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 commend and lots of prayer, sometimes the dads have to miss the birth. It just comes with being a Military spouse. It can happen.
For us it was because I was having a baby during our deployment. He left in August and I was due in December. In some cases they might let someone stay back for a birth but it just depends on the situation. When I was due with Josh, my husband did get to stay back but it was also a case of him not being allowed to deploy until November 1st even though the unit left in August. I was due December 1st so they let him stay back and he eventually left in February.
With Drew, 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 Daniel 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 in 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. Anyway, I went into labor the morning of the 14th and had him without Ben. Ben got to meet him when he was three days old.
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 Daniel was early, we had to plan on Drew 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.
In some cases the service member is not going to make it home for the birth or be home for a few months after the birth either. It really just 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 have to give 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.
- 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. It will make a big difference if you don’t have to go through the birth alone and that you know you have someone on your side there for the whole thing. 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 in 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 it. 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 it. 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 it and remember, you are not alone.
Have you had to give birth without your husband? How did it go?