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He’s deployed—and I’m pregnant

I am here with you, mama.

He’s deployed—and I’m pregnant

To all the mamas awaiting a baby—and the safe return of your partner:

I thought for a long time about what exactly it is that I want to say to you. I thought about what would I want someone to say to me. What I think we can all say to each other, whether this is our first baby or our last, our first deployment or our last, what we are missing in the absence of our partners and in the support from others, is this: I am here with you.

I choose to say I am here with you because I want you to know that I acknowledge your individual experience. Though we are all pregnant during a deployment, we do not share the same experience or the same feelings.

I can't say that I understand what you are going through. Maybe you are in a new place, surrounded by new people. Maybe you are in a familiar place, surrounded by friends and family.

Maybe it doesn't matter where you are or who surrounds you. Maybe the aloneness has been positive for you, and you are able to reconnect with yourself and your independence in a way that is empowering. Maybe the aloneness causes you to feel lonely.

For each of us, being pregnant is a personal journey, as is getting through a deployment. Doing both at once is exceptionally personal. You need to do it in your own way that only you understand.

I can't say that everything happens for a reason. Of course there are the plain facts explaining our shared situation: our love made babies, and our partners are active duty military. Those certainly are the reasons why we are pregnant and our partners are deployed.

Facts aside, I'm not sure there is any other "reason" why things are happening as they are. Between you and me, I think people often say this to us as a platitude. I think the woman in line behind you at the post office says it because seeing a very pregnant lady sending care packages to her husband in a war zone makes her uneasy.

I wish I could tell you with confidence that there is some cosmic explanation for this, but I just don't know. What I do know is if that telling yourself (or listening to others tell you) that "everything happens for reason" isn't helping, then stop. Let yourself feel your feelings.

I can't say that at least you're able text your partner, because I know that means nothing to you. Every time I hear this comment, it stings. I know it could be worse, but it could be a whole lot better; it could be sharing your pregnancy and baby's birth with your partner in real time!

I will say that we are incredibly lucky to live in a time when we have so many options for remaining connected to our deployed partners. I cannot begin to imagine the struggle military families faced before these options.

Even though you are blessed with technology, no text exchange will replace your partner's warm embrace at the end of a long day. No email will replace the sight of your sleeping partner in early morning light. No Skype date will replace sitting across from your partner's smiling face as you indulge your pregnant cravings at your favorite restaurant.

I'll leave it at that.

I can't say that this will make you a stronger woman and mother. Really, it doesn't have to make your stronger, and it doesn't make you weak if this is just a hard time for you. There is nothing to be fixed, no obstacle to overcome.

Your partner is gone during a time of need for you, and a time that most couples share without considering it could ever be any other way. You are allowed to feel how you feel without becoming an inspiration to yourself or others.

What I can say is that I am here with you.

I am here with you when your pregnancy app tells you now is a great time to ask your partner for a foot massage.

I am here with you as you watch your belly grow and your body transform.

I am here with you when you feel those first kicks.

I am here with you when you attend your birthing class alone.

I am here with you when the ultrasound reveals your baby's nose and mouth look just like his dad's.

I am here with you as you make your best plan for a labor and delivery that doesn't involve the one person you want by your side the most.

I am here with you when you are having a great day and you finally feel like things are okay.

I am here with you when you are having a hard day and all you can think of is that last hug you shared.

I hope you have people who are supporting you during this time. Even one person can make a difference. When those people ask, "How can I help you? What can I do for you?" I hope you ask them to acknowledge your experience without advice, commiseration, or platitudes.

I hope you ask them to simply be with you.

Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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