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Going to Iraq
I will be going to Iraq about three months after my first-born arrives. I'll be there approx 13 months. This means that I will only have a very short time to be with my child prior to deployment and I will miss out on a lot of the "first things" with my child.
I will have to record a last will and testimony prior to deployment not knowing what I should put in it in the event that something should happen to me.
So my question is what do I do? How do I prepare my wife, baby and self for this and what do I do so that my child will never forget me?
You are already more connected to your child than the vast majority of men with their first baby on the way. You will also be there when it really counts - the "three month hump" - the tough part when babies cry a lot and you and the new mom in your life get adjusted to being a family.
As far as you missing out on each other while you are deployed, put a picture of yourself over his crib and make a recording telling him things you want him to know. Set it up so it is easy for mom to play (and keep for him when he is older), and update it periodically from Iraq.
Also, take a picture of him and mom and a recording of his babbling to Iraq, and arrange it so mom can update it, and keep you posted with of the "first things" you would otherwise miss.
Your wife will be the one missing the support you would have provided at home, so do everything you can while you can. Tell her what a great mom she is, and ask her about what she experiences as she transforms into a mother, and keep it up when you are in Iraq.
Talk to other fathers in your unit for more ideas on staying connected with both. You clearly understand that no matter what happens to you, your child will need to know you loved him and did your best for him.
The recording will make this clear; putting your feelings and dreams for him into a letter will provide him a piece of your heart he will keep forever.
Good luck over there, and thanks,
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