit: Started blogging for family information. Just wanted to blog to keep family updated, and became so thrilled with her fellow spousal community. She posted about trouble with reintegration, and how difficult that can be discussing with people that do not understand.....
Joan D'Arc: VERY reluctant about blogging, but her Husband blog had readers that were SO CONCERNED...she was "the accidental blogger". She enjoyed the feedback, and company. She discusses blogging as therapuetic. Encouraging people to blog, as an outlet.
Andi asking the audience and asking to share deployment gremlins.
Many in the audience can relate to the things being shared.
We have a relatively new person to the community in the audience. She literally found SpouseBuzz on the Internet very recently and decided to come to SpouseBuzz Live when she read they would be near her community. She has had more than her fair share of deployment gremlins, very serious life issues that would be difficult during any time. She felt disconnected and alone. Someone in the audience responded to this audience member by telling her she "wasn't anymore" and the rest of the audience chimed in to agree. She will certainly leave this event with some information and contacts to help her with any remaining gremlins.
Sarah reiterates that the internet community makes the world a much smaller place. You don't have to be face-to-face to receive support and SpouseBuzz is a place where readers can always find someone for support.
Another audience member shares that someone intervened during a stressful time for her to remind her that, "Your husband is fine. You're fine. Your baby is fine. All the other stuff doesnt' matter." She said that she repeats this to herself when the stress is getting to her (whether her husband is deployed or not).
A newer military spouse in the audience said the experiences being discussed "scare her" to which Andi responds by asking everyone in the audience whether they would have it any other way to which the audience collectively says, "No."
Other audience members talk about their own experiences blogging and meeting their "imaginary friends" in person (to use Butterfly Wife's phrase) and how connections can be made through either having your own blogs or commenting on other peoples' blogs. This type of participation and the connections it can build, especially during a deployment, is said to be a sanity saver.
An audience member asks how readers can connect with each other once they find each other on a website or blog, including SpouseBuzz. Sarah explains how, in the comments section, people can be contacted via their names at the site as they comment. Sometimes, commenting readers will also reach out through the comments to other readers and make connections off the blog that way. And, once connections are made, sometimes these can become face-to-face meetings at events like SpouseBuzz Live.
A 'two-time' military spouse (ex-Army wife, current Navy wife) thanks the event participants and planners for having the event today. She talks about how she used to feel isolated and like she was the "only one" going through certain things. She says it's events like this that can help people make connections and encourages audience members to "use this" experience to reach out to each other.
Connections are being made all over the place--some of the vendors set up are reaching out to those in the audience when they realize they can offer assistance and insight.
The suggestion is made that those whose spouses are home should freely loan them out to those whose spouses are not. Military families understand each other better sometimes than other families may.
We're wrapping up with audience comments and moving on to PRIZES!!!!!!