Ed. Note: At our SpouseBuzz LIVE event in 29 Palms, a group of moms-to-be and brand new moms put together a list that made the SpouseBuzz bloggers remember what it was really like to be pregnant for the first time or brand new moms. Some of these things I did not experience (every pregnancy is different!) But some of these things drove me crazy when I was a new mom-- like the meltdowns I had due to #4 and #7. I thought you would like to see some of the problems they are experiencing now to see how far you have already come.
1) We are not babymaking machines. How many times have you moved to a remote duty station and heard, "Well, when I couldn't get a job, I just started cranking out babies." No matter how remote 29 Palms is, that's not what we want to hear. Some of us don't want to be babymaking machines. And some of us would give anything to start a family, but it's just not that simple for some couples.
2) There's fear when you get that plus sign on the pregnancy test. If you have a seven year old and your husband's unit announces a deployment, it's not like you can rethink having kids. But those of us just in the beginning of building our families can spend a lot of time fretting about the future. As soon as we get that positive pregnancy test, we start calculating where our husbands will be in 9 months. Or the first year of baby's life. Or trying to remember when exactly we're PCSing and hoping it's not the same month as the due date.
3) PCSing gets infinitely harder. An international PCS with a six week old? Yowzers. And when the kid is old enough to walk but not old enough to sit and watch Finding Nemo, a PCS is definitely no fun.
4) Hormones are rough. Military life is a rollercoaster of emotions. Military life on pregnancy and postpartum hormones is a train to crazytown. Add in sleep deprivation and we are often one step from emotional meltdown.
5) You do not remember what sleep deprivation feels like. Sure, you remember those sleepless nights, but you cannot accurately empathize that level of exhaustion. There's a reason sleep deprivation and recordings of babies crying are used as torture techniques.
6) 10 days of paternity leave sounds good... unless you have to spend the first eight days traveling back and forth to the NICU from a remote location. Then it doesn't give you much time to get settled at home before Daddy goes back to work.
7) We are lonely. If you move to a new installation with a 14 year old, you enroll him in soccer and then make friends with the other kids' moms. But if you go from being a childless couple to being Mommy and Daddy at the same duty station, it can be hard to adjust. Sitting at home staring at a sleeping newborn can feel overwhelming.
8) No one wants to take a baby to DEERS. All those on-base appointments are a major hassle, but loading up baby, traveling to IPAC, being told that your Marine has to be there with you when you called ahead and were told the opposite, packing baby back up again and leaving, only to do it again another day when your husband can get off work ... that stinks. And that's just one errand; now you have to go to DEERS and the hospital and the ID office ...
9) We steal time from the future. If the baby goes to sleep at 7 PM, it's frustrating when Daddy doesn't get home until 6:45. So we push bedtime a little, knowing that one day in the near future, Daddy will deploy and miss most of that year of baby's life. We try to squeeze in minutes elsewhere, often at the expense of sleep.
10) We don't go shopping for fun. We can't make the baby be quiet in the commissary, nor can we really leave the cart of groceries and return later when the baby is behaving. So please don't be the lady who rolls her eyes at how much noise we're making. We really aren't doing this as a hobby.
At SpouseBuzz LIVE in Twentynine Palms, CA, military spouses use crowd wisdom to put together their Top Ten Lists. This dynamic group included Jerrica and Baby Wyatt, Calla and the baby in her belly, Bre and Baby Liam, Leilani and Baby Liam, Ashley and Baby Louis, Megan and Baby Kiah, Shanetta and Baby Tia, Laura and the baby in her belly, Jonel and Baby Isabel and SpouseBuzz blogger Sarah.