This is an interview with single parents in the Marines: "I am a Lance Corporal, who is pregnant and a single parent. I was wondering if there is any WM who could give any advice about being a Marine and being a Mother and finding that balance. Also any advice to practical things such as moving into housing, daycare, what happens when your child is sick?"
"When I was a Lance Corporal I become pregnant with my son. I was 21 at the time and scared to death. I was stationed in California and my family was in Virginia. Fortunately, I worked in legal so I was in an office environment for the most part which made being pregnant easier. Except I had a female MSgt who always gave me a hard time because I was the only female in my shop."
"I think it had something to do with the fact that she never conceived, that she was conscientious that (she made rank b/c of B billets) and therefore paranoid, she was an idiot (I can go on and on about her). She made my life hell but fortunately, my OIC had my back and was very good to me. He even arranged for most of my baby things to be paid for, got Marines together in my shop to help me move into an apartment off base."
"At 7 mos. they put you on half days. Then once you have the baby, they give you six weeks convalescence leave and allow you to take off leave if you have it. So I was off for 3 months. While I was on maternity leave, I went looking for daycare and found a really nice girl who lived on base housing that was fantastic with my son and actually would come over to my house and sit with him while I was at work."
"She also accepted $50 per week for daycare - a bargain but she knew that I had very little money. I would come home at lunch and nurse my son, have lunch and then go back to work. I got to pump throughout the day although my male co-workers teased me about the breast milk that was in the fridge."
"When I was in, the USMC mandated that women had to be under their max weight for their height within 6 months of the birth of their child and be able to pass a PFT. No problem for me because I started running 3 weeks after I gave birth to my son and ate healthy again. Over all, I really didn't have too much trouble juggling single motherhood and being a Marine. But here are the con's that I dealt with:"
"You make 'peanuts' as a Lance Corporal - I qualified for WIC so I took that -- I told them that I was nursing part-time and giving him formula the rest of the time. So I got a reduced amount of powdered formula but since I was really nursing full-time, I stashed it away just in case I ever needed to wean him. E-3's with families also qualify for food stamps - but I was too proud to take them. I didn't even know what a food stamp was until I was 16 working at a grocery store. Until then I thought they were like postage stamps."
"If you aren't married at the time, it is possible that they can send you to overseas as a single person 'without' dependents. I got stationed in Okinawa for a year without my son when he was only 7 months. It was hard for both of us and that was the deciding factor on whether to re-enlist or try to make it a career. Financially, I knew I could do a whole heck of a lot better and had no trouble finding work when I got out. I'm making about 8 times an E-3's and I am currently going to school for my B.S. in Psychology and plan on going to law school after that."
"You will have naysayers imply that the "Corps didn't issue you a baby, etc." - true, but what can they do? What can you do? You deal with it and look at becoming pregnant as a blessing rather than a curse. If you put your mind to it, being a mother in the Marine Corps, even a single mom, can work out."