Mothers of young children going to war

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    SAHM of 3/ MDSAHM of 3/ MD

    I wanted to get your opinions about mothers going to war. My sister is a Navy physician and mother of a 5-year old, 3-year old, and an 11 month old. She just weaned the baby 2 weeks ago in preparation for her deployment on Feb 8 to support the Marine mission in Iraq. Although she is distraught about leaving her children for up to 1 year and would surely accept a volunteer to go in her stead, she has not tried to “get out” of fulfilling her military duty.

    As a former Air Force physician, I feel the same way. I was fortunate that during Operation Enduring Freedom, I was deployed to a base in Florida that had sent its docs to Afghanistan. There are plenty of noncombat roles that mothers can fill.

    I understand that as a country we have to make sacrifices, but I don’t think that we should have to ask 3 young children to make such a great sacrifice. After all, aren’t they the ones for whom we are fighting. I hope that my 4-year old, 2-year old, and 6 month old won’t be asked to make that sacrifice too. I have a chance of being called up because I am in the inactive reserve until 2006 as part of my service obligation.

    Lastly, from a military standpoint,I don’t think that putting a mom of 3 young children in harm’s way is good for the morale of the troops (see efex’s comments in the women in war thread).


    That is really tough….and the prospect of deployment was THE reason that I chose not to take a military scholarship. People who choose to go into the military, and their families, have my respect.

    My thoughts are so conflicted about the issue. On one hand, as we advance the place of women in our society, we (as women) are expected to sacrifice the same as our male counterparts to achieve equivalent status. On the other hand, many of us are Moms for Heaven’s sake. Men and women are NOT the same, nor should we be treated as such! I would not be in favor of women being forced into service, for instance, by a draft, but I am glad that women are able to fill roles in the military that previously were not available to us.

    I do believe, though, that if a mom chooses to serve in the military, she should also be prepared to be deployed. I think it’s horrible for children to be without a parent for that long, but surely the possibility was considered before signing up.

    My heart goes out to your sister and her children. It will surely be difficult for them, but I hope that when it’s all said and done that the experience will help each of them in some way as they grow.



    Although I did state in my posts that females should not be involved in direct combat or even near combat zones because of the morale/readiness issues with the male soldiers, I am not for the non-deployment of recent mothers to combat areas due to having children. I am really sorry that your sister has to go but when you sign up in the military you are pretty much accepting to deploy when the time comes. I had to go to the first Gulf War when my daughter had just turned one and my husband was also getting deployed. That is the nature of the beast. Also, physicians are usually nowhere near to the danger as the troops are and if you are in the Navy they are usually on a ship somewhere off the coast. Mothers or mothers to be, need to be aware of this, yes the children will suffer due to the choice of the parents but that happens more than when you are a military parent…


    Again, I do not want anyone to misinterpret my post. I do not support women in direct combat or near it, just in supportive roles. I do not think that it would be fair to sign up to any military branch and then try to get out of your contract to deploy due to children. I believe that you “cannot have your cake and eat too” would be appropriate here. Many people (not saying this is anyone here) sign up and then are in utter shock when they are called for duty, sorry that is what you signed up for. Also let us not forget that deployed physicians are waaaay behind enemy lines and some like the poster may be deployed within the US to take over other docs that were deployed to the combat area….


    Just a question…

    …*both* of a child’s parents can be deployed? What happens to the child(ren)…particularly if there’s no one else (like a grandparent) to take responsibility of that child? Do they go into…gulp…foster care?


    No that is a total different situation. Before a soldier with children deploys they have to have an emergency deployement type packet, in this packet there are powers of attorney for the person that would be taking care of your children while you are gone. If there is nobody to do such thing I have never heard of the military deploying both parents. Usually when you are in the military you are aware of this and have someone take care of your child until a family members can come for the children. Even single parents have to do this packet so there is really no preferential treatment for anyone regardless of marital status but again that is something that all soldiers/airmen/sailors are aware of and it should not come as a surprise. There have been cases were it was not possible for a soldier to deploy and then this soldier was given a compassionate reassignment but these are far and few in between…

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