Sunday, December 13, 2009

HerWarHerVoice: They Love Someone in Uniform

I came across the website for military spouses, and I asked Melissa Seligman (on left in photo above) and Christina Piper (on right in photo above), the two women whose site this is, to write about how the site came about.

Melissa is an army wife, mother, author of The Day After He Left for Iraq and Simply Green as well as contributor to Heart of a Military Woman, co-author of A Heart Apart, co-founder of Her War, Her Voice! and can be reached at

Christina is an army wife, mother, veteran, co-author of A Heart Apart, contributor to Heart of a Military Woman, co-founder of Her War, Her Voice! and can be reached at

When we first met, standing across from each other in our boys’ gymnastic class, we never imagined creating a support group for military wives or speaking about the real struggles revolving around deployments. How could we? We were still stuck in the mindset that being strong was equivalent to being silent.

It wasn’t until our initial conversation that we began to realize just how stuck in that mindset we were. “Do you ever just get really angry?” was the ice-breaking question. It definitely was not the typical “How long have you lived here?” conversation. That real moment, that shared burden exposed, that brief reprieve of seeing another person reflecting the same pain was the original inception of Her War, Her Voice.

We never set out to make money, reach a bestseller list, or to change anyone’s opinion of a military wife, or even military life. Our vision has never revolved around publicity or sitting on Oprah’s couch. But it has from the very beginning revolved around that shared moment of understanding. And that need to voice our struggle in a comforting and supportive manner.

Along with the fear of being seen as “whiners” or “airing dirty laundry” we were also nervous about whether our idea of providing a place for women to speak freely about their real struggles and then allowing others to uplift them would even resonate with other military women.

That niggling feeling of “are we alone?” was very hard to get past. But from our first step out as Her War women, it became immediately clear that not only are we not alone, but we are also surrounded daily by silent warriors.

Women we have known for years or have lived beside as neighbors came to us, anonymously voicing their pain and struggle. Wives of higher ranking officers as well as girlfriends of privates began to speak, understand, and rejoice in the unity of our shared burdens and victories.

Between us existed an FRG leader, a veteran, four young children and an author. We began to pool our experiences and our strengths in order to launch a campaign against the divorce rate in our military. But, one of the most important aspects in waging this battle was that we first had to be willing to speak about our successes and our failures. Our inabilities to do this alone. Our need for something to help us through.

We had to be willing to put our hearts and our stories on the line in hopes that others would begin to understand and to see the silent warriors on the frontlines every single day: our military families.

It hasn’t been easy filleting ourselves for all to see. It hasn’t been pretty at times when we talk about depression, anger, and victories in our daily lives. But through it all, it has been real. Honest. And gut-wrenchingly hard.

We work daily to provide a haven for those wives, girlfriends, and fianc├ęs (and the male version of those) who seek a place where their voice is heard and celebrated. We hope to offer a shoulder, an ear, and a hand up out of the trenches. We are on the frontlines with these women, blogging about working through a third deployment as well as recovering from a third one.

Her War, Her Voice has already succeeded beyond our wildest dreams in giving us the chance to voice our stories in the Heart of a Military Woman book as well as the opportunity to work with other organizations such as Operation Military Family concerning supporting our military marriages.

It has also provided the opportunity to expand and express our passion for helping our war children through these painful deployments. Our first interactive book for military children has come to fruition. Not only are we looking to the future for more ways to uplift the voice of the military spouse, but we are also prepared and geared to lead the rally cry through the war zone.

When we first met, sharing a moment of quiet struggle and stoic silence, we could have never imagined speaking out for and with other military wives. We are strong. Independent. And each of us has a beautiful story of heartache and victory to share.

Her War, Her Voice will not cease until every voice, every story, has been lifted, heard, and celebrated. We deserve that much. After all, we have the hardest job in the military: we love someone in uniform.

Visit now.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. Her newest project is

Phyllis' company does power marketing that combines traditional marketing principles and Internet marketing strategies to put power in your hands.

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