I cant speak for the other branches, but Im sure its just as hard as the Navy. I know pregnancy and birth and parenthood is rough no matter what your job is, but i feel its especially difficult while in the military. Some, like myself are very lucky to not deploy after we have our kids while others deploy 12 months after.
So, whats it like being a mom in the Navy?
Lets start off with the beginning- you dont pick your OBGYN, they are picked for you. You can request, and ask for a new one but chances are you wont get what you want. You dont pick the hospital- that is determined by the navy as well. Im sure we have had sailors do home births or water births but its unlikely, and you probably have to have permission. If you have a normal pregnancy you will most likely see a midwife, if you are like me and have very crappy , high risk pregnancies then you are stuck seeing an OB for every appointment.
You dont get much say. I didn’t want the flu shot while pregnant (personal choice) and I was forced into getting it. I knew with my second baby I wanted my tubes tied, but I had to have my husband consent.
Yes, we do get rather nice maternity leave. When I had my first son it was basically 16-18 weeks depending on the command. It was great especially since I had had a c-section. When I had my second son, it had been changed to 12 weeks. Which yes, is great but it sucked not being home the same amount of time. But that is the military- changes in a blink of the eye. 84 days is given to you by the hospital for recovery time. The rest of the time is not a guarantee because it comes from your command. It can be denied and given to you to take any time before your child is one. Nothing in the military is a guarantee, ever.
You are shore duty for 12months after child birth for bonding time, after those 12 months many return to sea duty…
I was blessed that my kids came when they did. Everything lined up for me to not return to sea duty. Still its rough. You child is sick or the daycare is closed, you better figure it out. Most of the time the commands and chain of command don’t care. You belong to the military not yourself or family. The job comes first.
Over the next few days I will be posting stories from Military and Veteran Mothers.
This is something close to my heart, and i hope you enjoy learning our struggles or more about how it worked in the service.