Coping with Deployment

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"I made him promise me he'd come home, and that's the biggest fear. He has to come home," says Melissa Blake. She is the wife of a Fort Carson soldier, and is preparing to say goodbye to her new husband. He's just one of 11,000 Fort Carson soldiers who has received orders to deploy.

When they leave, tens of thousands of family members will be left behind. They'll have to learn to cope without a spouse, while at the same time, raising and supporting their children.

"It's going to be devastating." Blake's husband is set to deploy any day now. She's gathering every bit of information she can to make the separation work. Today she learned that means talking to her two teenagers about it. "I never really thought about it until I came here, not only do I stress out, but they stress out."

At a seminar at Pikes Peak Community College, military family members and people that support those families talked about how to get through the deployment and homecoming. "When adults are nurturing and supportive, during this time, most children can manage the stress," says Judy Russell. She works at the Child Development Center at PPCC. She says she sees families struggling right now. "All of a sudden, you notice behavior changes in the child," she says.

That can include changes in sleeping and eating, separation anxiety, nightmares and aggression. "It's going to be very important that the spouse here is taking care of themselves. That way, they can provide comfort to their children," Russell says.

Melissa Blake says she's walking away with the tools she'll need to get she and her family through the deployment. "It's going to make me want to go home and talk to them about it, ask them how they're feeling about him leaving."

There are two more seminars in the next few weeks in Colorado Springs that are open to the public:

  • Saturday March 8th
    2:00 -- 3:30 p.m.
    Southeast YMCA
    2190 Jetwing Drive
    (Register through the YMCA)
    Childcare provided

  • Thursday, March 13th
    11:00 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m.
    Meadows Park Community Center
    (Register through the YMCA)
    Childcare provided