A Military Mom Prepares to Give Birth Alone

Christie Haskell

smiling couple
On her trip to see her husband
before the baby's born
One of my best friends, CafeMom's MelanieLouise, is doing the oh-so-familiar single mom thing right now while her husband is off at military training. Melanie's oldest, Liam, will be 4 next month; daughter Fiona turned 2 last month, and she's 37 weeks pregnant with daughter number two, Alaina. With her estimated due date nearing on April 13, it's certain her husband will not be able to attend the birth.

I spoke to Melanie about how she's handling the situation of her husband being away, in hopes maybe she can provide some advice or comfort for other military moms who're going through the same thing.

Christie: What's it like having to parent alone and the thought of giving birth with your military husband away?

Melanie: Parenting alone is hard. I did it the same time last year, but wasn't pregnant. Now, both kids are very active and aren't content to be home all day, so I take them out and about more often than I otherwise would. I'm also exhausted physically, and don't get enough sleep (just like every pregnant momma). I miss mornings my hubs would take over so I could sleep in and his supervision is missed as well (can we say NEVER peeing or showering alone?). Our plans had been a homebirth where he caught the baby, but he can't even physically be here, so it's a big change from our dream plans.

What are your plans for including him in the birth?

He only has weekends off (sometimes), so he can't just hop on a plane when I'm in labor. Our plan is to iChat video chat while I'm in labor and giving birth (I'm still having a home birth, so I'll move around the laptop), and as long as I don't go in the middle of the night when he doesn't have WiFi, the plan should work! We recently discovered that we can record webcam chat sessions, so that's something we're hoping to remember to have him do as well.

How do you keep yourself from getting anxious or nervous now that you're so close to the birth?

Lots of stress relief tea and meditation. The things I'm honestly the most nervous about are going into labor at night (like I did with my last), and going into labor while he's out in the field and basically unreachable for a week. I'm trying not to stress, though, since I know there's nothing I can do about the situation, and my birth will go so much more smoothly if I'm calm and accepting of everything that's happening.

What advice do you have for any other moms who might be in your situation?

Don't hate the military for taking him away -- it's what we signed up for. As much as you can, rely on family, friends, and neighbors for help. Accept your situation, and know that no amount of complaining or wishing can change it. It's much more fulfilling to just be and not think about it. He'll be home eventually, and you can be SO proud of yourself for doing it on your own. Women are amazing that way.

Have you been in her shoes before? Any advice you can share?


Image via Melanie Hanzlik

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