Painfully Aware


I went to my initial consult at the geneticist's office yesterday, and at one point the doctor said, "During your appointment with the genetics counselor, you will also talk about the risks of what you're doing while your husband is deployed."

What he didn't come right out and say was, "You do know that you could get pregnant with triplets and then your husband could get killed in war, right?"

My answer to that is that, yes, I am painfully aware of that possibility. But I think he has it exactly backwards. I think it's civilians who need to be counseled of these risks, not us.

We milspouses are acutely aware that our spouses have dangerous jobs. We are haunted by imaginary funeral plans, by what to tell our children, and by what the rest of our life will look like without him. We think about the danger they're in all the time. Of course I have already considered the possibility that he could die on this deployment. And that all this work to have a baby might come back to me in a serious twist of irony if anything happened to him.

Our spouses' jobs are dangerous all the time, even when they're not deployed. My husband recently returned from a training school where a SEAL was accidentally killed last year. (Imagine my horror when my husband left and I googled the school, only to find that article!) Pilots are in danger when they fly for training on normal days. Our troops die in garrison too. We know this and we are prepared for it. I, for one, sometimes wish I were less aware of it and could live in blissful ignorance.

So I don't think I need the counseling. I think the civilian couple who does IVF needs to be reminded that wife could get pregnant with triplets and husband could get hit by a bus. They're the ones who aren't prepared every day for disaster to strike. They're the ones who don't have family care plans and wills and imaginary substitute husbands picked out.

Come to think of it, my own husband might benefit from this counseling too. I am sure he's not prepared to have triplets and then lose me. Remember this?

One other thing that AirForceWife and I discussed in that bookstore washow our husbands absolutely do not plan our deaths. When my husbandand I went to purchase additional life insurance, he initially saidthat we didn't need any on me because my life is not dangerous. Hecannot even conceive of losing me, and I am certain he never thinksabout it or plans for it or arranges himself a second marriage. Iwrote about this a year ago, about how I wanted him to help shoulder the burdenwhile he was deployed, that I worried about him constantly but he neverworried about me. It wore on me, constantly thinking that he mightdie, and it kind of hurt my feelings that he never lies in bed at nightand cries because his mind starts to play through scenes from myfuneral.

So really, I think I'm the last person who needs counseling on how fragile my life and happiness is. I remind myself of it far too often for comfort already.

Go counsel someone else who has never heard of anticipatory grief...

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