The Effects of Deployment | Our Story

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The Effects of Deployment...Let’s be honest; deployments suck the life out of you. I will never want my husband to be deployed, regardless of the little bit of extra income it may bring. I want him home. The kids want him home. Unfortunately, part of our life includes deployments, so we have had to find ways to get through them and grow from them.

Watch the Duracell Teddy Bear Video

When you’re far apart from a loved one, from deployment or otherwise, it is always good to recharge your batteries; remember to take breaks. Go on a little vacation. When my husband was in Afghanistan, I didn’t want to stay cooped up in the house for a long time, so I went back to my home state with my kids to visit family for my oldest son’s birthday and for Christmas after that. I was able to get some help watching the kids so I could relax. You know, because taking care of the kids 24/7 all on your own gets exhausting.

Definitely have support too. I didn’t. Unless I visited family or they visited me, I really didn’t feel right leaving my kids with anyone to go pamper myself or so I could get something done that I can’t with them around. I have made it my goal to be available to others going through deployments, bringing them small “deployment survival” gifts to cheer them up, offering to watch their kids or take them out for coffee or lunch…if you know someone going through family separation, whether you have been through it yourself or not, reach out to them. They may not ask for it, but they need it.

Kids. Let’s not forget the kids. They have a hard time going through the deployment too. When my husband was away, my oldest was not quite at an age he could understand what was going on. All he knew was that his daddy was not there and he could not see him. Every day he would run to the door when he heard a car go by and exclaim, “Daddy’s home!” He wasn’t. It broke my heart.

My youngest son was not even born yet. In fact, I was about 6 months pregnant when my husband left. He was not able to be there for our son’s birth. He was hardly able to be there over the internet during labor because of the time difference and WiFi connection problems. I had an emergency c-section and our son was brought to NICU. All I needed was a hug, but I couldn’t get one. Our baby did not know his daddy and did not meet him until he was about 3 months old.

One of the biggest things that got my kids through that long, draining deployment…what got all of us through it, really…was my husband’s voice. We had several ways of hearing my husband’s voice while he was away. You may have seen my post about our Build-a-Bear animals with recordings from Daddy. We also had recordable books and I recorded my husband singing the Air Force song and set it as the tone for any time he contacted me. My favorite ways to hear my husband’s voice were through cell phone apps like Voxer and through Skype on the computer. Not only did this encourage me and calm down my oldest son, but it familiarized our baby with his father’s voice so Dad wasn’t a total stranger when he returned home. Duracell, our favorite battery brand (my husband calls me his “Coppertop” because of my hair color), played a big part in this.

build a bear love deploymentLet’s not forget my husband overseas either. He went through separation anxiety just like we did. While he is not much for stuffed animals, we were able to send him a bear with my voice, our oldest son’s voice, and even a scream from our baby. Before our little one was born, we purchased a tiny battery-powered teddy bear with his heartbeat and sent that with Daddy as well since he could no longer hear it at the ultrasound appointments. When my husband was missing us terribly, he could press a button and make us feel closer.

We were supposed to be going through another deployment; however, due to a medical issue that arose last minute, my husband could not go. I am thankful to have him here, but we know so many others who are struggling through their first, third, and even eighth separation. We know the struggle. We will be here for them. For those of you going through this, I hope my posts are encouraging to you. I try to provide tips and resources on my site for you like my Favorite Products for Deployments list and my Deployment Freebies and Resources list. Check them out!

Since 2001, the start of the war in Afghanistan, over 2 million children have had a deployed parent, many of them multiple times over. Their parents also have had a deployed spouse and that spouse has missed his or her loved ones. Sometimes, both parents serve and are away at the same time. 

As an adult, it’s hard to be apart, so you can imagine how much more difficult it can be for kids to not have that daily love and affection from that parent, even if it’s only a small amount, for long periods at a time. Recordable bears, storybooks, and picture frames are a huge help because they allow you and your child to hear that incredibly-missed voice whenever you need it. 

Duracell recently met with a military family and was so inspired by their story, they wanted to find a way to help out, to “power more comforting moments.” In an effort to support families going through deployment on the homefront, they have donated $100,000 to USO’s Comfort Crew for Military Kids. You can help too. Share Duracell’s Teddy Bear Video and donate at https://www.uso.org/donate

If you haven’t yet, grab a box of tissues and watch the video. This is only a small glimpse of what military families go through during separation. Many don’t realize, but it goes beyond just deployments…there are training activities away from home, temporary relocation, they will even completely move the service member to another state or country apart from his or her family for long periods of time. If you can donate money to the effort, do. If you can donate time to volunteer or to help out a friend going through this, do. Say thank you to service members and their families for all they go through to keep our country safe and in and effort to preserve our freedoms.

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If you have gone through a deployment, feel free to share your story in the comments. What struggles did you go through? What helped? You are welcome to comment as “anonymous” if you wish, and please remember OPSEC. Non-complying comments will be edited to remove sensitive information.

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Written by Alyssa Darby

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4 Comments

  1. I couldn’t even imagine what you and your family go through in regards to living a military lifestyle and the separations for all of you! Your husband is an amazing man to do what he does and he is lucky to have such a special wife to support him and your boys and help others during their tough times as well through your blog!

  2. I’m going through a Korea tour right now. Any help offered is always appreciated. So don’t be afraid to offer! The hardest part for me right now, is dealing with my daughter’s ever changing mood swings!!

    • I am always here to help 😉 You know where I live, just come on over, message me, whatever you want any time you need anything…babysitting/playdate, a meal, coffee and someone to talk to… <3

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