Giving Birth Without Your Husband
If you walk into a room of Military wives and ask how many of them have given birth without their husbands, you would get quite a few hands. It is something that has happened to a lot of us. Despite planning, a compassionate chain of command and a lot of prayers, sometimes the dads have to miss the birth. This just comes with being a Military spouse.
The reason I had to give birth without my husband was because I was due right in the middle of a deployment. He left in August and I was due in December. In some cases, they might let someone stay back for a birth. That was not the case for us that time. When I was due with baby #3, my husband did get to stay back because he was not allowed to deploy until November and I was due December 1st.
He just missed the birth
With my Germany baby, the baby I had without my husband, I was due December 18th. I was pretty sure I was going to have him early because I had my oldest son two weeks early. They told us they would try to send him home for R&R in time for the birth. They ended up sending him back to Germany for R&R leaving on December 14th so he would be home on my due date. Yes, it can take three days to get to Germany from Iraq, even though it is closer than flying to the US. I went into labor the morning of the 14th and had him without my husband. He got to meet him when he was three days old.
Thank goodness for mom
Luckily I was able to have my Mom there with me. When I found out he might not be there in time for the birth, I asked if she could come out. Since we knew my other son was early, we had to plan on baby #2 being that early too and she came about 2.5 weeks before my due date. In the end he was only born four days early. I almost think the stress of knowing my husband wasn’t leaving Iraq until the 14th caused him to wait a bit longer to be born.
Sometimes they won’t make it home in time
In some cases, the service member is not going to make it home for the birth or even be home for a few months after the birth either. This depends on the situation, the unit, rank and all of that. During that first deployment, I had a few friends who got pregnant on R&R thinking their husband would be home in more than enough time to be there for the birth. In the end, the deployment was extended for 15 months total and the men were not allowed to go home to see their children being born. They got to meet them when they were about two months old.
If you think you might be in a situation where you will be giving birth without your husband, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Others have done it before and you will be able to get through it.
When you have to give birth without your husband
- Find someone who can attend the birth with you. Family member, friend and in some cases a doula can step in when your husband can not be there. Find someone you trust that you want to be by your side. This will make a big difference and you won’t have to go through the birth alone. Ideally the father of the child is supposed to be there for the birth, but if he can’t, a good friend or family member is the next best thing.
- Prepare yourself for the possibility. If your husband just left and they tell you he can come back for the birth, don’t believe that 100%. Things always change in the Military. Promises can be broken. Nothing is set in stone until it happens. Tell yourself early on that if he can’t be there, you will be okay. Then hope and pray that he can be there. It is all you can do.
- Use Skype. We didn’t have this back in 2006 but these days women are giving birth while their husband is watching and cheering them on using Skype. Now this will take planning and help from the Unit but it can be done. Thank goodness for modern technology that this is even an option. Now a dad can help coach his wife through childbirth, even from overseas.
- Take any help you can get.. When people find out that you are having a baby by yourself, they will offer to help you. Take them up on it. From watching your other kids to taking you meals. Don’t say no to this kind of help. You will need the help and be very grateful for it later.
As a Military spouse, you have to make sacrifices and giving birth without your husband could be one of them. Know you are strong enough to handle doing this and remember, you are not alone.
Have you had to give birth without your husband? How did it go?