No one told me that there were different phases I would be experiencing during my daughter’s deployment .
In the beginning of my daughters’ deployment all I could do was to try and get my granddaughters settled to their new surroundings. And I was adjusting to my new role as their temporary mother. I was unsure that I would face during deployment. I soon found learned that there are three stages of deployment.
Pre-deployment is a preparation for my new role as a mother to my granddaughters. I had very little time to really think about what I was about to encounter. I was in shock when my daughter told us she was to deploy. She tried to full warn me but I stayed in a denial, hoping if I did not think about deployment it would not effect me. That was a big mistake! Once I learned my daughter was to deploy, I asked myself “How could this happen?” “Why me?” I did not understand that all I did was make things harder for myself by not preparing. Do yourself a favor, learn what you can as soon as possible. The more time you can think about your new upcoming situation the better it will be for you.
I have 10 tips list to help you prepare.
Once deployment has happened its strange at first . You are trying to adjust to your new role. You fill feel frustrated, anxious, and just plan scared. This is because you have never experienced this before. I tried very hard to stay positive for my granddaughters and my daughter. Our family was all trying to be brave for one another. I couldn’t share what I was truly feeling, I was so scared. I soon learned to imagine a good outcome. Picturing everyone happy and all together again.
Communicating with the deployed, this can be very comforting for all of us. My daughter was unable to contact us for several weeks, so I experienced a feeling of loss. Cut off from her. But once she did call us, that feeling went away.
I established daily routines for myself, granddaughters and my husband and life started becoming easier. Focusing on what we had to do each day, week and up coming month.
Reintegration was something I was totally unprepared for. I though it would be like Christmas, everyone would celebrate and we would be happy.
I learned that my daughter’s deployed lifestyle was so different compared to her lifestyle here in the USA . When my daughter returned she was thrilled to be with her children, but her attitude had changed. I found out later this was very common. I think this was one of hardest parts of deployment as a parent. You just want your child to be like how they were before deployment, but they have changed. I can say it took my daughter several weeks to adjust to being a mother again, and months getting use to working and living back in her old routine prior to her deployment. One thing I recommend is to be very patient. Try to be understanding and remember time heals all.
I also was told by a nurse, working with returning Vets- the deployed adrenal glands are so pumped up because of their deployed working environment, it’s hard for them to relax when they come home. Once deployment is over they feel like they have been running a marathon and now they have hit a wall. My daughter experienced challenges in making any kind of decisions, which was totally uncharacteristic for her. She became frustrated with herself.
What I was unaware of at the time, that helped my daughter during this transition time, was she stayed with us for the first three weeks of her leave. This helped her ease into readjusting back to motherhood. What I found out was the entire family has to reintegrate. My granddaughter’s got use to having their mother around and I started letting go of being a mother to my granddaughters . We were all reintegrating back to what we once were before deployment.
Once you understand the different stages of deployment and how to adjust to them, you will have a better understanding of the process.