Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more commonly known as PTSD, is a trauma induced mental disorder that affects an estimated 300,000 veterans currently living in the United States. The disorder can cause flashbacks, mood swings, and dramatic personality changes among those afflicted. One in five veterans returning from deployments in the Middle East are inevitably diagnosed with the disorder as they struggle to readjust to civilian life.
While it’s clear PTSD has immediate effects on the veterans themselves the turmoil it can cause on the lives of the vets’ loved ones often goes overlooked. Children are often left emotionally hurt and confused when their once open and affectionate parent returns from a deployment a completely different person.
One Marine Corps veteran has made it her mission to help children understand what their parent is going through so that they can being the healing process together. Maggie Hundshamer, a former 6153 air frames mechanic and mother, has been working to release a series of children’s books to help those in need.
“When Daddy Comes Home” is the first installment of a two-part book series that she hopes will help children understand why their mother or father seem less loving or attentive when returning home. She plans to release a second book “When Mommy Comes Home” as a follow up to the first.
She was motivated to write the books by her own experiences. She told American Military News that her own children were troubled by her own personality change when she returned from deployment.
I think they had a hard time understanding why I wasn’t as loving and attentive when I came home. I wanted them to understand a bit about me so we could do it together.
She first became aware that this was an issue that not only changed her life, but was effecting veterans all over the nation, when she became involved with a non-profit group called Irreverent Warriors. After attending several meetings she noticed a common theme. Veterans wanted to explain the situation to their children but couldn’t figure out how to do it.
Too many vets were saying they didn’t know how to talk to their kids anymore. I wanted to change that.
She started working on her book and, after a year of struggling to put her thoughts into words, created a rough draft that she believed would convey the message. She ran a month long preorder which, thanks to the generosity of strangers, raised enough money to fund the illustrations for the book.
The proceeds from the first book will be used to fund the creation of the the second installment “When Mommy Comes Home.” Hundshamer hopes to also create an non veteran version of the book after the first two installments are completed and published.
The first book is nearing completion. It is entering the formatting stage and after approximately six weeks of design tweaks and edits will be ready for publication.
If you would like to learn more about the book visit their official Facebook page here.
Watch a live video reading from the book below!