Serving in the military as a first-time parent was tough for me. I was stationed in Alaska, and my parents were thousands of miles away from me and I didn’t have anyone really close to me during my pregnancy and the delivery there, but the doctors, my child’s dad, whom I meet while serving, and my co -workers. That was not good enough for me. I wanted my parents to be there, especially my mother. Someone who could have held my hand and coached this to me face to face and not on the phone. I had to wake up at 3-4 a.m., in the morning to get myself and my child feed, dressed and for me to be on time to work. If I was in a military school the time was even earlier. I felt like my child was in the military and wasn’t getting the proper rest at home Child care on military installations were expensive, but cheaper than off post, so was housing. The amount of money that I received bi-weekly would only take care of child care and a place for us to lay our head, not even including bills. I tried my best to manage my time, but nothing was making a change. With all of this going on, it leads me to a depression. Every day I cried and cried, but my main concern was not myself or how I was able to make it, but how would my child make it. I was not going to make him suffer at all. My child didn’t ask for any of this.
So, what I did was talk with my supervisor. He and his wife invited me to a couple events at their house and I found an older lady that I could trust to take care of my child. She befriended my parents and was even from the same area as they were. She offered to keep my son for the week and that I come get him on Friday evenings. When I came got him on Fridays, he was well groomed, happy and I knew he was being feed. He had a shine and a glow to him that he didn’t have in the child care centers. Four months later I got a chance to go home. This was my parents first time meeting my son and they instantly fell in love with him. My parents offered to take great care of him and for me to leave him with them while I serve my country. It was hard to leave him, but I knew I had to do what I had to do to be happy and save a dollar to the next pay day.
Things got better without the child care bill and I was able to manage my bills properly, but what I did to cope with the situation was go to the gym, and go to free events that the military offered, things such as: go deep sea fishing, go to The Chena Hot Springs on the Chena River, music concerts, the ice carving shows, drive six hours away to Anchorage, look at dog sleighing the frozen rivers, festive and fairs in the summer time, look at the northern lights and explore pioneer park.
Every morning, evening and night even though I was three hours behind I would give them a call. It did not matter how old or young he was, I would call him, and we would make baby conversation for about fifteen minutes then I would talk to my parents and discuss the things he needed, important things, like what she would need to take him to the doctor. I made it easy for her and did all those things myself and all she had to do was get him where he needed to be. Before, they went to bed at a certain time, I would call or either facetime and read him a bed time story and he would fall asleep.