In Response to MSM’s “You Could Be Next”

bellyColor me shocked when I opened April’s issue of Military Spouse Magazine and found an article titled “You Could Be Next” about the “dangers” of deployment, R&R, and homecoming babies.

Unplanned pregnancies whenever they happen are jarring.  Especially when you’ve closed the door on the idea of expanding or starting a family altogether.

But where was the value added in this piece? Where was the helpful hint? The guide for friends of the unexpected parent-to-be?  Nowhere to be found.

I’m sure some families are not so excited about their deployment, R&R, or homecoming baby, but you can’t assume each new pregnancy is the tragedy this article makes it out to be. Everyone, a soon-to-be mother and father alike, process the idea of a new baby during such a transitional part of life differently.

Some may be over the moon, some may be devastated.

Pregnancy is so personal.

There is no right way to approach it. There is no right way to feel.

My daughter, Karina, was conceived 3 years ago when my husband was on R&R and let me tell you, she was very much wanted by myself and my husband, and my pregnancy was not a “real tragedy” like the article says, regardless of how surprised we were with her speedy appearance.  She was not “dreaded” and certainly none of my friends were sorry for me. In fact, a few friends also tried for their own R&R babies.

I personally was scared and a little disappointed that my husband would miss about half of my pregnancy. Other people plan it that way so their husbands don’t see them “at their worst.” But assuming that deployment babies are the worst?  I can’t even fathom that.  

The article calls the idea of the unexpected deployment baby “unseemly” and “horrific.” And also implies that a car crash is on the same level as a deployment baby. I call the writer insensitive.

I’m going to tell you what you should really do if a friend gets pregnant before or after a deployment (or during R&R)…

Congratulate her and ask how she feels. Go with that. You know how to be a supportive friend. We don’t have to tell you how to do that.

And if you are the expectant mom? Nothing you are feeling is wrong.

You don’t have to be thrilled.

You can cry.

You can be scared.

You can be so excited you tell everyone you see your great news.  And it’s the same story if you are the expectant father.

I don’t really understand what the point of “You Could Be Next” was.  At all.  Maybe you actually want to be next.  Or maybe you don’t.  But making you fearful isn’t going to help.  Calling it a “travesty”? How does that help?

This really hit close to home for me as the mother of an R&R baby, I think if I had read this then, I would have been even more upset that a publication that is supposedly all about empowering military spouses could use a scare tactic about something so personal.

Maybe they are losing their touch and trying to be controversial. Whatever the reason, this article was in very poor taste. We expect better.  We deserve better.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I read the article and was nearly in tears. Me and my husband wanted to be parents so bad. We kept trying month after month. Deployment was looming and we knew if it happened our child would be a “deployment baby” but he’d walk of his ship eventually and meet his child. And finally it happened. He walked off and meant his son on his sons 2 month birthday sure it was hard but it was a car crash nor was alcohol involved as that author imposed. I was horrified she offers zero advice.

  2. Thank you for your article. I appreciate this and was seriously perturbed by MilSpouse Magazine’s original article.

  3. Wow! Our son was conceived right before deployment and the hubs barely made it back in time for the birth. Yes I was scared since I had to be the one doing all the planning and such alone. Thank goodness for supportive friends. I would have never compared it to a car crash though. Insensitive for sure.
    I do think though (and I remind myself) that if I can handle being pregnant while the hubs was deployed and our families being 8+ hours away, what can’t I handle?

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