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Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Marine wife on preparing for her husband going to war

As 40 Commando Royal Marines prepare for their deployment to Afghanistan, the six month tour will have a huge impact on their families.

Here, Emma Forbes who is six months pregnant, talks about how she thinks she'll cope while her husband Duncan is away.

Duncan and Emma Forbes
Duncan has been on several tours to Afghanistan before

Naturally I'm a bit apprehensive as the news is fairly dire and constant but the unit has been gearing up for this for six months - they've been doing deployment training since the autumn and we've been living with this looming now for six months.

Waiting for the tour to happen and then the first two weeks after they've gone is much harder than the rest of it.

When you've got all your own coping strategies in place, you then get fed up with the waiting game. With less than two weeks to go, I think I'm not the only wife who's ready for them to go now.

I was beginning to find it quite stressful as the training was very intense; they were away overnight a lot and you knew time together as a family was running out, so it was very nice to have two weeks' holiday.

We went home to Scotland to see family. Inevitably there are days spent doing the to-do list - tasks and jobs that need to be done while you still have someone about to help. Now we feel much more ready than what we were.

Number one

Duncan has been away on several tours so my advice to other wives is to be busy and positive because they're going away for a long time, and it's a long time in your life as well as theirs.

Here we're all in the same boat so they're more interested in how you are; they're not so bothered about the blokes.
Emma Forbes

They're at the top of their game and they're going to do a job that's very worthwhile. Most people who marry someone in the marines or services share that belief that it's worthwhile so if you spend the time making it your worst time, you're not helping them. I think we have a role in their morale and it's very important.

Although you're going to have days where you just feel fed up, use the time to do things for yourself you might not ordinarily do. I try to arrange girlie weekends with friends and do fun things - maybe get my nails done and watch chick flicks - it's nice to have a free say on the television.

I think partners should look after number one because it's too long to be moping about and wishing it was over - it's your life as well as theirs.

'How am I?'

With the news, I sort of fluctuate - I really try not to watch it although if you do you might catch a glimpse of them all so you get to see them and you're looking out for people you know but mainly I try to limit what I watch on the news because it doesn't really help.

Every time Duncan's gone away before I've been at work and been very busy going out with friends in the evenings and now I'm at home it's very difficult.

What I've never had before is the support network of living near camp and having friends who are in the same situation.

I think it will definitely help because before I would go into the office and somebody would say 'have you heard from Duncan? How's he getting on?', and after a few months you just want them to ask how I am.

Here we're all in the same boat so they're more interested in how you are; they're not so bothered about the blokes. At home it's a real novelty because we don't have any friends there who are in the forces - it's just different.

At the moment I am pregnant - our maths isn't very good! The baby is due in June so I have no worries about being busy and occupied in this tour!

They get two weeks leave during the six month tour so hopefully Duncan will manage to be back but if not, I'm lucky that family can come down and be with me.



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