Being pregnant is something that nearly all women – in both the military and civilian worlds – go through, yet with the stresses of the everyday military lifestyle, it can often seem like the tipping point between organized chaos and utter craziness. I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with my second child and am experiencing a new hectic nature of balancing the uncertainties and emotional rollercoasters of both the military life and of being pregnant.
On one hand, this time around is much easier than the last. My husband is planning on not deploying two weeks before my due date, and we aren’t dealing with the month-long field exercises that are common before deployments. I’ve been through this before, so I’m not constantly flipping through “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” and in general am more confident in what is about to happen once the new member of the family arrives.
On the other hand, I feel like a lunatic! This time, I have a 2.5 year-old running around from sunup to sundown, and am juggling my own business and a recently completed MBA. We recently moved cross-country, and we don’t yet have a network of people who we can call if and when I go into labor and we need someone to watch our daughter (it was so much easier when the plan was to just get in the car and go – no extra babies around to deal with!). And while my husband does plan on being here for the birth, he will be training for 3.5 weeks on a boat off the coast of Virginia – far from North Carolina in case of emergency – until I am 39 weeks.
In so many ways, being pregnant and living the military rollercoaster are oddly similar. The uncertainties, the need to be flexible despite what you want (or think or want), and the need to keep a “stiff upper lip” in the face of challenges are all the same. In both parts of my life, I have found that in order to stay sane, I must take control of the few things I can to make myself feel better, no matter how petty they may seem. Neither the military nor being pregnant can take away my love for the winter awards season (this is my fourth year of being home alone during the Golden Globe, People’s Choice, SAG, and Academy Awards), or my monthly pedicures. I can still wake up earlier than everyone in the house and write, and I can still bake cookies if I want. Maybe, just maybe, I can find the time to read a book, and have quiet time reading my Bible in the morning. Doing these little things bring me peace, and continue to make me thankful for everything I have, despite the chaos of my life, and all the things I don’t have control over.
What do you all do to stay sane, either during pregnancy or tumultuous “semper gumby” moments in your military life?