Hi everyone! This is the first installment of my military and motherhood series I will be doing for roughly a week or so.
This story is that of a Navy woman. Her pregnancy, and birth and dealing with the command she was stationed at. For safety reason, names, dates and commands have been changed. This is in no way meant to simply “hate” on the military, it is to bring light to this chapter of serving that many have no clue about.
” I had taken two weeks of leave to go see my then boyfriend and we decided to get married like a week or two before that. I was set to go on deployment. Had everything ready and planned out. We got married and he moved back to Ca (he had just gotten out of the Marines and moved home to Ohio). Not even a week after we were married I found out I was pregnant with our first. I was 19 almost 20 and had no family or support. All my friends were leaving on deployment. He had no job and we literally had no money to even pay our first months rent. We were in no place to be having a baby. But we did! I told my chain of command on the ship that I was pregnant and I was devastated to be missing deployment and my friends. I told them I wasn’t capable of taking care of a baby due to financial issues etc. they blew me off and made me feel like i was stupid young and doing it just to get out of deployment. They knew how badly i wanted to go on deployment and how hard I had worked to be where I was. But because I was 19 and got pregnant right before deployment I automatically did it on purpose. I was hurt. My friends turned their backs on me. My mentor decided that they “couldn’t “ mentor me anymore because of it. I lost everyone on my side. All I had left was my brand new husband. (Tbh we were only dating for 6 months before we got married). It was rough. I was on beach det for about 2 months before I got orders. When I finally transferred, I was too pregnant to fit into my regular dress uniform and my MC at the time in charge of beach det told me not to worry about transferring my dress uniform because I was pregnant. Got ro my new command and was checking in and people miss treated me again because I was pregnant young and not in the proper uniform. I was set up for failure. I went to my command on SD and they treated all of the pregnant people like shit. They played favorites. This may sound racist, but I promise you, I don’t mean for it to be, but if you weren’t black, you weren’t one of the favorites. The entire COC was black. I was told because I was the least pregnant (by 4 days) that I had to walk everywhere. Wasn’t allowed in the duty van wasn’t allowed to drive my POV. Etc. I eventually said Fuck it and filed a complaint along with a few other moms and we were moved to the chapel or security admin. When I moved to the chapel everything changed. I was allowed to go to my appointments. I was allowed to get food if i needed , I was treated as a human and respected. They cared about me as far as work went. When It came to help with resources or preparing me for the new chapter closely approaching, no one helped me. I felt i was alone all over again. I struggled massively with prenatal depression and anxiety. People were calling and texting me from my old command saying i was a whore and my baby was so and sos kid from the ship because thats what my best friend had told them. I came back from maternity leave and everything changed. Everyone treated me like shit. We still hadn’t been accepted into a military daycare, and couldn’t afford daycare in other places. So my husband had to quit his good paying job to stay home with her. We moved into military housing when she was 6months old and we started struggling financially. We found a daycare but she mistreated my baby. At this point my PPD and PPA were so bad I thought about going UA and abandon my family. They would be better off without me. My family had nothing good to say and were very unsupportive and work was constantly talking shit about me (I didn’t deserve to be a mother, how can I raise a baby when I’m an immature bitch, etc) I complained multiple times to my higher ups and nothing was done. They always spun it around and made me the bad guy. Multiple counselings and negative reports. I was done. I also missed out on looking for my orders because no one explained to me what to do or anything. I had no idea until my former LPO emailed me and asked me how i was doing and when I was up for orders etc. my detailer never returned phone calls or emails so I never got to do anything. Was given orders back to the same ship I had left. When I was in the process of checking out, I found out i was pregnant again. I was degraded even more because of it. I was stupid for having 2 babies so close together. More hurtful comments came my way. My second classes would get together and belittle and make rude comments at me. They would go put of there way to ignore me and make me feel bad. When my oldest started a new daycare about a month after I found out about my second, My husband started a job where his hours were 7-330 so he couldn’t take her to school, I had to. I got permission (verbal) from my Lt and Cdr that I was allotted 15 minutes to drop her off and get to work (daycare was a few miles down the road and I was supposed to be at work at 730). I had until 745 to get to work. My second classes had a problem with it and would always make comments about how I was a sneaky Bitch etc. how i never wanted to work and never did anything. When evals came out and my CoC gave me the only EP for the department, everyone told me I was sleeping with the right person and I definitely didn’t deserve the EP. my depression was at an all time low and i tried to talk to my CoC about it. Nothing. I tried to ask for help and they failed me. I was miserable. To the point I was having a break down/anxiety attack every morning scared of what they would say do to me that day. I was miserable. My husband new this. Finally i confided in my OB that I needed more help than just a therapist. I needed medicine or something. I was put on medicine and I felt a million times better but i couldnt take my anxiety meds religiously because it was going to affect my baby. It was hard. But tgis time around I knew about resources i needed in order to succeed with my pregnancy and pp. i was determined to get all the help I could and use all the resources I had. And I have. Life is soo much better this time round.
As far as being a mom in the military, i hated that I had to be told I had to deliver at Balboa. I had a really horrible experience (in my eyes). They mistreated me. Wanted everything done on their schedule and not when my baby or body was ready. My daughter pooped inside and they didnt seem to care or make an effort to make sure she was ok. I tried breastfeeding and was told by the midwives there and the corpsmen that i shouldnt bother because I had flat nipples. It was pointless to even make the effort. I ended up giving up at 6 weeks when she was 99% on formula. I HATED balboa and was terrified to deliver my second there. When it got closer to my 2nds due date, I again was having issues with preterm labor and contractions. They didn’t believe me and said that I was being dramatic and it was just braxton hicks. I demanded to be induced (as I had High blood pressure the entire pregnancy as well). They agreed. I was given a date and time I called like i was supposed to, and they said that i was misinformed and was scheduled for the next morning. Cool. Totally ok with that too. But i was MISERABLE. In so much pain couldnt sleep or hardly walk. I called the next morning and they said i had to be pushed back. I was pushed back 3 times before I called them and said I need this baby out and they sent me to P. I was already 90% effaced and 4cm dilated. So i really was on labor but they didn’t believe me . Camp P treated me sooo much better it was amazing! I had the greatest team who genuinely cared and listened to my concerns and made every effort to take care of me and my baby! Her delivery was really rough but they were there by my side the entire time and made sure I knew they cared and were going to do everything they could to help both her and I. It was such a 180 from Balboa.
As far as being a mom, I cant handle the stress, anxiety, and separation from my babies. I pick them up from daycare and they show me all the knew things they learned, my oldest is talking more and learned so many things that I wish i was able to teach her. Potty training is extremely difficult. My new baby (4m old) just grows and grows while Im gone. I hate how I moss soo much of their lives because of the military and can’t imagine how moms who deploy do it! I hate going 24 hours without my kids, not to mention 8 months! Plus the childcare situation for civilian/ad couples is shit. I have to pay $2k a month for my girls to be in a daycare full time because we kept getting pushed back on the list for CDC/CDHs. There is little to no support for us as far as daycare goes. Its expensive and it sucks. If you want good care,you pay $2k+ a month. It’s extremely competitive as well. It’s extremely difficult. I cant wait for Feb 2021 to get out and stay home with my babies.
Over all my biggest issue is that other moms aren’t supportive of new moms. We need to look out more for each other and help each other out. Share resources both kid related or career related. I’ve come across many mew moms while at my current command and NONE of them have had much help in any way. So any time i find resources or any knowledge i learned throughout, i share. I dont want new moms to struggle and hurt the way I did with my babies.”
“Advice for new moms: ASK about anything and everything. Take advantage of EVERY resource given even if you don’t think you will use/need it, do it!! Always always ask. And always share things you have learned/picked up along the way with other moms. It truly is a blessing. Also start looking for daycares before your baby is even born. Both civilian and military.”
That’s her story. No bashing, no rude comments. This is not unusual behavior from what I’ve seen. Pregnant girls get treated one of two ways- great or like shit. As you can see, she had zero support form her Chain of Command. When she let them know she needed help she met met with rude comments and judgement instead of resources to help her in her situation. Im happy her second time around has been different and met with help, instead of the judgement like the first time. Please take note, not one person cared about her mental health.
POV- bvasically a car that a sailor owns
COC- chain of command
lpo- is our boss
EP- the highest grade on our evaluation we can get
detailer- the person who assigns us our orders, not all of them are great.