This wife of this Soldier tried to keep a secret from him for months
A career in the military means being away from home from time to time. And when they are, many soldiers are separated from their families.
This sometimes leads to painful, yet beautiful stories. Take, for example, Chris Daugherty, who came home to a very special surprise after his military service.
When Daugherty left home in January 2017, he initially expected to be away from home for about five months. A few months later, however, it would become clear that his trip would be extended. An unexpected twist, but it was nothing compared to the shock that awaited him on his return…
Off to the next location
Daugherty, his wife Natasha and their three children were no strangers to this life. He had been away from home for extended periods before, so when he left in early 2017, the family knew what to expect.
Still, it wasn’t long before Natasha started to feel lonely. Although she was just starting to get used to her husband’s long journeys, she felt strange this time around.
She even found herself behaving differently this time. It all began with small changes, but soon these became more and more difficult to hide…
A difficult toddler
Natasha’s children also began to notice these changes. Her eldest child, a 10-year-old boy, could easily keep it a secret, but whether her younger daughter could too? That was the question.
Although Natasha didn’t have much time for herself with all the work she had to do at home, she still kept in regular contact with her husband. They video called each other almost every day, but it wasn’t easy for Natasha. What if Chris found out that she was trying to hide something?
Almost got caught
There were times it was especially difficult for Natasha to keep her secret. She wanted to tell Chris so badly. A few weeks after he left, they had a video call during which she almost gave it away. At the last minute she decided to keep it a secret.
He wasn’t the only one she hid it from
Besides Chris, Natasha’s immediate family too couldn’t know about her secret. This proved to be more difficult by the day, because she had many clever relatives who could easily find out that the woman was keeping a secret.
Not only Natasha’s situation was getting more and more dangerous. Chris, who was in Korea at the time, also got into trouble. The North Korean government was experimenting with nuclear weapons, and Chris was close to the test site.
Natasha lived in uncertainty about her husband’s fate. Still, she had to make ends meet With two jobs and three children to care for, she barely had time for herself.
Half a year later
Five months had passed, but Chris had not returned. In fact, his mission would be extended by a month. He called his wife from the army base to break the news. The mission, which became increasingly dangerous, would continue for at least another month…
Going mad with uncertainty
It was a nerve-wracking time for Natasha. Every day she doubted whether or not she should reveal the secret. What if her husband died? Could she ever forgive herself?
Still, she held on, and her perseverance paid off. In June, six months after Chris’s departure, he set course back to his home in America.
It was June 23 when Chris’s family gathered in San Diego on a hot summer’s day. There, on the pier, they saw the man they had been missing all along.
As fast as they could, Chris’ children ran towards their father. Behind them stood Natasha, holding a large sign: Welcome back, Daddy. After Chris had given his children a big hug, he walked over to his wife, who dropped the sign. “Are you kidding me? Seriously?” Chris said when he saw what appeared from behind the sign…
The moment of truth
Hidden behind the sign was a text written on Natasha’s shirt: “I am the present Dad left behind before he left,” it said. And under the shirt? Natasha’s big old baby belly.
Chris could not believe his eyes. “I looked at her and poked her stomach,” he said afterwards. “I thought she was kidding me,” he laughed.
It was a very special day for Chris. Coincidentally, the day he returned home was Father’s Day. It almost seemed too good to be true. What he didn’t know was that it was only going to get better.
Help from family
Natasha hadn’t been able to hide her pregnancy from the rest of her family. However, instead of spilling her secret, they came to her aid. One of them taped Chris’s return, which quickly became a hit on YouTube and Facebook.
Hiding the pregnancy had been a lot of work, since Natasha had been in frequent contact with Chris throughout her pregnancy.
During conversations, she often put one of her children on her lap to hide her belly. Sometimes, she also took a picture with a beer (which she didn’t actually drink of course) so that Chris wouldn’t think she was pregnant.
Don’t spoil the secret!
The hardest part was convincing her children that nothing special was going on. “When my eldest daughter started noticing, I just said I was getting fat,” Natasha joked afterwards.
‘Hardest time of my life’
It wasn’t always easy to hide the pregnancy. More than once, Natasha wanted to call or email her husband to reveal the secret, but nevertheless she managed to stop herself time and again.
Hidden out of love
The choice not to reveal anything was one from the bottom of her heart. Natasha knew that if she told Chris, he would constantly be worrying about the things he was missing out on and not be able to focus on his mission.
When he returned, she was overjoyed to finally be able to tell the secret, but that wasn’t the only surprise Chris awaited…
Natasha didn’t know yet whether it would be a girl or a boy. Together with Chris she went to the hospital for an ultrasound. It soon became clear that it was a healthy baby, but was it a boy or a girl?
In order to reveal the news to the rest of the family, they decided to invite everyone to a party. The couple had hung up balloons filled with confetti.
When they popped the balloons, pieces of pink paper flew everyone. It was clear: they were expecting another daughter.
Time to acclimate
In the period between Chris’s return and the birth of the baby, the couple had their work cut out for them. Buying diapers, putting together a baby room, you name it. Yet they also enjoyed the time they got to spend together
Still, there was some bad news in the air. Chris could be summoned to go on a mission at any time, which could mean missing the birth of his daughter. They waited anxiously for a message from the army.
When the phone finally rang, Natasha held her breath. Chris would now finally be told when his next mission was to take place. It turned out to be a huge relief: early 2018. That meant that he could be there for the birth of his daughter, who was expected around August 2017, without any problems.
Later than planned
However, things didn’t quite go according to plan. Baby number four took a long time to arrive and skipped the month of August. It wasn’t until September 2, 2017 that Anara Rose was born.
Worth the trouble
In the end, both Chris and Natasha were happy that she’d kept her secret. It had been a roller coaster of emotions for Natasha, but now, she was happier than ever.
Afterwards, Natasha and Chris got the chance to tell their story on television, during a CBS broadcast. “It was a fantastic experience,” Chris said at the time. “Of course it would have been nice if she had told me over the phone, but the way she did all this was very special.”