Pregnancy is an exciting time. A baby is coming, and they’re so cute and adorable. You’ll want to get ready for your baby. There are so many cute clothes to buy, a nursery to prepare, toys and books that teach and delight, and so on and so forth.
Every parent faces their own challenges during and after pregnancy. Military moms, whether you’re in the service yourself, your partner is, or both, you have a lot to prepare for.
Although we won’t be able to prepare you for every little thing, we do have a general idea of what military moms experience and need. At Mommy Care Kit, we want to help families understand the needs of the pregnant mother and what babies will need, and how they will develop.
Much of what military mothers need and go through will depend on their circumstances. Mothers in the US military who are called to active duty have a different experience than mothers who have a spouse in the armed forces.
One thing that’s vital for every mother is a support system. Whether that’s family or friends, you have people there to support you and help you with your little one.
What else do you need to know as a military mom? Let’s find out.
What Is the Mommy Care Kit?
The Complete Mommy Care Kit contains FDA-approved products that can alleviate some of the symptoms of pregnancy. It’s a drug-free way to help you handle any discomfort or other potential issues. They can help with issues like blood clots, aches and pains, inflammation, and other common symptoms.
Our primary concern is that mothers get the care they need without having to take unnecessary medications.
How Long Is Parental Leave?
One of the concerns for many parents is how long you’ll be able to spend with your little one after they’re born, especially if you’re in a military family. If you’re the one giving birth, you also need to know how long they allow for recovery periods.
Among all branches of the armed forces, both primary and secondary caregivers are allowed to ask for up to 12 weeks of leave. Generally, it needs to be taken at one time. Primary caregivers, or the mothers giving birth, are also allowed as much as six weeks of medical leave. However, the six weeks of medical leave are sometimes considered part of the 12-week period.
If you and your partner are adopting a child, you can receive a 12-week period of time off in order to facilitate bonding. These rules apply whether you’re an Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard mom.
What Else Should I Know?
In recent years, there’s been more of an emphasis on the mental health of mothers after giving birth. Pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for children is a demanding, full-time job. Some mothers can experience mood disorders as a result.
Mothers in military families have their own set of difficulties. If you are a service member or a military spouse, the military requires about four postpartum mental health assessments, as well as appointments for other medical check-ups. It’s good for mothers to have check-ups that monitor the healing process. Additionally, healthcare providers can ensure the mother receives the care they need.
The Department of Defense is required to make sure that there is a postpartum visit after giving birth. They have rules in place that allow mothers a year before they are allowed to take a physical fitness test.
They understand that military families experience a variety of potential stressors, so it’s essential to evaluate the mental health of the parents, especially pregnant mothers. The frequent moves and other aspects of military life can make it difficult for pregnant women to form the support group they need during their pregnancy.
What Kind of Support Can I Look For?
Although moving frequently can make it tricky to form support groups in the areas you’re living in, that doesn’t mean you have to try to do things alone. There are many online and in-person groups for the military community to gather with other women experiencing similar concerns.
However, these groups aren’t the only form of support that you can find. Even if family members or friends live in a different area, they can still be there to support you from afar.
Family and Friends
We all want to be near the people who love us and who we love. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but we do have plenty of ways to keep in touch with our loved ones. Sometimes it can be beneficial to talk to people about what’s going on. Venting can be a helpful way to think through problems and get them off your chest.
If possible, you may want to see if your mom can visit around the due date. They can help you around the house while you’re recovering, and many women find their moms to be a comforting presence.
A visit from a loved one can be soothing for those whose spouse is deployed. If you or your partner is on active duty, it can be difficult, although not impossible, to juggle everything, especially as they’re adjusting to their little one’s new developmental stages.
Let’s not forget the most important member of the support system, your partner. They’re there for you when you need them, and they, too, need to bond with your little one. That way, they can care for your baby while you take a break.
How Can I Help My Baby When My Partner or I Am Away?
Deployment is challenging for all members of a military family. Each family member faces unique obstacles during this time, especially the parents. It may not seem like your baby is very affected since they primarily eat, sleep, and poop, but even newborns can recognize changes.
Transitions can be overwhelming for babies as well as parents, from the time that they’re newborns and especially as they age. Babies do bond with their parents, although they don’t particularly have long-term memory. How can we help babies during these transitions?
Here are a couple of tips:
Although babies' memories haven’t fully developed, they can recognize their caregivers. Usually, it’s because they are around every day, so finding ways to help your little one remember you can be helpful.
One thing that has been successful is video calls. Depending on how old your baby is, they may not be able to see you as well, but they will be able to hear the sound of your voice and remember it while you are away.
Another thing you can do is leave something that you frequently wear, like a hoodie or t-shirt, so that your little one can smell it and think of you. You could pick a specific perfume or another smell to wear around your little one so that they’ll think of you when they smell it.
If you have someone coming to help while you or your spouse is deployed or if you’re both deployed simultaneously, you’ll want to help your little one feel comfortable with the family member or loved one coming to support you.
If possible, have them come a little early to become part of your baby’s everyday routine. That way, your baby can get used to the person taking care of them without causing any extra stress.
Discuss expectations and plans for the care of your baby with the caregiver. That way, your little one’s routine will remain the same. Babies are habitual. Following a routine helps them know where they are in the day, and it’s especially helpful during bedtime.
Balancing Children and Country
Being a proud military mom is a great thing. Whether you’re serving your country as a service member or as a supportive military wife, you have so much to be proud of. During your pregnancy, you may feel worried about how your service or your spouse’s service will affect your baby.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to help your little one adjust to everything that goes on in your life. It may not be easy at first, but it will get better with time.
The Federal Military Moms’ Mental Health Assessment Act Is Introduced | 2020mom.org
Military Families: Child Care Support During Deployments | HealthyChildren.org
H.R.3047 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Military Moms Matter Act of 2021 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress