In Chris’s absence Natasha had to come up with some pretty creative ways to hide her growing baby bump from both her husband as well as friends and family. She also had to make sure nothing else seemed out of the ordinary in her phone calls and videoconferences with her deployed husband. She had to keep all three of her kids quiet about the upcoming arrival as well as take very strategic pictures of herself so her husband would never be able to guess what was really happening while he was away.
Natasha employed all sorts of props to cover her baby bump in photos and videos. She used their young daughter, seated on her lap. She positioned beer cans and drinks in front of her stomach. She continued to tell their four-year-old that mommy was just getting fat, so that she wouldn’t let the truth slip to her father about the impending sibling. “She’s a blabbermouth,” Natasha admits, as she laughs about trying to keep up appearance until the surprise.
Chris's return home had the serendipitous coincidence to be at the same time as Father's Day Weekend. The Sunday holiday had taken place only a few days before the USS Vinson dropped anchor in San Diego. The pregnancy announcement was the most appropriate present Chris had ever received to mark the annual occasion.
With a trio of kids already, Chris was ready to add to the, "excitement and craziness," that was the Daugherty household. The weight of months of secrecy was lifted for the entire extended family as they could all finally rejoice publicly in the tiny life now on the horizon. The surprise and Chris's homecoming were more than enough for them. But it was not to be the end of the Daugherty story.
Those In The Know
Natasha had kept her pregnancy a secret as long as she could from both friends and family, so as not to ruin the surprise on Chris's eventual arrival. But biology, and her growing stomach made the happy surprise a little harder to keep quiet on land. Family and friends all agreed to keep the news from Chris, and make sure Natasha could be the one to at long last let her husband in on the happy news in person.
When it finally came time to meet Chris and the USS Vinson in San Diego friends and family, who had been so helpful and cooperative in his absence, made sure to join the happy family at the dock. One of those friends even caught the happy homecoming on video and posted it on social media. The recording quickly went viral on Facebook, racking up more than half a million views. It was amazing. The video made it even harder for Chris to comprehend how his wife had been able to maintain her special secret for so long.
Hardest Thing She Had To Do
The family had to keep the secret almost exactly as long as Chris was away. Natasha found out only a week after he left that the happy couple were expecting. She was eight weeks along when she found out herself, taking an extra pregnancy test just to be sure. The twenty eight year old couldn't believe it, but she was thrilled and wanted to tell her husband.
All the excitement sent Natasha to the computer to start writing Chris an email to share the good news. Only a few words in she quickly decided she didn't want to tell him in writing. Instead she sent off a quick message to tell him she missed him and set about documenting everything, including weekly belly pictures, so Chris wouldn't feel like he'd missed anything. It was quite a bit of extra organization along with caring for three children and holding down two jobs.
Secret Out Of Love
Despite those kids and those jobs, Natasha still found keeping the information from her husband one of the most difficult things she'd ever had to do in her life. But she also understood Navy life. She did not want to distract Chris with her news, causing him to worry even more about the family he'd left behind. She didn't want Chris to feel disappointed, being so far away, and missing out on all the changes happening back home.
In the past the couple had shared all the challenges and worry that came along with expecting a child. In the end, Natasha decided this time the surprise would be worth it. Chris may have missed the first seven and a half months of Natasha's pregnancy, but the surprise was something singular and special he would never ever be able to forget.