The Military’s Most Successful Psyop?
The Maternity Uniform
Today I successfully stuffed myself into my service dress for the last time (it took some creative use of spanks, control top pantyhose, a sportsbra to lessen the impact of my increasing cup size and a belly band…. and let me tell you… it was close.
This gymnastic routine was the result of a couple of things: 1) I have not transitioned to maternity uniforms as of yet (yea belly band and utility uniforms!) and 2) therefore most people in my office are oblivious to my expanding waistline.
I’ve kept my pregnancy on the quiet side for both personal and professional reasons. The professional reasons include the hideousness (and ridiculousness) of the maternity uniform… the most successful bit of psychological warfare yet developed by the Department of Defense. You really have to want to procreate to voluntarily put yourself through having to wear a tent to work for months (while also trying to discuss, and be taken seriously discussing, national defense).
Even as my husband and I are excited about growing our family: This is my special kind of hell….
I am over 35, an officer in the U.S. military, and pregnant.
That means I have, over the previous 20 weeks (or so) been subjected to the medical community’s endearing terminology for my condition: a geriatric pregnancy, because I am: of advanced maternal age.
These phrases are…
No, Not Awesome.
These phrases subconciously (or consciously) convey to all women over 35 who happen to somehow procreate that we are miracles of science. Our wombs, shriveled and dry and in possession of eggs way past their expiration date (as they truly must be at this advanced maternal age), cannot possibly bring forth life… unless it is mutant and genetically flawed life. We are now something to be poked, prodded, and studied such that modern medicine can learn from our bodies. Science must learn what special genetic properties we have been endowed with so if we happen to successfully give birth to a ‘normal, healthy baby’ at this advanced maternal age all mankind might benefit.
Yeah… that makes you feel great as you go through morning sickness, bloating, getting up to pee (repeatedly) through all hours of the day and night and watch your waistline expand… looking more ‘fat’ than ‘pregnant’ for weeks.
On top of that…. if you’re a military officer over 35 who is pregnant….
You are most likely working for, working with, and supervising men who are twice your age. Their wives likely stayed home (& still stay home) and even if they can’t admit it (even to themselves), there is a part of them that can’t quite handle your body’s mutant ability to procreate at this advanced maternal age while also leading and supervising and continuing to support the national defense.
If this weren’t all enough…
They make you look like an oompa loompa… or Violet after she turns into a blueberry in ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ while doing it. Seriously?!
If you want some more advice (and a cheerier attitude) on navigating maternity wear in the military, here’s a good run down from a few years ago.
Also, it’s worth noting the U.S. Air Force is currently testing new maternity uniforms that at least acknowledge that women who are pregnant deserve the same size and number of pockets in their utility uniforms as their non-pregnant colleagues. Story here.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: these are my personal opinions, entirely my own and do not reflect the policy of the U.S. Air Force or the Department of Defense.