A group of JBLM military spouses faced an unexpected challenge when their soldiers deployed last January. The soldiers from the 864th Engineer Battalion got 90 days notice before their nine month deployment to Afghanistan.
Nine months meant no leaves of absence, which meant their wives would have to give birth without them.
That’s why Katherine Allen had an idea, along with the battalion commander’s wife, to start a pregnancy support group.
“The idea just came upon us, ‘You know. There's probably a lot of other women going through this similar situation. Why don't we just get together and talk it out?’” said Allen.
Each month for the last eight months, the women met to talk about the highs and lows of raising a newborn.
“You go and you can really open up and say, ‘Hey. This week I'm struggling with this’ or ‘This month is really hard. I'm not getting any sleep.’ And everybody understands,” said military wife Holly Steen.
What happens at home goes far beyond mothers bonding.
“If there's problems at home, it's going to affect them in the field. That's what you don't want. You want them focused on what they have to do so they can come home safely,” said military wife Natalie Gable.
The wives also were with each other during the births.
Fifty fathers got to meet their new babies when they got home last month
This pregnancy support group was so successful that two other units at JBLM have put together similar groups.