Article by Kama Shockey, Marine Corps Spouse

I would like to talk about one of the most dreaded topics in military life. It will be difficult. But we all know someone who has gone through it. No brief or e-mail message can prepare you. Even once we know it’s coming, we are all still shocked at its arrival.

It’s the Deployment Baby.

Let’s take a moment to pause and offer our warmest thoughts to all those (exhausted) spouses blessed with this guest. Because God knows, it could be us at any time. In fact, isn’t your husband due to deploy next month?

What is the Deployment Baby, you ask?

Well, sit down as I spin a tale so horrific and unseemly, you’d swear I made it up. It all begins at a pre-deployment brief… It is a dark night and the air is still, as a booming voice carries over the crowd. It is somber and special, this night, because it is the last time they all will be together like this, and they seem to sense the changes occurring, even then.

As they are released on leave, they are warned about the dangers they will face before they reconvene. Car crashes, alcohol poisoning, accidents and drugs. One thing, though, is not mentioned. And yet it is the most life changing of all. No one tells these boys about … The Deployment Baby.

Two months later…
The men who sat together on that fateful night are tired now. They are battle worn, and it is Mail Call. That brings news, and a certain type of joy. Thomas gets up …

“My wife’s pregnant, y’all.”

The men still sitting applaud, having no way of knowing that their applause is unwarranted and unappreciated. Cruz already has three kids, Mills didn’t want them, Peters is on his sixth after as many departures, and Thomas and Santos aren’t even married. Duh, duh, duh … This is the Revenge of … The Deployment Baby.

The Deployment Baby, of course, does not just strike on pre-deployment leave, as most couples assume. No. It has been known to seek out those on post-deployment leave and (this is the real tragedy) those home on R&R.

This baby is usually not planned or invited, and in most cases comes to a set of parents who have either said, “I can’t be a mother yet,” or “We’re just not ready to have kids.” The Deployment Baby, as we affectionately call it, seeks out those couples like prey and after dubious amounts of liquor and the looming threat of separation or the elation of a safe reunion, rears its tiny head eight weeks later.

This is a travesty, you say, and you are right. What can be done about this, you ask?

Nothing. It is as old as war itself and will continue until the world implodes in on itself. The Deployment Baby is coming, and even though you know this, you don’t know who will be next.

Is it your neighbor, who got sick at last week’s barbeque? Your BFF, who only
drinks water on “bachelor nights” at your place? Who knows … it could be you, who felt a little nauseous after the car ride yesterday and who sent your husband away on Saturday.

Only time will tell.

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