When is The Best Time For a Military Family To Have a Baby?
We started this military journey with one little boy. Over the years we added two more and many times I wonder what we would have done had we started this journey without any children.
As you probably already know, when you have children as a military family you will be a solo parent, at least some of the time. You know that your spouse can miss the birth of your child, your pregnancy, and the terrible twos.
The truth is, a lot of military couples end up having children, at least after a couple of years. And they have them despite the stresses of military life. But when is the best time for a military family to have a baby? Should you even try to plan?
When we got pregnant with our 2nd little boy, we knew my husband would probably be deployed when he was born. We knew that a deployment was in the future but we also wanted to have another baby. The timing worked for us in every other way.
During our 1st deployment, I had friends who got pregnant over R&R, assuming their husband would be back home a few months before the birth. In the end, the Dads came home to two-month-olds because the deployment got extended.
The truth is, you can’t plan to have a baby around military life.
Missions, deployments, and orders change all of the time. What you think is going to happen will probably change during the nine months of your pregnancy. If you try to plan for your spouse to be home with you during the birth, things could change and they could be gone anyway, despite the best type of planning.
If you plan to get pregnant right after deployment, you will improve the chances that they will not be deployed when the baby is born but none of that is foolproof. For one thing, they could deploy again. For another, they could have to go to some type of training and be gone anyway.
Sometimes it takes you longer to get pregnant than you think
Even if you got pregnant pretty quickly in the past, that might not be the case in the future. Infertility can cause extra stress when it comes to planning around the military.
If you have a spouse that comes and goes a lot, you could keep missing the window to get pregnant and that can be frustrating. There is a lot to think about when deciding to have a child under this type of pressure.
How long will they be in the military?
How long they plan to serve can be a factor in when you should have a baby. If you are rather young and they only plan to serve a few years, waiting until military life is over might just be the best choice. You would be able to avoid the stresses of solo parenting and enjoy the time you two have together before kids come.
If you are older, this might not be an option. I know for us it wasn’t because we already had one child and knew we wanted a couple more. We didn’t know how long my husband was going to be in the military and my husband was already in his 30s.
If your spouse is planning to do 20+ years in the military, waiting until they get out might not be an option. You might have to decide to have children while he is still serving.
Do you both agree on having children?
Do you both agree on having children? Do you both agree on having children right now? Talk about what your plans are for having kids. Make sure you are on the same page.
If you want a baby right now, and your spouse wants to have one in five years, having one in the middle of military life can make everything a lot more stressful.
The most important thing is to be on the same page. Talk about your options and come up with a plan. That could be having a baby right now, that could be waiting another five years.
It’s okay to wait
I have quite a few friends who didn’t have children until they were in their 30s. I have friends that simply do not want to have children at all. That is okay too.
Just because so many do have children in the military, that doesn’t mean you have to, or that you are behind in life. Your life goals are just as important.
Remember, when you are trying to decide when the best time to have a baby in the military is, there really isn’t one.
There can be benefits to having them gone during certain parts of pregnancy. When my husband was gone during the early months, that made breastfeeding in the middle of the night a bit easier. However, he missed being there during that time.
The best thing to do is to figure out what you want for your future family, know that your spouse could miss important parts of the pregnancy or the child’s life, and figure out how you will get through those times if they happen.
Know that raising kids in the military can be a beautiful thing. They can experience things that other kids never will. They get an up and close view of the military and can learn so many life lessons at an early age.