U.S. Navy Veteran Grecia Smith | Your South Florida

– I had no plans of college or anything like
that. So then, I kind of went down to the Navy’s
office and then, they’re really good at recruiting you. And eventually, I ended up in Yokosuka, Japan. It was humbling. It was my first time away from home, first
time away from my mom, my brothers. It was rough. I think I got depressed the first year. I was like, “Mom, I gotta come home. I can’t do this.” And I would say she’s one of my biggest supporters. I had recently met my husband now when I
was in Florida. So, even going there together and not being
able to have a normal relationship like most couples, it was also challenging. So, we were both in the service. We were both Aviation Ordnanceman. Three months into the relationship, we got
engaged. Two years in, we got married and we served
on the same ship, U.S.S. George Washington. So once I got pregnant with my daughter, I
was taken off of the ship in what they call shore duty. I had my daughter and he was on deployment. So, I had to fly my mother from Florida to
be with me during the birth at least and she was only able to be there with me for three
months and then she had to go back home. You know, it was hard. I still had my full-time Navy job. I have to go to work, you know, nine to five. That was hard. I couldn’t communicate with him. I, you know, I had long nights where she was
up. I’m waiting by the phone at nine o’clock at night
hoping he could call me. Once I kind of started getting used to it,
I find out that I’m pregnant with my son. My daughter was only six months and I was
devastated. I can be open and honest about it now. I was sad. I didn’t want him. There were times I wish I miscarried. Those are things that, you know, people don’t
think could happen to them. So, that was difficult for me to deal with. So then, my son was born a year later and
again, he was on deployment. My mother was with me once again, but three
month later, she had to go. And while she was there, I got post-partum
depression. It hit me the very first night. I left them with my mom and I said, “I don’t
wanna have anything to do with him.” And that for my mom was hard too because,
you know, she had four kids and she did it by herself and she’s like, “Kids are everything.” And I’m like, “I don’t feel that connection.” So, I would say up until he was about six
months, I was dealing with that. I’d emailed my husband and it’d be like, you
know, I have thoughts of committing suicide. Feeling thoughts of just, like, hurting them. And I was, like, why am I feeling this way? This is not normal. And so, so my husband, that took a toll on,
I would say on our marriage. That was probably the toughest part of our
marriage. So then, I sought help. I had someone come to my home and kind of
talk to me and talk me through it. And then I can at least, this is completely
normal. I still have my days where I have anxiety,
I get depressed, I get down, but I’m able to deal with it and cope with it better now
than I did four years ago. When we came back home, we didn’t have that
support system anymore and the military doesn’t have a very good way of putting you back into
civilian life. You know, we go through a one week transitional
training where they teach you how to resume build, but they don’t really connect you with
the proper resources. So, I went on and I did my own research and
I said, “Okay, let me try to find some veteran groups.” Women Veterans Alliance came up. Fast forward to now and, you know, we’ve built
a good network with other organizations. This journey with starting up Women Veterans
Alliance of Broward County has been a challenging one because it is hard to capture the attention
of the female veteran population. We started creating our events where we’ll
be, like, Boots & Brushes or Boots & Advocacy. So, you know, we’re still highlighting the
fact that we wore our boots and we were on the grounds, but that also that this is what
we’re doing now. For example, our Boots & Brushes, we touched
on a topic of the benefits of art therapy for veterans with PTSD, depression, anxiety. We talked about any traumas that we faced. And so, to know that we’re able to foster
that environment and those relationships with these women and to hear even the feedback
from male veterans. To say, “Finally, we have that for women,”
essentially, that’s what we’re here for. We’re just trying to give each other that
safe space and that sense of familiarity and belonging and I think we’re accomplishing

2 Replies to “U.S. Navy Veteran Grecia Smith | Your South Florida”

  1. Im so proud of u gracia. This made me cry. But u kno God alsways has u close boo. U and ur family. Keep steong boo. I believe in u. Love always. *karla j

  2. Absolutely amazing! You’re strength inspires me. Thank you for your service and your family’s sacrifices! #GoNavy #IYAOYAS

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