For the hardworking men and women of our military, the ability to interact with family and friends can be very difficult when deployed overseas. The complications of being in a foreign land mixed with prioritizing their duties can really put a strain on relationships. Some couples end up stronger for it, and others succumb to the unpredictability of military life.
One U.S. Navy officer began to suspect his wife was lying to him and was using his deployment to hide it. When he finally returned home, the truth rocked his world forever…
Months and Years
No one can fully understand the sacrifices those in the military make when it comes to their families. Gone for months and sometimes years at a time, being separated from your loved ones can really take a toll. Even worse, when you discover you've been betrayed, it can be completely life-shattering.
Navy Seaman Chris Daugherty was serving a six-month deployment aboard the USS Carl Vinson when he began to suspect something was wrong with his wife, Natasha. Not only was she being dodgy in her communication, but friends and family began to see warning signs as well. Normally, Chris would chalk this up to separation anxiety, but given their tumultuous history, his fear was warranted.
His Worst Nightmare
Back in 2009, Chris was serving his second deployment overseas. When he finally got the chance to return home to San Diego, California, all he wanted to do was spend time with his wife and son. Unfortunately, he returned to a complete nightmare.
Gone Without A Trace
The house was empty. Not only were his wife and child gone, but all signs of their life together had vanished. Chris would soon discover that the separation had taken a toll on Natasha, and she had finally decided she was done waiting for him.
To say Chris was heartbroken would be an understatement.
A Couple Broken
Natasha had spent over a year raising their young son alone and decided she could no longer handle it anymore. Therefore, she moved back to their hometown of Oswego, Illinois. Refusing to lose his family, Chris begged for Natasha to come back to their home in California. Of course, their relationship took a huge hit in the trust department and was never the same again.
A Strain on the Marriage
The next few years would prove to be rocky for the couple. Natasha gave birth to two more children, but Chris's continued tours overseas created a rift between them. A lack of trust put a major strain on their marriage, but Chris refused to call it quits. As a child of divorce, he was willing to do anything to spare his children from the pain of a broken home.
Despite their marriage already being on thin ice, Chris was called to serve another six-month tour. He was worried that it would completely shatter what was left of his marriage but knew he had to serve his country. Reluctantly, he bid farewell to his family, hoping things would work out in the end.
A Few Months Later
After making it halfway through his tours overseas, Chris received a message from one of his friends back home. Something was wrong with Natasha. According to his friend, something seemed very "off" with his wife and that she had become very reclusive.
What could it be?
Selling Personal Items
To make matters worse, according to his family, Natasha had begun to sell off some of Chris's personal items. Chris wanted to justify his wife's behavior but couldn't come up with a reasonable explanation. Something was wrong and he was beginning to feel like this could be a repeat of 2009. Natasha was definitely keeping something from him.
Guilty As Charged
The truth was that Natasha was keeping a secret from Chris. In fact, she wanted to tell him what it was more than anything, but simply couldn't. Wracked with guilt, she had started to isolate herself from friends and family.
It Must Be in Person
Natasha had started and deleted many emails in an effort to break the news to her husband, but she felt the secret was too big to reveal in an email. Even worse, Chris's life was now in danger and this secret was like a dark shadow over her world.
Ordered to North Korea
Why was Chris's life in danger? Well, his ship the USS Carl Vinson had been ordered to the waters off of the coast of North Korea as a show of force. This would extend his deployment by another month. For Natasha, keeping her secret much longer was next to impossible and the guilt was consuming her.
Should She Call?
Worried that if something happened to Chris he might never know the truth, Natasha struggled with whether or not to call him and come clean. However, she ended up deciding to wait until he returned home. She hoped it wouldn't be a decision she came to regret.
A Homecoming Seven Months in the Making
When Chris was finally set to return home, Natasha took her three children down to the docks to wait. She was nervous, but tried not to show it and had her children make "Welcome Home" signs for their father; however, one sign was extra special.
A Shocking Surprise
After months of waiting and worrying, Chris finally emerged from the ship and rushed to his wife and three children. However, Chris was confused by his wife's sign that stated: Welcome Home Baby Daddy!
And Then There Were Four
As questions began to pile up in his head, Natasha quickly threw away the sign to reveal something that stunned Chris…a baby bump! Her secret hadn't been bad news after all. She was expecting their fourth child, and was pretty far along too!
Chris couldn't believe his eyes. Could this really be happening? At first, he thought Natasha was pulling an elaborate prank, but it actually was real. The couple embraced for the first time in seven months, and Chris was elated that he would soon have another little one in his life.
The Truth of the Matter
Natasha revealed that she discovered she was pregnant only days after Chris had been deployed. She had decided that she wanted to keep the pregnancy as a secret to surprise him. Of course, this meant avoiding family and friends, which explained her strange behavior.
While Natasha and Chris never made formal plans to have another child, secretly they both wished to expand their family again. As you can see from this moment captured from the reveal, Chris is a touch excited about the prospect of being a daddy for the fourth time.
What he thought was going to be devastating news, proved to be one of the best moments of his life. And in the end, their relationship and family was stronger for it. We wish them all the best.