When They Are Gone On a Deployment For Your Baby’s 1st Year

When They Are Gone On a Deployment For Your Baby’s 1st Year

I never thought much about being a solo parent before my husband joined the military. I always assumed that when we would have kids, he would be there. He would be there for the pregnancy, the first year, the terrible twos and everything else. However, that isn’t what happened. He was deployed when my 2nd son was born and didn’t come home from that deployment until he was almost a year old.

When They Are Gone On a Deployment For Your Baby's 1st Year

 

Because of that long deployment, my husband missed the 1st year of my son’s life. He missed him starting to roll and become mobile. He missed him crawling and saying his first words. He missed starting solid food and learning to stand. He missed so much because the 1st year of your baby’s life is filled with a lot of firsts. That year is such a special one and my husband experienced everything through photos and minimal videos.

The truth is, deployments happen whether you have babies or not. As a military spouse, you have to accept this and make the best of everything. The challenge comes with wanting them to be home and wanting to cherish your baby’s first year. This isn’t easy and it can be difficult to find the balance between the two. How can you fully embrace your current life when a big part of that is missing, overseas in a war zone?

How do you not rush through all of your baby’s 1st? How do you make the best of things when their dad is away?

1.Document everything- Take photos and video and a lot of notes. Send them weekly. Your baby is going to change a lot week by week. Your husband will want to see them grow. You could make a scrapbook or simply send the photos. You could also just post them online if your spouse can see them. I know my husband loved seeing all the photos I sent during the deployments. Don’t forget to send photos with you in them too. I am sure your spouse would love to see those as well.

2.Journal- Journaling is the best thing to do during a deployment. You want to have a place to go to get out everything you are feeling. About your mood, about your day and what you are dealing with on a regular basis. In your journal, you can include information about your baby. You can always read this part to your spouse after they come home or include some of it in a letter to him. Journaling will help you get your feelings out and that is a big part of going through a deployment.

3.Keep Perspective- Keeping perspective is the hardest thing to do when you are going through a difficult time. Yes, you miss your spouse and it totally sucks that he is gone and missing your baby’s first year. However, you get to be with your baby. You get to see everything. You get to be apart of it all and you get to be the one to help your husband experience some of what he is missing back home. Remember, deployments won’t last forever and most people do not have to experience such a long deployment like I had to. Yes, your husband is missing a lot right now but he will be home and be able to make memories with you and your children again soon. Remember that.

4.Stay Busy- I know staying busy is the most common advice you can get about surviving a deployment but it’s so true. The busier you are, the more time will fly. Just keep busy doing fun activities that your children enjoy. If you have older children, make plans for them and bring your baby along. If the baby is your only child, make plans to go to playdates and walks to get out of the house. Find other mom friends and try to work on yourself as you can. Staying busy with your baby will help you enjoy that first year but also allow time to pass so your husband will be home with you again.

Missing a lot of their child’s first year is hard for service members. It can also be hard on the parent who is at home. Wanting to enjoy that first year fully but also wanting the year to go by so they can get back to regular family life. This isn’t easy and one of those things military spouses have to deal with during their years as a military family.

Leave me a comment letting me know if your spouse was away during your baby’s first year and what you did to get through that time.

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3 thoughts on “When They Are Gone On a Deployment For Your Baby’s 1st Year”

  1. I’m hoping this will help me. My husband is leaving when our first born is a few weeks old, and he will be gone for a year. He will get to come home halfway for a couple of weeks. We did not imagine it would be this way and I am devastated for him. He will miss everything! Weekly pictures, videos, and journals will be a thing!

  2. My daughter was born 2 months prior to 9/11. On 9/11 my husband came home packed everything green in our house and put it by the door. 2 months later he and everything green went out the front door for a 10 month deployment in Afghanistan. The 2 months he was home before going was a flurry of pre deployment training and was hardly ever home. When he was home I video taped everything , him changing diapers, him bathing her, reading to her, feeding her, singing to her… Everything. I made a 45 minute video tape and we played it EVERY single day he was away. I believe to this day that tape was the reason she took to him immediately when he came home when she was very reserved with everyone else. She was familiar with his face and voice and when he came and held her it was like he had been home all along. I had a calendar that I filled in daily and while he was home for the first years of our older to children she has the best documented baby book ever. For myself and the older kids I put an old pair of his combat boots by the front door and his green winter gear it in our bedroom closet where his clothes usually hung so that it still looked like he lived with us. The kids took some of his clothes and filled them with pillows and put him on the couch and they would pretend to fight with him for the remote. We had good days and bad days but we survived. Call on your friends and neighbours for support, they know exactly what you are going through. Hell I met half of my neighbours that way… We all pull together when the times are tough and I am eternally grateful for my extended military family 🙂

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