Military Spouse as a First-Time Mom - Suliana Gonzalez-Hondo

Military Spouse as a First-Time Mom - Suliana Gonzalez-Hondo

Since 2017, Momcozy has helped 2 million+ moms who are from all walks of life around the world to regain their normal life routines. November is Military Family Month, so we invited a mom whose husband is in service to share her story.

M: Hi, Suli, nice to meet you! Welcome to this interview. Could you introduce yourself to us?
S: Hello, I’m Suli, nice to meet you.

M: Thank you! So how about being a military wife? How often did your husband come home, and whether he has enough time to take care of you during pregnancy?
S: My husband was rarely home while I was pregnant due to training and work, and pre-pregnancy he was deployed. The military keeps him busy!

M: That sounds not easy for you. So what’s the most difficult moment during your pregnancy?
S: The most difficult thing during pregnancy was constantly having to get treatment for being anemic, I was always in the hospital and it became my second home.

M: I’m sorry to hear that. What’s going on recently with you? Hope everything goes well with you now.
S: We had to move recently across the country, and it was the worst. I had to drive 20 hours but it was all worth it because we were out of the cold and into the sun. The military still wanted my husband most of the time but I just learned how to work around him constantly being gone.

M: It's definitely not easy! Does that mean you also have to keep working after delivery? How about maternity leave?
S: I kept working, and never took maternity leave. I was a full-time student and working from home, after about 4 months of me giving birth I quit my job because it got too difficult doing a lot and just studying full-time.

M: Omg, can't believe that. Because in many countries, there is maternity leave. Are you in college or studying for a master's degree?
S: I’m actually working to get my masters in English now and minor in sociology. And I was reading in China they really prioritize women resting after having a baby.

M: Yes, you’re right. You said your first kid was born in July of 2021. So now he is 1 year and 4 months old. Did you breastfeed him?
S: Yes, I stopped breastfeeding when he was around 8 or 9 months

M: Okay, did you use the breast pump or something?
S: Yes, I started pumping around 4 months after giving birth.

M: Is it helpful for your breastfeeding? Just want to know what moms think about the product:)
S: I use Momcozy pump s9 for on-the-go.

M: Okay, so have you got enough companionship at this stage? Whether you feel lonely?
S: After having my son I felt lonely, they sent my husband almost immediately on field training and I felt like I was doing everything alone, even now a year later I still feel alone but I often hear that it’s “just the military life”

M: It sounds like you have gotten through a tough time. But there must have something interesting when you have a baby! Can you share it with us?
S: Yes! The most interesting thing I experienced with pregnancy is definitely the mood swings, I’m always happy and bubbly, and being pregnant absolutely had me everywhere lol.

M: Last question, how about the happiest moment during your pregnancy?
S: The happiest moment was finally being able to wear maternity clothes! I never felt like I look pregnant enough for the clothes and finally at 26 weeks I got somewhat of a bump and wore all the maternity clothes possible!

Being a mom is never easy, let alone you are not only a mom, you may be a student, an employee, etc., at the same time. Next Suli shared her as-a-military-wife pregnancy experience with us.

There are many things I absolutely appreciate the military for, but the cost of being a military spouse has its challenges. I welcomed my first child in July of 2021, in the middle of a training rotation. My water broke 3 days before actually giving birth since my husband was so busy. He was in routine training, so he was gone most of the day from sun up to sun down. The day my water broke was a Saturday from trying to flip my breeched son, we were informed that this was a possibility and we continued.

The Rain Before the Storm

That night my water broke while in bed, my husband thought I peed so he rushed to clean the mattress so he can go to sleep since he had trained so early in the morning. I was experiencing horrible cramps but thought it was round ligament pain, I told my husband and he said since he was in the field to take a warm bath and try to relax. I continued to nest and cleaned the entire house, the pain got worst and I called my husband from the field. The call went frantic, I alerted him by saying the baby was coming and our son will be coming out fast to hurry home. My husband came home early the next day, the rush and panic set fear through the whole house. We packed our hospital bag and my husband had to pack his rucksack and woobie blanket, I never saw my husband move so fast!

The pain subsided when he was done packing so we decided to order the last meal before the baby came, Dominio’s pizza and wings. My husband ordered the hottest wings on the menu possible, and as soon as we started eating the baby decided he couldn’t wait to meet his parents and began pushing down. As I waddled back and forth for the frantic husband to figure out how to put the car seat in, as he was doing that; I looked back at his field equipment and my first thought we’re let me grab his helmet since we already have the woobie and rucksack.

Solider Making His Way into the World

When we finally arrived at the hospital and my husband realized that he forgot his patrol cap, which he had to wear in uniform. I just looked at him and told him if we turn around this baby will be born in the car, which made him more nervous. As he rushed into the hospital yelling his wife is in labor in his army combat uniform and rainbow crocs I simply walked into the hospital. They put us in a room and then started to run their normal test I was already 4 cm dilated since my son was still breached, and I was rushed into the operation room. My husband had to scrub in and as he walked into the operation room I could see his uniform through the white scrubs, I just laughed because he always joked this was the way his son would see him, in his work uniform. When we first saw our son the first thing my husband said to him was “this isn’t the way to wear the uniform you just rushed me to get ready”.

As I went into the recovery room my husband bonded with our son, and it seemed like the pieces fell into place from there. My husband made a huge mistake and grabbed the wrong rucksack, he mixed up the one for the hospital with the one from the field. My first meal was a quesadilla MRE, and when the photographer came to take photos it almost felt like we purposely set it up like that. So our son’s first photo was a full military gear photo shoot, with my husband stuck in his uniform.

In Need of a Village Plus 1

The hospital discharged us 3 days later and as we were driving on base to return home my husband remembered he had to alert work what was happening, he phoned his team leader who prepared the paperwork for him to take paternity leave. My husband’s commanding officer was the first to see him and gave us a company bib and shirt, as he held our son saying the company slogan.

When we arrived home the house was a mess from the field still, so my husband took his woobie blanket and wrapped our son into it as he placed him in the swing, and it felt complete. The trouble we ran into as time progressed was field events, as a first-time mom I was so nervous doing it alone. As soon as paternity leave ended my husband went back to the field for 2 weeks, and I was alone with my newborn for two weeks and had no help. I tried making a schedule for myself and the baby, we took daily photos for his father. It felt like an eternity that I was alone, when I asked for help, everyone told me that I picked this life and need to learn to deal with it. My husband was always gone, and my schedule never seemed to work. I felt defeated and just wanted him to be home

 Eventually, he came home, and I felt the relief of the help. I began to join mommy groups for military spouses, it really helped because even though we didn’t know each other it felt like we were family and helped each other. I also used a lot of resources provided by the military like the family readiness program, where they come in and help you with making your baby’s environment suitable for them. My husband was gone again for a whole month due to more training and I didn’t have the panic of feeling alone anymore. The friend group I made gave my support anytime I need help and the setup that the family readiness advocate set up really worked. The month flew by in the blink of an eye.

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