In the past we have done Mom Mondays, where we feature a courageous mom, or dad, and tell their story. Today we are doing a spin-off of Mom Monday with Wonderful WomenWednesday! And for this post we had the pleasure of talking with Jenna, a mother who went through a first-time pregnancy while her husband was deployed overseas. Her ups and downs, struggles and joys resonate with many other women in similar situations, whether their spouse is overseas or not, and we are happy to share her story.
My name is Jenna Knickerbocker and I am 20 years young. I met Brian when I was 16. I was there when he did boot-camp, job training, and through his deployment. Brian was in Afghanistan my whole pregnancy. I had to tell him he was going to be a dad while he was training for deployment in California.
I did not do very well being on my own through my pregnancy. I went to appointments by myself, had my baby shower without him; it was extremely devastating and very hard. At first I didn’t know anybody going through my situation or who had gone through it before. I ended up being very lucky to meet a fellow military wife who happened to live right down the street from me. She was very supportive since she had gone through deployments before and gave me ton of advice and was also there when I needed somebody to talk to. It was still very hard, even though she was right there by my side the whole deployment. The best thing I could do to keep my mind off of worrying about him and stressing myself out was to keep myself busy and hold my phone tight in my hand waiting for that phone call.
I went into labor a few times before Laylah was actually born. One of the times I went into labor was while Brian and I were on the phone. He was on a mission at the time so he was using a satellite phone which had crappy reception. Just after I told him I was having contractions – I had a couple while on the phone with him – the call was dropped. I didn’t get to talk to him for a whole week after that; he had no idea if he was a father yet or not. I know it was hard on him the most, not knowing what was going on and not being able to call and check up on me. It was hard for me as well because I wanted so badly to tell him I was okay and that our little girl was not here yet.
On July 15, 2012 I brought our beautiful Laylah into this world at 3:40pm. I sent a Red Cross message right over so that Brian would know his little princess was here. He didn’t know for about two days after she arrived.
The first time Brian met Laylah it was emotional for everybody. I wanted so badly for Laylah to finally be in her father’s arms. As soon as he got off the bus I ran over to him and put her in his arms. Just seeing him look at his daughter for the first time and finally being able to touch her was extremely emotional. The most emotional part for me was knowing that he made it home safe and alive. Having your spouse in a war zone and not knowing what is happening, if they are okay or if you’re ever going to get to hug them again, is the most stressful thing I have ever gone through in my entire life.
If you are going through this situation that I and plenty others have gone through, my advice to you is to seek out people who are or have gone through the same situation as well. Having friends who you can relate to will make your situation so much less stressful for you. The last thing a pregnant women needs is stress and worry. Just keep in your mind that everything is going to be okay, and you will make it through this faster than you think. Talk to your man as much as you can. Look at his pictures; listen to his voice mails over and over again. It will ease your mind, and remind you that he is thinking about you too. When he gets back your love for each other will be stronger than ever before. If you can make it through a deployment, you can make it through anything together.
Thanks, Jenna for sharing your story with us! Are you or have you gone through a similar situation? What is a piece of advice you would share with other mothers? Whether you are able to have your spouse by your side or not during a pregnancy, one of the most important thing to for any women to have is a safety net of other moms that know what she’s going through. Many of you have helped moms like Jenna get through those tough times, and for that we say thank you! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter!