SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

September 22, 2012

Baby coming – hold the war

NOT 2 BE MISSED

U.K. soldier: I didn’t know I was pregnant

By David Stringer ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON — Hours after a British soldier in Afghanistan told medics that she was suffering from abdominal pains, the Royal Artillery gunner unexpectedly gave birth to a boy — the first child ever born to a member of Britain’s armed forces in combat.

Britain’s defense ministry said yesterday that the soldier told authorities she had not been aware that she was pregnant and consulted doctors only on the day that she went into labor.

The soldier, who arrived in Afghanistan in March, delivered the child on Tuesday at Camp Bastion, a vast desert camp in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province where Prince Harry is deployed and a Taliban attack last week killed two U.S. Marines.

“Mother and baby are both in a stable condition in the hospital and are receiving the best possible care,” the ministry said. It said a team of doctors will fly out to Afghanistan in the coming days to help the soldier and her son return safely to Britain.

The U.K. does not allow female soldiers to deploy on an operation if they are pregnant. Although the soldier’s child was conceived before her tour of duty began in March, she is not likely to face censure. Britain has sent female soldiers home from wars after they became pregnant — including about 60 from Afghanistan — but hasn’t previously had a servicewoman go into labor in a war zone.

In 2009, the U.S. military in Iraq issued a policy that could punish both soldiers who became pregnant there and their sexual partners — then quickly rescinded it after a storm of criticism.

The British soldier, a citizen of Fiji, is one of about 500 British military women serving in Afghanistan. She is also among about 2,000 Fijians who serve in the British military, even though the country became independent from Britain in 1970.

Maj. Charles Heyman, a retired officer and author of   The British Army Guide, said the unexpected birth will cause concern at the base.   “This sort of thing makes life difficult for everyone else, but the important thing is the welfare of the female soldier. This could have gone wrong, and we don’t know if the attack on Camp Bastion might have forced the birth,” Heyman said.

Heyman said it might have been “that the excitement of the tour masked the symptoms of the pregnancy.”

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, a British parenting charity, also suggested that the soldier’s demanding work could explain why she either didn’t know she was pregnant or attempted to ignore signs.

  • “It could be that she was so very focused on other things, and because she was in a life-or-death scenario, that she simply didn’t recognize that she was pregnant,” Phipps said.

(Just wanted to share this as I found it stunning – having been through a pregnancy. I realize that everyone is so different and the explanations above certainly make sense – – but to the women out there – can you even imagine such a thing?    I birthed an 8 pound perfect son – – no problems, was healthy, but I was so very conscious of being pregnant and bulky and finally desperate to get it over with.  I lost body weight and was skinny when my baby was born.  My morning sickness lasted deep into the day and for many months, but was strong and active.  So this is kinda outside my imaginative ability.    What a unique story – – don’t you think?    Jan)

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: