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Merchant Navy Wives or Partners?

(27 Posts)
Nickster1981 Thu 16-Dec-10 23:07:51

Hi there

Hope nobody minds me posting on this threat. My husband is in the Merchant Navy and I had a baby four months ago. Not sure if it's the time of year and/or weather but finding it increasingly hard to stay positive and keep on top of things. I find it really hard to ask my family for help even though I know they would help at the drop of a hat. Any tips on looking after babies with husbands away and still managing to stay semi-sane?


vintageteacups Fri 17-Dec-10 11:32:48

Hi - make yourself go out somewhere every day - even if it's for a walk around the village.
How long is your DH away at a time?

Meet up with friends when you can for a cuppa and join some groups if you can/want to. It's hard to start with but having other female support is s must!

Even though it's hard to ask for help from family, if they are happy to help, ask them to help with specific things. So maybe ask someone to look after the baby whislt you go and do the food shop, or ask someone to babysit whilst you go out with friends for a drink etc.

I think 'help' can sometimes be unhelpful so it's better to be specific when asking family for help - otheriwsem, you may end up wishing you hadn't asked!

flinginghasflung Fri 17-Dec-10 20:52:04

Ask and take any help offered. If you don't people may not offer again! They think you can manage! Put the baby into crèche if you can bear it just one morning a week so you can shop/ go to the gym/ get a hair cut, that kind of thing. Or get help with cleaning or ironing. If there's a problem throw money at it. DH won't mind as long as you guys are ok. Get a regular support group going, I.e. Bunch of mums who have coffee together once a week or so and finally, try to do something everyday. Swimming, walking, baby group anything as long as you are busy. Actually final tip is to develop and keep your own life even when he's back, you'll need those links again and it helps to keep the support network going. Good luck!

Nickster1981 Fri 17-Dec-10 20:55:02

Vintageteacups thanks very much for your posting. I feel more than a touch guilty complaining as it must be so hard for those who have DH in the forces and working in dangerous places for long periods of time with little or no contact.

He is only away for three weeks at a time (used to be six). I know what you mean about female support! The weather has meant that I have been able to get out of my house for weeks and when I have tried it has been so stressful I have been so tired.

I only recently moved to the area and so far have met so many nice people through having my little girl. I just wish there were some other people I knew that were in the same position as me!

sailorsgal Fri 17-Dec-10 21:12:53

Hi Nickster,

My dh is at sea for 4 months. My mil is my saviour and though like you it was hard to accept help I find this is what get me through the long months. I find the weekends the hardest as friends are with their families.

Is he home for xmas?

Nickster1981 Fri 17-Dec-10 21:53:11

Hi Sailorsgal

Thanks very much for your response. 4 months - that is a long stretch. Is he deep sea? Well done you for being strong enough to accept help. I go through this internal struggle with myself of feeling like I should be able to cope on my own with I'm not coping on my!

My DH is not home for Christmas as usual. He has only had one Christmas home in six years. How about your DH?


Nickster1981 Fri 17-Dec-10 21:56:57

Vintageteacup just read the next bit of your message which you posted whilst I was typing my response to your original posting. You are completely right - I need to develop my own life. I am terrible for just wanted to be with my DH and baby when he is home but this could be good time for him to spend himself - even just a few hours a week. I have just today been ordered by my mum to go and get my haircut whilst they looking after my wee one.

I used to meet up with other mums for coffee but my wee one keeps screaming everytime she is in the pram. She is nearly five months old and I think desperate to see out so contemplating raising her up so she can.

Your advice is extremely practical and appreciated.

Thanks so much.

sailorsgal Fri 17-Dec-10 21:58:27

He is not home this year. TBH ds who is 4 is struggling more than me. They are very close. He spends quite a bit of time with his granddad so he has a good male role model. Ds is at school now so very occupied and time goes quite quickly.

Which part of the country are you in?

Nickster1981 Fri 17-Dec-10 22:05:09

That must be so difficult. My husband's father was deep sea and he was also away for months on end and I think my husband found it very difficult. That's really good that your DS has a good male role model, I bet his grandad loves that! Also good that he is at school as will keep his mind off things. I live in Glasgow. What about you?

I know what you mean about the weekends. I also think this time of year doesn't help. It's so difficult watching everyone else with their DH's getting on with holidays etc. When does your DH get back?


sailorsgal Fri 17-Dec-10 22:12:31

Thats funny as dh's father was also at sea and away for several months. Obviously the sea is in their blood. grin

dh's ship is in Portsmouth is January and he leaves in Feb. He will be on leave for around 3 months.

We are in Dorset.

If you want to PM me anytime please do.

Nickster1981 Fri 17-Dec-10 22:30:38

My DH says his mum found it really hard when they were younger so it must be something in their blood that makes them want to do a similar job despite the difficulties! My DH told me when he met me that he loved his job and that he would always do it so I guess I can't complain.

Is it Merchant or Royal navy your DH is in?

Thanks so much for that. Would love to keep in touch so will send you a PM now with my details.

Hopefully things can be made a little easier ffor us both!

flinginghasflung Fri 17-Dec-10 22:34:16

So glad you came over Nickster1981, smile

Nickster1981 Fri 17-Dec-10 22:39:01

Aw thank you - me too! And got so carried away that I just realised that my last posting to vintageteacup was actually a response to your posting! Love your very very sensible advice. Time to get myself sorted out and get on with life!

flinginghasflung Fri 17-Dec-10 23:00:34

Not even slightly bothered! Just happy you're happy! At least you've found somewhere, I used to think I should post in single parents. But they have it way tougher. At least we can dip in and out.

Nickster1981 Sat 18-Dec-10 20:08:25

You have no idea how happy it has made me to find people in a similar situation to myself - it was the isolation of feeling alone that was really getting to me. You are completely right, single parents def have it tougher. I feel very lucky in that I love my DH to bits and he has a good job which provides a decent living for us. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be completely on my own. And as you say we get to dip in and dip out! Not sure about you but sometimes I find it just as stressful when DH comes home as when he goes away! smile

sailorsgal Sat 18-Dec-10 20:22:47

Hi Nickster, its the whole adjustment period which is hard. DH has learnt that I am in charge of the remote control.

And when it is time for him to leave I get annoyed with him as he hasn't done half the jobs he was sopposed to do when he was here. grin

1944girl Sat 18-Dec-10 20:22:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nickster1981 Sat 18-Dec-10 20:27:06

Sailorsgal - ha ha great to hear we are not the only ones to have the same stand-offs! I always feel so guilty the day he leaves as normally the day before I will have spent the whole day complaining about all the things he will miss or I will have to do on my own. Then I feel so guilty I spend the day he actually leaves apologising!

Nickster1981 Sat 18-Dec-10 20:29:58

1944girl many thanks for your response and well done for remaining sane! I was beginning to question my own sanity only 48 hours ago! 8 months is a long trip, I can not imagine what that would be like. He must have been deepsea? I was 'lucky' enough that my husband was home for the birth. I say 'lucky' because his lung collapsed when he was away on a trip about six weeks before I had my wee girl and as a result was home on sickleave for four months. Every cloud! How did you manage to cope with two? My husband is already starting to talk about 'the next one' and it's making me really nervous!!! Any tips?!

1944girl Sun 19-Dec-10 00:48:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nickster1981 Wed 22-Dec-10 21:26:00

Thanks very much 1944girl. That sounds really tough. I feel so lucky that my husband was home as I am not sure what I would have done!!!

I very very nearly bought a packet of cigerettes the other day (have not smoked for two years) but coulnd't bear the thought of looking Katie in the eye which is a good thing as I really don't want to start again.

My husband is much better thank you, always a risk it will happen again but then there's always a risk every time you leave the house!

Thanks again.


Cocobanjo Wed 29-Dec-10 00:02:44

Hi there,

Nickster - I posted on another thread of yours but thought I would join this one too!!

Whilst I'm looking for advice I just feel that nothing will help me deal with my partner being away. I am 34 wks today and prob going to be induced anywhere between 38-40wks due to high blood pressure! However my partner starts his new job in merchant navy on 7th Jan n there is a high chance he wont be here. Nothing set in stone just now but think he is going to be month on/month off !!

I'm so worried I am going to become isolated and struggle on my own. Although I'm hoping to follow your advice Vintageteacups by getting out walking with pram n dog everyday. I previously had depression some years ago so hoping I recognise any signs of it creeping up on me again!!! But there is also all the practical things before, during and after baby is born !!! Did anyone else go it alone??

Any support will be grateful as I know the coming weeks are going to be so upsetting!!! X

vintageteacups Wed 29-Dec-10 12:37:11

Hi Coco,
My sister (currently with two under 2) keeps moaning about how hard it all is - even though her dh comes home every night and is there every weekend.

I tell her (without trying to sound bitter) that I had two on my own for the whole 7 months when dh went on op tour and ds was only a couple of months old.

Yes it was really hard but I cracked on. Fortunately with him I didn't have pnd, unlike with dd, which was a huge relief but it was still hard.

I had only just moved to a new patch (not that it was a really close knit one) and was hours away from my parents. DHs parents were 30 mins away but they didn't offer to help me much and so I was pretty much on my own. I made myself walk the mile into the village every day, where there were a couple of shops thankfully and dd could stroke the pony in the field on the way etc. BUT, it was really boring until I got to know a few people. DD went to preschool which was a help but it was only 2 mornings a week to start with.

I suggest coco, that you make as many friends as possible, even if it means you inviting people for coffee. Even when on your own, having a few people round for coffee isn't as daunting as having just the baby and the other child and the four walls!

vintageteacups Wed 29-Dec-10 12:38:28

having your dh back for aone whole month will be lovely too. I know it'll be a long 4 weeks when he's away but at least you can plan effectively to zip through those weeks and then have some you time when he returns

Nickster1981 Sun 02-Jan-11 18:37:13

Hi Cocobanjo

First of all a massive congratulations!Despite the high blood pressure, I hope that your pregnancy has so far been good? So sorry it's taken me so long to respond. The festive season has been crazily busy and my DH only got home late on Hogmany.

I was sooooo worried about my husband being away and although I came on here looking for advice, it actually isn't quite as bad as I thought. It didn't help that my brother has who has a three year old had kept telling me how stressful it is having a baby and how he was worried about how I would manage. I think I verged very close to clinical depression as I really got myself worked up into a massive knot of angst. Needless to say my brother is not in the merchant navy and his wife does not work - I think I find it easier than they do!

Vintageteacups advice is absolutely spot on. I started feeling really down in the bad weather because I couldn't get out of the house as this is one of the key aspects I think to keeping feeling good and enjoying your new baby. I had also just moved to a new area and was worried how isolated I would feel especially with my husband away. However with a new baby come so many opportunities to make a support network. I struggle at the minute to fit seeing everyone in during the week!

Are you in an area where you can take advantage of new mums groups, bounce and rhyme, mum and tots etc?

Also I built up a good friendship with a couple of people from my antenatal classes - it felt like we went through everything together.

Also DH father was deep sea merchant navy and away for three months or more at a time. Sometimes when it gets hard I think that she managed to do it with two young children so it must be possible!

Please try and enjoy your pregnancy especially if it is your first. Mentally I was completely exhausted because I was so frantic all the time worrying about the future and how I would manage without my husband home.

To be honest I actually sometimes find it harder when my husband comes home because I get into my own routine and used to doing things my own way!!

I really hope this helps. The other posters have all fantastic advice. Maybe we can help each other out a bit? It's amazing how just hearing from someone in same position can help so much XX

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