Yes, you read that post title right! Jacob and I are excited to announce that we are expecting a child this September! I’m currently just starting my second trimester, and I’m glad to say my first trimester was a relatively easy one.
Jacob and I have been married almost five years now, and we were probably the least sentimental couple in the world as we made the decision to start a family, haha! (Those of you that know us… are probably not surprised. Baby warm fuzzies are great, but there are logistics to be considered!)
More than just asking, “Do we want to become parents and commit to raising a child for at least the next 18 years?” we also have to consider the logistics of both of us being in the military. This has included the need to start thinking about a family care plan that can be adapted to whether one or both of us has to be away. Our deployability and career trajectories were also a factor. Working together to take care of kids on a daily basis and childcare options also have to be discussed.
Honestly, there are a lot of things to consider. Being a dual military couple is difficult, but adding children to the mix makes it even more complicated. However… for us, having kids and bringing them along on this military life is something we’re excited to do. It’s a very personal decision for each couple whether or not to have kids and, if so, when. This is what works for us and how we’re looking forward to building life with a family.
We don’t have all the answers to our questions. Those of you who have spent any time at all in military life know that there’s only so much you can do to plan ahead. There are just too many variables that can change at any time. Although we don’t have all the answers about being parents in the military, we do know a few things:
We are led by a God that loves us (and our future children) more than we will ever know, and he knows exactly what the future holds.
This is the biggest, best thing. We’ve prayed and we’re listening for God to lead us in life. Although we don’t know what’s coming around the corner, He sure does. He’s the kind of God that prepares and equips us for challenges we don’t even know are coming, so when they arrive we’ll be ready to handle them with His help. He’s the kind of God that directs our steps in anticipation of what is coming and what He knows is best for us. This takes most of the pressure off for me. We don’t have to figure everything out and have a plan for every contingency. We can be smart about things, but ultimately we just need to listen to God who sees our whole journey at once and will help us know what to do when we need to do it. He’s always been faithful!
“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” – Proverbs 2:6-8
Thousands of people have done this (and are doing this) well. We can learn from them!
We may be doing something difficult, but we aren’t inventing the wheel here. There are plenty of other military couples that have successfully raised kids, maintained strong marriages, and had good careers. In fact, God once again planned ahead for us when we didn’t know we’d need it and has brought wise people into our life that have answered a lot of our questions and given us great insight. Of course we’ll have to chart our own course in some ways, but gleaning from the experience of others is always a helpful tool.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
Jacob and I have a healthy relationship, and we can always improve those skills.
Parenthood adds new stressors to a marriage, there’s no doubt about that. While it’s not important that Jacob and I have a perfect marriage (in fact, that’s impossible anyway), it is important that we have a healthy relationship. We’ve been married almost five years and known each other almost eight, so we’ve established a good foundation of understanding. We’ve already had to work through a lot of issues and have come out closer and stronger. We know where to get help when we need it. Although there will be new stress, we at least have developed healthy habits of dealing with stress and sources of external help that will come in handy in this next chapter.
And on a specifically dual military front, we’ve already had a lot of tough conversations about how to balance two careers and what our top priorities are as a couple. We’ll need to continue having these discussions over the years, but we know what our core values are and what we commit to stick to, so we can filter decisions through those. Developing habits of respectful, honest communication and not sweeping things under the rug will definitely help in the future!
These “marriage skills” can always be worked on and improved, too.
“An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” – Proverbs 24:26
All that to say, of course there are days when I’m really excited, and there are days when I think, “What have we done?!” (Jacob is pretty much consistently excited. That helps me, haha!) We’re looking forward to this new adventure and can’t wait to meet this little person!