When my husband deployed in 2007 (for the 4th time), I was about eight weeks pregnant with our second child. Even though we knew that deployment was most likely coming, we had decided not to let the Army’s schedule interfere with our plans for our family. Having a baby while he was deployed WAS hard – he missed the birth and wasn’t home for good until Jack was 7-months-old. But we muddled through with help from family and friends, and it all worked out.
Fast forward to April 2011. Deployment number five is looming in a matter of days. I had grand plans to get in shape and go back to school while he was gone. I was especially excited because our oldest son Aiden was starting kindergarten, and Jack was starting preschool. I was actually going to start getting time for myself again. My husband deployed on May 10th. On May 17th we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and I got the news that day. I was pregnant. During a deployment. Again.
This was not in my plans. Not by a long shot. “Thrilled and elated” was not my first reaction to seeing that double pink line. I wasn’t upset about having another baby, but rather about doing it during a deployment again. I felt cheated. I’d already done this once before, I wanted my husband to actually be around for my pregnancy this time. How totally unfair that I have to suffer through this by myself again.
I felt this way for a few days, and then I decided that it just wasn’t “me” to feel this way. I’m one of those “bright side” people. I have to be, or I’d never cut it as an Infantry spouse. I decided to be happy about this new little blessing and to deal with it one day at a time. Was I upset that my husband would miss it again? Yes. Was it worth getting so upset over? No. I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy, not be bitter about things that were out of my control.
I’ve been blessed with a great network of friends who were wonderfully supportive during this deployment. I have a fantastic family – on both sides – who came to help during different times. My husband was able to take his leave for the birth and was there for the most important part. He was able to cut the cord for our third son, something he was unable to do for the first two. I now have three healthy, beautiful sons. My husband CAME BACK from deployment just a week ago and that is something I will never take for granted.
Army life is not unfair. Army life is what you choose to make of it. I choose to be grateful for everything I’ve experienced so far. While it seemed so difficult in the moment … I got through it. WE got through it. I am the person I am because of what Army life has thrown at me.
Jennifer Echevarria has been married to her Active Duty Army soldier for 12 years. In that time they have lived in Korea, Germany, Fort Benning, Fort Irwin and are currently stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. She is an Army Family Team Building instructor for ACS and is active in the FRG. She has three sons and spends her days building lego houses and shoveling a path through the laundry pile.