Tell me about your experience of motherhood.
We found out that I was pregnant the same week we found out my husband would be deployed to Iraq. I was really happy to be pregnant, but I was sad that he couldn’t be there. I was sending him sonogram pictures and belly pictures every week. I was always worried about my husband missing the process. That he would miss the birth. After he arrived in Puerto Rico in time for the birth, I was much more calm. I was praying that everything would happen in the way that it should, and I think everything had a perfect time. I was living with my mom while he was gone. It was good because I had the support, but it was sad because I didn’t have my husband.
How did you guys meet?
We met on Myspace. Jose was in Korea, and he was looking at a friend’s profile, and he saw my profile, and we had a lot of mutual friends. We are from other sides of Puerto Rico, and had never met before. We started talking, and we had a twelve hour time difference then too. We talked for six months, and he came to see me in Puerto Rico, and after ten days we got married.
You got married after ten days?
It was a small wedding, but we had everything. We had decided to have a court wedding, but mom was nervous about that. Jose brought his dad to meet my mom, and they had the idea of having a church wedding. That night Jose called his uncle who is a pastor, and I had a friend who had a dress shop. 20 of our closest family and friends came. We knew a person who was a decorator, so she did everything for us, and it was beautiful. No one could believe it was all prepared in a day.
What about the paperwork?
We had already been planning to get married in court, so the paperwork was pretty much done. It was a relief for my mom. Her wish was for us to get married in a traditional way. Our plan was to get married in court and then have a big wedding when my husband was done with his tour in Korea. I want to visit Korea someday because that is where it all started for us.
What was it like to date and marry someone in the military?
Our first picture together was a photoshopped picture. People asked when we took the picture, and we had to tell them that we hadn’t seen each other yet. People always said it wouldn’t work, but we’ve been together nine years, and now we have two daughters.
What was your plan before you met your husband?
I studied criminal justice in university. I always saw myself working in a courthouse. I was used to working, studying, and I wasn’t looking to have a family yet. I was thinking about graduate school. Even after getting married, I thought I would have a stable career before having children. Both times we got pregnant, he was away, so I told him when he got back. But I have no regrets. He’s a great father, and provides for all of us. And both my daughters look exactly like their father.
Was there anything about motherhood that was surprising to you?
The only thing that was surprising was how I loved my baby right away. How protective I felt. It’s like how God loves us. We do everything for them, when they get sick, when they’re upset. Also, how I love both of my children the same way. There is no difference. I was also surprised by how my body changed to get ready for the baby, and also how the body goes back - it’s like it’s meant to be.
So you expected the love to grow rather than come to you when you gave birth?
As soon as I knew the baby was coming, I already felt that love. I was already taking care of myself for the baby. I felt like I became a mother right away.
What is it like for you and your children when your husband is away so much?
When we first met our daughter’s teacher, we told her, “You’re going see her down sometimes.” When she misses her dad, she gets fevers. My youngest, although she is just a baby, misses her dad a lot. I find that I have to fill the roles of mother, father, psychologist, doctor, and I have to cover my husband’s space too.