Soldier Mama

Did you ever have a weird new mom dream working out the fears and disbelief that there was actually a baby in your life? Maybe you dreamed you went to your old job and were going out with friends after work completely forgetting that you had a baby…  In mine, I thought I was babysitting, and waited in vain for the baby’s parents to come back so I could leave.

Just dreams, strange dreams, not particularly bad, not even nightmares.  

What if you thought that if you showed up at your job with your baby, he would be pulled out of your arms and placed in foster care?

What if you were a soldier scheduled to deploy?

What if your mom, who has always there for you, is one of those women who do too much?  She’s always been there for everyone, she takes care of her own mom and her sister and your special-needs sister and she runs an in-home daycare.

What if your mom said she could take care of your baby for a whole year–but after a week she realized she had forgotten that yummy grandbabies who are learning to walk are in constant motion.  They eat or drink every couple of hours and they wake up 2, 3 or more times a night (especially in a strange room without mommy).  That just might be too much to deal with on top of the business and taking care of three other relatives with health issues.

What if your mom has a habit of agreeing to take on more than she can handle, but you don’t recognize that as a problem, because you’re only 21 years old? 

What if your mom told you that if you just talked to your supervisors they would help you?

What if you asked the army for extra time to find a new year-long 24/7 childcare situation for your baby and were given a 30-day extension? 
 
What if you didn’t have any other relatives willing to watch your baby for free?  Can you trust someone you hardly know to take good care of your baby?  Will they do it if you give them all your pay? What if they don’t love your baby?   

What if you were told you that you had to deploy with your unit after all, because your commander doesn’t think it can be as hard as you say to find someone willing to babysit your infant 24/7 for an entire year?  What if he thinks you are just trying get out of going to Afghanistan?  What if he told you to put your child in foster care?

Would you bring your baby to the deployment location at the appointed hour? 

Or would you stay home, scared and hugging your baby, until after your commander had left the country?

What if when you went to the base, the next day, to talk to someone about it they arrested you and called the county child protective services to come and take away your baby?

Would you think you did right by your child by going AWOL?

This is an original NYC Moms Blog post.

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