Deployment and baby frustrations... — The Bump
Military Families

Deployment and baby frustrations...

I feel like a horrible mom for even having the following thoughts: this deployment would be easier to deal with if I weren't a parent and if I'd found out *before* we got pregnant that DH was going to deploy, LO probably woudn't exist.  I love my son with all of my being, but there are many mornings when I wake up with him for the 2nd or 3rd time that night, the "damn it, I didn't sign up for this crap!" thought flashes through my head and then I feel horrible for even thinking it.  I wouldn't trade LO for anything, or go back and redo anything given the chance, but I don't know how to stop feeling this way.  I know the deployment is hard on DH because he's missing all of LO's firsts... but I don't think he realizes how difficult it is dealing with 3 and a half months of no more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep at night and knowing that there are at least 5 more months of that, unless heaven forbid the tour should be extended.

There are many nights/mornings when I just have to walk away from LO for a few minutes to collect myself - even if he's screaming his head off - else I feel I may end up hurting him.  I know that I never would intentionally, but I'm always afraid that I will get frustrated to the point of being rougher with him than I should.  Then I feel like a horrible mother for getting frustrated with him.

Anyone else feel this way?  Any advice on how to deal with these feelings?

ETA: DH is Army National Guard, so we live in the middle of nowhere and the only other military wife I know locally is my MIL who has a less than positive opinion of the military after FIL was in the Guard for 26 years.  The only positive support I have is FIL, but he only knows the deployment from the soldier's side, not the spouse's.  It's helpful for seeing things from DH's side, but not very helpful for finding solutions to my frustrations.

 So there's this boy. He kinda stole my heart. He calls me "Mom"

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Re: Deployment and baby frustrations...

  • Do you work or ever get a day to yourself?  It sounds like you're in dire need of a break.
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  • I hate you're having such a hard time. I agree with the pp. It sounds like you need some time away from LO. I think it would be great if you could find some things  aside from parenting to keep you sane. Even if there are no other mil spouses around, are there any mommy groups you could become invovled with. I know this is not exactly a break from LO, but it would at least give you some adult companionship and company on occassion. Hang in there and find an outlet soon
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  • I know exactly how you feel!! I am in the same exact situation/same exact feelings. I feel like I am the only mom in the world that doesn't have a "happy baby." My DD fusses all the time, doesn't want ANYONE to hold her other than me. She won't play by herself, not even for 5 minutes. And is still waking up 8 times at night and will only go back to sleep for a bottle. My DH has been gone 11 months now and I am at my wits end. I go to Nursing school full time and I work. So my "outlet" isn't even me time. It's very frustrating!! I'm hoping this is all a phase that will go away but I'm not so sure!!
  • Have you gotten in touch with YH's rear detachment? FRG leader? There are several programs for Guardsman to receive child care and counseling while their spouse is deployed.  Look up military one source. You can talk to a counselor on the phone or even online, it may not get you out of the house but you can vent and get some free counseling.



    CJ 05/29/2013

  • I know how you feel being overwhelmed. My DH deployed when our LO was 10 weeks and won't be home until she's almost a year old. Mine is also a very temperamental baby who only wants to be held by me 24/7, and wakes up

    All night long. I feel like no one understands that I'm on call 24/7 and would l 

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  • *would love to just have one night of sleep or even a break!

    It is so hard. I'm reluctant to leave my baby with strangers bc I unfortunately just went through an abduction scare. But, my husbands unit does have a program to offer 10-15 hours of free childcare for the de

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  • imageExcited Mrs P:

    *would love to just have one night of sleep or even a break!

    It is so hard. I'm reluctant to leave my baby with strangers bc I unfortunately just went through an abduction scare. But, my husbands unit does have a program to offer 10-15 hours of free childcare for the de

    Deployment. So maybe your DHs offers something similar? If not, maybe a babysitter for a few hours once a week to help give you a break.  

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  • You are SO normal to be having those feelings. Some babies are harder and ore demanding than others. If anyone makes you feel guilty for your feelings, they don't know what it's like to have a demanding baby and be sleep deprived. Having a baby and kids is SO hard. You need the help and support of your spouse. It is too hard to do alone. Many single mothers say they couldn't do it without a huge support network, and you don't have one! I have a 3.5 yo and a 15 month old. At least I am sleeping though the night at this point, thank God. But my H deploys soon for about a year and I don't know how sane I will stay. I seriously question how this whole deployment of a family man is supposed to be okay. How can a man leave his wife with young children to raise on her own for a year? Not blaming the H's, but I think the military needs to provide more concrete help - like free childcare (i know about the 16 hours on base, i mean more than that - someone coming to your home). Just know that each day you get through is one day closer to it getting easier, one day at a time. Your situation is hard WITH a husband at home.

    However - the military DOES offer free counseling. Is there a base near you? I am using it and it is very helpful! 

  • and i agree with pp - hire a babysitter. I plan to have one come 3-5 times a weel just for an hour or 2 per time. It will help a lot i think
  • My son had to have invasive skull surgery when he was 9 months old.  DH deployed 3 days after we got home from the hospital.  It was misery.  Absolute, complete misery.  DS wouldn't sleep.  He was on some serious narcotic painkillers.  I was dealing with the emotions of DH having just left on deployment, in addition to figuring out how to help a child through surgical recovery - and to top it all off, it was Christmas and not a single family member came to visit us.  Not. One.  So I was also dealing with the emotions of feeling as though we got the shaft from our family.  And obviously, since he'd just had surgery, we couldn't travel to visit family.  I was lonely.  I was miserable.  I was sleep deprived.  I was depressed.  And there were plenty of times where I felt incredibly jealous of other wives in my husband's command who were dealing with the deployment sans kids.  They had freedom.  They could go out for some retail therapy without shelling out an extra $50 for a babysitter.  They didn't have a little one tied to their boobs all night long.  They were getting full nights of sleep.  Heck, I was jealous of DH because HE was getting full nights of sleep.  Sure he was deployed and working hard and saving the world and it was sad to be so far away, especially after DS's surgery, but he was SLEEPING at night!  

    All that to say, your feelings are 100% normal.  Let me reiterate: 100% normal.

    What you need is a break.  A babysitter - even if just for an hour or two.  Even if all you do is take a nap during those two hours, it will be worth it.  Or get a pedicure. Or go to a library and just soak up the peace and quiet.

    If there is anything that my second child has taught me, it is that I have to take care of myself too and that is okay.  Sometimes, baby's needs can wait.  It is hard to take that to heart with your first child.  But when baby two comes along, and you're also dealing with a toddler, you realize that sometimes kid #1's needs are more important in that moment and the baby has to cry for 5 or 10 or even 15 minutes before you can get to her.  And this has also taught me that my needs sometimes have to come first too.  Part of the art of being a mom is learning how to balance everybody's needs.  And there are times when you have to come first.  A happy mom is a better mom.  A depressed, miserable mom is no good for anybody, least of all baby.

    So yes, find a babysitter and take back some "me" time.  You'll feel better for it and you'll be a better mom for it and you'll resent your baby less.  

    In the mean time, don't be so hard on yourself.  Of course you love your child.  But show me a mom who says she loves every second of every day of being a mom and I'll show you a liar.  That doesn't mean we don't love our children or do our best for them.

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  • You need a break!  When my DH was deployed from May-December this year (my son was 6 months and my daughter was 22 months when he left) I hired a sitter to come at the same time every week.  That way I could schedule any appointment I needed to (dentist, doctor, hair, mani/pedi, coffee with a friend, etc) in advance and know I would have a sitter.  It cost us about $40/week to do that.  It is cheaper than therapy and definitely preserved my sanity on more than one occasion.

    As bad as it sounds, at some points during deployment I really "appreciated" my tough road to parenthood.  Because I have gone through infertility, I really KNOW how I felt when I wanted kids and it wasn't happening.  Because of that, I KNOW I am happier as a busy solo mama during deployment than I would have been had neither of my kids been born and I was alone during deployment.  As hard as those 7 months were for me, I never once questioned whether I wanted my children.  I truly attribute that to my infertility...  a road that was crappy crappy crappy, but made me appreciate everything about motherhood - even the really hard things and really stinky situations (like deployment).

    You guys should be making a little more money with your husband gone (family separation at the very least, but maybe tax-free, combat pays, sea pays, etc).  Put some of that money aside to give yourself a break at least one day per week.  Invest in yourself.  Look into whether your base has a drop in daycare.  They are usually pretty cheap (about $40 for the whole day) and would give you that much needed break.  If you don't have that or don't want to do the daycare setting, go on and get the free military account.  Then you can interview sitters in your area.  That is how we found our regular sitter... she has been coming since February and is AWESOME.

    Hang in there!

    Married 6/28/03

    Kate ~ 7/3/09 *** Connor ~ 11/11/10

    4 miscarriages: 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014


    No more TTC for us. We are done, and at peace, as a family of 4.

    "Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” — Charles Dickens


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