I chose this life for myself.
I signed the dotted lines technically before my now husband did.
I joined the army straight from school and it was the adventure of a lifetime.
I loved my life.
I met my now husband when we were in the second part of our training and we hit it off as soon as we met.
It was all smooth sailing from there. We both got posted to Darwin together at different units and stayed together. We were both young I was just 18 and he was 20.
Early on in though an unexpected surprise came along into his life and he found out he had a daughter from before we had met.
This obviously was an enormous shock and was a make or break moment in our relationship.
And well, we decided to make it.
With that news and him getting a compassionate posting to Brisbane to form this new connection with his daughter, I decided to follow.
As I decided to follow I came to the decision I had to leave my job behind. The army being the army, they were making it almost impossible for me to move my job with him.
So that was that. I discharged as a full time member and stayed with him.
The Army was hard work, training at Kapooka as a fresh and very immature 18 year old was a shock to the system.
But looking back the biggest shock I have ever had to deal with is the shock of having the transition into a civilian and a “army wife”.
There is this whole culture of women out there who you only saw on family days and only hear about occasionally.
And to be honest I never thought of those women at all. I never thought of it as them and us army people. I just never even for a split second thought of them.
Now I am one; “an army wife”.
I am now faced with the daily struggles that has come with this role.
One struggle is that you are alone. A lot!
My husband on several occasions has came home from work and told me about a colleagues partner who has just moved and has no friends - just like me.
I’m in the exact same boat.
Funny that isn’t it. (Complete sarcasm!)
Yeah the obvious thing is we should meet up right?
I could finally make more then one friend in this foreign area that I’ve just moved to.
But off course we don’t. It’s strange!
We are exactly the same with no friends and being left so regularly by our husbands who leave to go away with work yet we are still so embarrassed about the fact we have no one around.
As well as being left all the time we have to carry on our lives and follow our partners (usually husbands).
From place to place - posting to posting.
We have to find new jobs, put the kids in new schools and some how find new friends time and time again.
We’ve had 4 postings in 6 years! Four!
My husband says how hard it is for him having to start over again but what about us?
It’s made out that the Army is the hardest thing!
And it was hard don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen people close to me affected with PTSD and other severe side effects from being in defence.
But being the partner on the sideline and being expected to follow your partner around and still do what they are doing but all from scratch everytime when your career isn’t progressing and you are “just the civilian who doesn’t understand” is the biggest challenge I have had in my life.
Now that I’m out of the defence I’ve had more mental health issues then whilst being in uniform.
Keeping that in mind I would love to shout out to all those women out there.
Moving time and time again.
Waiting at home when you don’t know if your husband is still a month away or a day away from walking back through the door. And I hope that he will come back home earlier then expected and give you the biggest surprise!
I know the feeling all too well. Like you are probably sitting at home wondering where the hell he is and what he is doing when he has no phone service and you are bathing or feeding your kids.
You are the real hero’s holding down the fort in the homes putting on those brave faces.
And I’m sincerely sorry I never thought of you before I became one of you.
Because YOU, as well as now myself should never be forgotten or left out.
This is the hardest life I have had so far and it’s bearable. Some days only just. And some days great.