Pregnant in Boots
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When I found out I was pregnant, the first time, I was scared, totally scared to talk to my leadership. I had just got my first 300 on the Army Physical Fitness Test. I was a team leader, and I was kicking ass. Why would I be afraid you ask, well in the Army, as a female, there are certain stigma that gets attached? This is usually through no fault of our own, but you know the saying, one bad apple, ruins the bunch. In any job, this applies, but none more than the military. One thing you will notice about me, if you have never read anything I have ever wrote, I generally don’t hold punches and honesty is always the best policy. So in saying that, we have to trudge through the trenches to get noticed for the right things, rather than the wrong ones. Oh and we do the dumbest crap sometimes. Growing up, I was more or less raised on a farm, which means I was not around 100 guys, who by virtue of being a new female, was approached and “talked” to a lot. Ladies, by all means am I an angel, but I have learned a lot over the years about how to act as a female in the military and getting recognized for the wrong thing is just stupid. Trust me when I say this, I have been there, and now have the t-shirt. Alright back to the actual topic of this conversation, telling my leadership that I was now pregnant.
3 Kids later…
I have to admit, because I have had 3 children now, that the attitudes have drastically changed over the years. My daughter Abby is now 13, the reaction back then was of disappointment. I truly felt like I had somehow let them down. I would like to say that, I think I had leaders who may have never really dealt with female pregnant soldiers, so maybe that’s why I got the attitude I did, however, I am by no means saying it was right. Now granted, I found out I was pregnant, told my leadership, and then about 5 or 6 months later, we as a unit found out we were headed to Afghanistan for a deployment. If you are pregnant, you obviously cannot deploy, therefore now I couldn’t even be with my team, with my squad. I had to stay back with those who could not deploy. This was an interesting time, and not one for this paper, but for those who are wondering, this is considered to be majorly negative and you have just become the resident “shitbag”. Like I said, this is through no fault of yours, life happens, however there are some who “get” pregnant on purpose, to avoid deployments, therefore it has become a major stigma in the negative realm. We won’t talk about “those” either, because I would go on for forever with that one.
What the hell am I wearing?
If being pregnant didn’t distinguish us from everyone else, someone designed a uniform that I swear was built for midgets who was carrying twins. I am 5’9’’ and I have long arms. This uniform does not fit. I look like I am wearing a baby jacket. IT is basically a dress/tunic but looks like a tent, even with me, and I didn’t get real big whit my pregnancies, but oh my GOD, whoever designed this, must for all purposes, not understand the female body. I won’t go on a tangent, but it is just wrong, so wrong in fact that I waited until my 8th month to wear it because I hated the uniform. I looked like I was a tent, smuggling goods under my shirt. It’s bad, however, the pants, are something that GOD blessed us with. They are extremely comfortable, so much so that I didn’t want to go back to my original ones. They have the elastic waist that you can either wear up or roll down your belly. The only downside is that there are no pockets on them. I guess you get whatever you get when it comes to this, comfort over pockets.
The road back…
It took me forever to build back myself physically and mentally. Pregnancy is just not easy on the body, and I swear, my body hated me by the time I had to get back into shape. You would think that after training your body for the Army fitness program would keep me somehow in line. Oh no, this is not the case, you will start back at zero and build back. It can be done though, I promise, it takes a great deal of time and sweat. But if you have heart and don’t give up, it can be done! The funny thing is that I actually went on the next deployment to Iraq, which I guess means I redeemed myself. Yes I had to use it, because like I said there is such a stigma on females in the military that we have to work twice as hard to get credit, and to be accepted as a true member of the team. This deployment was hard because now, not only did I have a baby daughter, I was now the squad leader of this platoon, and that meant that 12 people relied on me to make decisions. I had to make critical decisions that could have potentially led to catastrophic outcomes, try not to overthink that one. At the end of the day, I brought them all back, and that’s what truly matters, but I won’t say it wasn’t hard. I won’t say that I didn’t fear every single day, that maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t come home.
My Rainbow baby…
My last pregnancy, came after two miscarriages, so to be honest I just didn’t care what people thought because I was just grateful that I could carry the baby to term. My leadership during this time was absolutely amazing. I think this was because they knew the struggles I had had, and were respectful that this could end at any time. I had a different job this time as well, one that required me to work in an office instead of being in the field. Yes I hear the jokes that are going through your head, but I don’t care. I was grateful for this time. This probably was my saving grace and helped my situation. Regardless, I guess the point to this particular post is that sometimes, you have to work hard, keep your head down and do what must be done.
The next generation leader…
I guess if I were to give advice to a female in the Military, or someone who wanted to come in, about this current topic, there are a lot of differences between being a male Soldier and a female Soldier. I would like to think we are all equal but we are not. I do know some females who are absolute beasts in the gym and kill it at PT, but there are some who struggle to do the minimum. I have fallen on both sides and I have to admit, being on the beast side, is awesome. You have just become one of the “bros”, one of the cool kids, a team player. When you falter and fall on the other side, you have now become the “shitbag”, the dead weight, and I promise you will hear about it. The advice here, is to never give up, never let them win, and Good GOD never show them fear”. I get that we all fall, we all have downs, but do not, absolutely do not believe that you cannot get up, that you cannot succeed, because that is straight BS, and I will tell you that you CAN!
This is just one post of many to come about what it truly means to be a Woman in the Army, stay tuned and again NEVER GIVE UP!
When I began this journey into mom-dom, I had no clue what to expect, all I know is that I had to keep this tiny human alive. Here I am, 13 years later knowing more than I did, and a few more gray hairs. Even with saying that, I would love to share with you what I have learned along the way. I would like to show you what over a decade of experience and phone calls at 2am will teach you. You can check out my book here at the low price of $5.99. Before you go, let me ask you, how much is piece of mind worth?