When your husband gets deployed for five months right before you find out that you are pregnant with your fourth child, you have a tough decision before you. Do you tell him and let him feel guilty and depressed for being away from you at a time like this, or do you keep it a secret so that when he gets home, he can have the most wonderful surprise waiting for him?
Natasha, wife of Petty Officer Chris Daugherty, was faced with this dilemma right after her husband left on the USS Carl Vinson to patrol the Indo-Asia-Pacific maritime borders.
Just after he was deployed, she found out she was about eight weeks pregnant.
Knowing that Chris would be worried for her, she decided to stay silent and wait for the perfect time to reveal the news.
Not that it was easy—she would share photos with him and online, where he would obviously see them, and had to make sure that her baby bump was always strategically covered—for four whole months.
“I had to tell my 4-year-old I was getting fat,” Natasha told CBS with a laugh. “Otherwise she would tell! Because she’s a blabbermouth.”
Natasha Daugherty was working two jobs while taking care of their three children. It was a difficult time for her, and there were many instances when she desperately wanted to share her fears and burdens with her husband.
This urge was never stronger than when Natasha learned that her husband, who works as a Navy Cryptologic Technician, had been ordered to stay on the seas for one more month after the initial deployment period because North Korea had begun testing ballistic missiles.
As the danger mounted, Natasha wondered if keeping their unborn child a secret was a big mistake.
If anything happened to Chris, she would never forgive herself for staying quiet—“because if something happens, I’m going to feel guilty,” she said.
But calmer heads prevailed, and Natasha held on for four more weeks.
Finally, when USS Carl Vinson made port at San Diego, Chris disembarked and spotted his whole family waiting for him.
His children ran up and hugged him, while Natasha stood back, holding a sign that welcomed home the “baby daddy.”
Just as Chris walked up to take his wife in his arms, she moved the sign, and Chris stumbled back in surprise at the sight of her rounded belly.
Printed in curling font on her stomach was the declaration that this was the present “Daddy” gave “Mommy” before he was deployed.
After a stunned moment, which got recorded on a phone camera to everyone’s amusement, Chris stepped forward to poke his wife’s belly and ask, “Is this real?”
He was half convinced that she was wearing a fake belly as a joke.
But the disbelief didn’t last, and Chris embraced his laughing wife while grinning with happiness. Their unborn child was the best homecoming gift.
The laughter during that moment is palpable:
Natasha’s perfectly timed reveal was shared on Facebook and soon went viral.
News channels caught wind of the couple’s story and interviewed the two to dig deeper into their reactions.
Natasha admitted that when she first found out, she almost told Chris over an email, but then she thought it through and decided to save the news for when they were together again. So, she worked hard to hide her baby bump in pictures, while documenting the changing shape of her body so Chris can be part of the process once he returns.
Despite the emotional difficulties of keeping such a big news quiet, both Chris and Natasha are glad that he got to hear the good news from her in person.
As a cherry on the cake, Natasha waited to find out the gender of the child, and it was with her husband at her side that she learned that they would be bringing home a daughter in two more months.
Their baby girl was born this September.
The beautiful little girl’s name is Anara Rose.
“We love her so much! You have completed our family of six,” Chris wrote on Facebook.