Sunday, March 14, 2010

Living in a bubble.

I used to be in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
I worked my butt off to get in, I lost 30kg, I ran evey day, I did push ups during the ad breaks on tv, I harassed defence recruiting for 9 months to get in to the specialist position that I wanted. I spent just as long trying to get in as I spent as a serving member.

In the nine months I was enlisted I got married, met some great friends, got fit and worked on my pelvic floor exercises during drill instruction. I had the normal ups and downs but things came to a head when I fell pregnant.

I had failed my course after we had gotten married hoping that I could get a transfer of category to be in a position where mr president and I could be posted to the same location. I was in the process of organising my removal to another base hen I found out I was pregnant. It wasn't exactly planned but wasn't unplanned and definately not unwanted.

The first thing that happened was that when I announced my happy news I was told by my boss (at that stage an army sargent as I was at a tri-service establishment) that I had to make a choice between my job and having a family. I believe that this was a suggestion to have the pregnancy terminated.

I was then moved to a different base (HMAS Cerberus) in Melbourne. The primary training facility for the RAN and put into a holding division while they decided what to do with me. To begin with I was willing to change jobs and move to a different category to continue my training but there was no way that they could promise that I would even be posted in the same state as mr president, let alone the same city!
So I applied for discharge.

I was coping fine untill mr president was posted to his new location. By that stage we had been married over two moths and still hadn't lived together.
Once he moved I was isolated. None of my friends where there, no family, no husband and no support. I began to struggle.

I asked for help. I spoke to my superiors, I spoke to the chaplins and I spoke to the psychs asking for help. Asking for strategies to deal with my all consuming lonliness, the stress that was building and my fears of what could happen to my baby if I continued to feel that way.

Finally it all came to a head after I had been alone for well over a month. I spoke to the Chaplin and told him that I had a history of self harm and I was worried.
As soon as the buzz words (self harm) was mentioned the started rolling.

I was immediately admitted into the base hospital. Put on suicide watch and banned from talking to anyone. I had every officer on duty came and see me, not to offer assistance but to gawk at the knocked up "crazy" chick. I had almost zero privacy as I was in a glass walled room and once they had all had their fill I was left alone. Completely alone. Untill sometime later the next day.

The phych I had spoken to earlier came up to see me band she was so frustrated with the system an wanted to get me out. But as the doctor on duty the night before had decided that I needed to seek further phychological treatment she was tied by the system and unable to do anything.
My appointment with the psychatrist wasn't booked until a week later. During that time I had no belongings, no visitors (except for the occasional medical stuff doing checks and the food delivery person) and no answers.
The reason I was struggling originally was that I was felt alone. Now I really was completely alone.

I asked to go get some clothing underwear and toiletries and was told I couldn't even do that even if I was escorted. So a male trainee medic was sent to my room to riffle though my things and bring me back some underwear. Humiliating to say the least.

A few days before the big appointent I had a bleed. I buzzed a nurse and when one showed up eventually asked if I was due for my period. When I explained that I was 9 weeks pregnant she scoffed and asked to see the blood in my underwear. They didn't even believe me. (luckily the bleed was minor and giggle girl is obviously thriving now but at the time it shocke me to the core.)

Eventaully when I went to see the phycharitrist he deemed me no risk to myself or others and was appalled about the way I was being treated. I also beloved that he wrote a verystrong worded letter to the hospital, my officer in charge and the navy phychs letting them know what he had observed and how inhumane my treatment was.

As soon as the letter had been recieved my discharge paperwork was rushed through and I was discharged in 3 days. Although I never had an exit interview, which is compulsory, which is a chance to air any issues with a unbiased person. I supposed I don't blame them. Some people would have been in BIG trouble.

I have considered contactiong a current affair or similar tv programs to tell my story. But as mr president is still a serving member I don't want to cause problems for him.

So that's my anti-fairytale start to my pregnancy. Luckily the rest was without issue and giggle girl is the light of my life.

Love and Smiles

side note: this was not the only issue I would have aired at my exit interview. I was also sexually harrassed and felt up by another member (not mr president, that was consentual lol) but it was delt with very badly and I was extremely annoyed about it. I was also asked by my recruit instructor to give him a lapdance and then offered alchohol to keep quiet.
Ahhh gotta love the puss!


Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God.

I have no words for what you've been through.

If I had been in your shoes, I think they would have ended up having me committed, because in that situation, I'm fairly confident I would have ended up acting like the crazy person they thought I was!

I hope one day you're in a position to raise a little hell about what you were put through, because, by god, those idiots involved deserve it!

You thouroughly deserve your happy ending with your Giggle Girl, and Mr President!

Samantha said...

my partner is in the RAAF, and when he was training i too was pregnant with our 2nd. We were sent to Wagga, away from family. we saw steven for 1/2 hor a day because of work and study, we had no home to arrive to, the room booked for us was cancelled before we got there and we had to find our own accomodation, left on my own with a 1yr old and a big belly in a godforsaken town. i too was committed with pre and post natal psychosis - i just needed some company, and was put into a surgical ward in the hospital for 3 days with no help at all. if you are not working for them you dont exist, if they are deployed you dont exist - he is on his 3rd trip to the sandbox as we speak, and nothing from them as of yet! you get told all this stuff that you will be taken care of, but really if you cant do for them, they dont want you. i was shocked to read your story and glad your little one is thriving. - sam

Sarah said...

Im so sorry you had to go though all of this. I do hope that you find your on justice in your own way!! Or if not head to the top. xoxo