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Families in the Forces

25th Feb 2016

When soldiers are serving their country they are more often that not leaving their loved ones behind; the whole family is making huge sacrifices for the rest of us…

‘My husband was a submariner aboard a nuclear submarine. In 2009, he went on a 4 month patrol knowing there was a possibility that I was pregnant with our son but I couldn’t get the test to say for sure.

On board a submarine there are no phones, no WiFi signal. Only a satellite downloader. Families send their husbands, sons and brothers a familygram. A familygram is a note that gets sent to the naval base who upload it to the satellite, to be downloaded by the submarine at a later time. It consists of a maximum of 42 words, once a week. Men cannot reply. They are under the ocean and the submarines my husband was on were nuclear deterrent. They did not surface.

A familygram cannot hold any news that might be contentious, e.g., separation news, job losses and baby news! I arranged with another captain ashore to send my husband the news and he sent an accompanying message to confirm my husband would find it good news. However, the final decision on whether to tell him would be taken by the Captain aboard the submarine. So, I didn’t know for sure that he’d been told. I wasn’t allowed to refer to it in any further familygrams. Thankfully, he was told and Im lead to believe that the sub was on a high at the news. I was 18wks pregnant when he came home, just in time for our 20wk scan! My son was almost born on Remembrance Day – he was born at 00:52 on 12th November! He was nearly away for the birth of our son but a more senior friend called in a few favours and he made it home. That was 4yrs next week!’ as told by Leanne

‘My husband was in afghan when our son was born. He deployed 2 months before due date but we were lucky that we were able to keep in touch via email and e-blueys which is a letter writing option on the internet were you can type a letter and it will get printed within a few hours of writing. sadly there is nothing in place to get dads back for babes birth unless there is an issue there is how every a emergency line to call in these events so action can be taken quickly in our case he was put on a flight the friday night (his time) and baby was born at 9:30 sat morning but due the the flight patterns being such that he had to stop in cypress fro 6am till about 8am ish by the time he arrived at the hospital it was 4pm so he missed the first few hours and us finding out that we had a son as we had not find out while pregnant .

He was at home for 2 weeks so he got to be involved in babes first bath but we did a photo a day and we set up a privet account on face book were i could post photos quickly and he could log on when he could be we also sent photos via the e-blueys and you can send photos via them he would also call as often as he could which was about once a week where we could give him an up date but as you can send parcels as often as you like really we could also send him things in the post i.e. vids on cd or photos. He came home when our son was 5 months old so all the big things were still to like teeth and walking and weaning’ as told by Naomi.

Above is a snippet of two families’ lives coping with their brave partners being away at one of the most precious times we experience; having babies. These stories really humbled me and I thank my lucky stars.

Please feel free to comment if you or your partner have been affected by being in the Forces.

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