Did you know that there’s a company that makes body pillows of men in their military uniforms as a way to help children stay connected to their father while he is deployed?
Military wives Stephanie Himel-Nelson and Starlett Henderson discussed the Daddy Doll and other ways to make it through a loved one’s deployment during a live chat with Washington Post readers Wednesday afternoon.
“It is a tough road, whether it’s your first or seventh deployment,” said Henderson, an Army veteran and military spouse of 16 years, “but many families have found what works for them.”
In addition to the Daddy Doll, Henderson suggested making a video of the father reading a story so that it can be shown to children “whenever they need some comfort.”
The chatters discussed how to comfort spouses, too.
Suggested ways to cope with deployment included getting out of the house every day, maintaining the household routine and working on a long-term project.
Military families need to help each other, by being each other’s “battle buddy,” the military wives said.
The most impactful way to do that is just being there, said Himel-Nelson, the communications director for Blue Star Families, a national nonprofit supporting military families.
“The most important thing is that she knows you're there for her,” Himel-Nelson said in response to a reader question about comforting a military wife. “Just talk. Even if it's not about the deployment, if she knows you're there for her, she'll turn to you when she needs help.”
The military wives also offered tips on giving gifts to those who are deployed. Among the suggestions: photos of the “homefront,” toiletries, gift cards and, in the case of Henderson’s brother, Vernor’s ginger ale.