Before I joined the Marines in 1977, women who became pregnant were immediately discharged. Being married, even to another Marine, made zero difference.
Let’s face it, men in charge back then were still adjusting to “women in their Corps,” let alone the introduction of pregnant ones. Women in charge had already sacrificed motherhood for Corps, so when the regulations changed, allowing pregnant Marines the opportunity to have it all — Corps and motherhood — a certain amount of resentment was understandable.
Not until I began writing the memoir about my life as a Marine journalist in the 1980s did I fully appreciate the sacrifices made by my older Marine sisters. And not until I began examining my own Marine Corps experience did I fully appreciate what my generation had endured as the first Marine moms.
For example, the new maternity uniform hadn’t even rolled out for issue when I first became pregnant in 1979. My CO had rolled his eyes when I asked permission to wear civilian maternity clothing until the maternity uniform was available. He looked at the ceiling, down at the floor, and eventually settled on my midsection as if expecting it to inflate like a balloon right before him. “Stay out of my sight,” he grumbled.
The purpose of this blog is to honor our legacy as first Marine moms and to fully appreciate today’s hardworking, devoted, self-sacrificing Marine moms.
What is your story? Send me a photo of you as a first Marine mom.