What is it like? — The Bump
Military Families

What is it like?

I'm about 12 weeks, and my husband and I are seriously talking about him joining the AF. He wants to talk to a recruiter asap, but at the same time, we're both afraid they'll send him to basic, then training school and he might be gone when the baby is born. He really wants to be here since it's our first, but he feels like this is something he needs to do, for himself as well as our family. Are they flexible about that kind of thing, like when you leave for basic? And also, if there are any moms reading this who went through the birth and the months after with your husband gone, any advice on how to cope? I can barely stand it when he's gone for a couple of days, I'm dreading the weeks and months, even though I would be proud of him.

Re: What is it like?

  • There is some flexibility there's not much. They may tell him he won't ship until later in the year but then a slot may open up for him to ship sooner. The best way to get an idea is to actually speak to a recruiter. Why is he looking AF? He really should look at all branches to find the best fit. What job does he want to do?

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    CJ 05/29/2013

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  • There are **so** many variables concerning when he would leave for basic training.  It can be difficult to get into the Armed Forces due to the economy and reduction of forces.  The highly sought job slots can be difficult to come by, delaying entry to basic training for many months.  I wish YH luck!

    As for being pregnant and delivering while DH was away--I did it four years ago.  DH left for out of state training when I was about 22 weeks along, then deployed when I was about 30 weeks.  It was difficult and lonely, but I was near my family and that helped.  And, I'll be honest.  DH has been deployed two out of the last four years.  Being apart with an infant was much less hard than nearly eleven months apart with a three year old.  

    As for the time spent apart, if YH is certain that this is what he is going to do, it is in your best interest to build a strong support network for yourself (and the baby when s/he arrives).  While I was able to communicate daily with MH, during basic training, communication is not daily, likely inconsistent and can be sporadic.  Yes, being apart can be difficult, but you've got to step up.  Do the things you like to do, eat or watch on TV that YH does not like.  Find a hobby you really enjoy.  Do something.  Military life is rewarding, but it comes with challenges.  MH and I have been married for almost seven years, and we are living in house number seven.  We've moved coast to coast, and back again.  We currently live in Germany.  (MH deployed three months after we moved here.  We live off post and I studied Spanish in high school and college.  It's been challenging, fun, but hard.)

    My tongue-in-cheek motto is "Embrace the suck".  There are days that military life sucks and I want to be done.  But, this is our life.  I don't want to spend my time hating a lifestyle that simply is what it is.  My being upset about anything military related will get me nowhere.  So, I do my very best to be positive and make the best of things.  The military dictates a decent part of our life, but I choose to be positive.  

    This may not be what you were hoping or wanting to hear, but it's been my experience.  Best of luck with all that the future holds for you, YH and your little one. 

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  • I agree with both of the above comments. Being a military wife is not easy and completely unpredictable but it's very rewarding at the same time. The people you meet along the way become family and you learn to get through the time apart.

    I think talking to a recruiter is a good idea, but just remember that anything they say can change at any time!

    Good luck!
  • I love what everyone else has said so far! It's all true. Military life as a spouse especially is hard but for me also an adventure you get to see the world. All though doing it alone at times is hard so I agree that keep yourself busy, find hobbies, support groups I think some bases have them and just try to enjoy it... Not everyone can experience living all over the world and get paid for it. Now as far as baby if he is gone during that time I would plan lots of visits from family/friends if you can... Spread them out over a period of time so there is someone there at most times. This is what I did. All though my husband wasn't deployed when baby was born she is now 8 weeks old he's also a recruiter and gone from 7am till 8pm so having family lined up to come made the world of difference for me. If you have the support of family and friends... Even if their far away... It will help tons; in my experience. And to try to keep in mind that no matter where your stationed try to enjoy the experience and most likely it's temporary. Maybe temporary for a long time, years, but military life can change quickly so you need to be flexible. Now as far as talking to a recruiter they will be a world of help! If their anything like my husband he's been in for 16 years and like a walking manual for the Navy though. He will not sugar coat things but also supports the lifestyle so he will share the benefits as well. I personally think, and this is just my thought, that any recruiter that makes it all seem "perfect" and you always get exactly what you want how you want it... Just wants to get the recruit. Again, my experience. If your husband has ever considered Navy let me know and he can chat with my husband ... Even if your not in the same state as us NE. Good luck : it's a big decision that should be make as a family in the best interest of the family and new little one congrats!!!!
    Amy Lee
  • My hubby left at 12 weeks preggo with DD2 (his first) and missed her birth and pretty much the entire pregnancy. There really isn't much you can do in the way of the military and they will try to work with you as much as possible, but a lot of times their hands are tied and they can't do anything either, so don't get your hopes up that he will be there.

    Honestly I leaned on my family quite a bit. I also had my older daughter and a full time job and my parents did absolutely everything they could to help out. Granted I'm not a party girl and any time I was away from my daughters was spent working they still helped and urged me to take some personal time even if it was just to get my nails done or something.

    I missed my hubby terribly and I wouldn't ever want to have to redo those 10 months between basic and him making the fleet (he's a Marine), but it was the best choice for our family. You'll come to learn, if he does get in the military, that there are A LOT of times that you just have to suck it up and keep pushing forward.

    Good luck to you!
  • My first baby was born while my husband was deployed. He left when I was 22 weeks pregnant and got home when our baby was 3 months old. I tried to skype him when I was delivering but I hadn't realized contractions were contractions and by the time I got to the hospital I was 10cm and it was the middle of the night for him so I had no way to get a hold of him.

    They won't care that you're pregnant and delivering. He will go to basic when they tell him, and he will go to tech school when they tell him to, and when he gets orders they will move him when hes told to go. Sometimes these things go fast, sometimes they do not.

    I've known girls who have PCSed in their 3rd trimester. 

    If it's something you both think is good for your family, do it. You'll survive it. You survive because you have to, you adapt to the life quickly because you don't have the choice. There are wonderful parts about this life but there are challenges too. Some people are fortunate to never to deploy, others, like my husband, have a job that makes them necessary for many deployments.

    It is not a decision to take lightly. You have to realize that this is not like a normal job. If you are sick and at home with a crying baby, your husband can't call out sick from work to help you. Your family may be far away and not able to come be with you. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays will be missed.

    But at the end of the day you know that you have done something important, your family has contributed to the whole country. You don't expect thanks but you can be proud of what you're doing.

    I'm happy to raise my daughter in a military family because she will learn how to adapt, and to sacrifice for the good of others. I've learned a lot more selflessness since marrying my husband. He is on his 8th year in the Air Force and hes really good at what he does. Hes proud of himself and I'm proud of him.

    It's a hard life, but it's a good life. One to be proud of.

  • It was hard. I had a lot of family support, though. I'd have my teenage neighbor come over on the weekends to help with the kids so I could get some sleep! DH got back when DD was 4 months and it was so much better after 
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    m/c 2013
  • He has talked to an Army recruiter, around this time last year, but neither of us felt like that was a good choice.  He hates water so Navy was a no.  We both have family that were in the AF and it just seems like the best fit.  He wants to be a mechanic and work on planes and helicopters, but we both know you don't always get the job you want.  
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