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Meet the moms behind the Army’s new parenthood policies

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The Army’s new “Parenthood, Pregnancy and Postpartum” directive started as a grassroots effort by a Facebook group of moms. Meet two soldier moms who discuss the sweeping changes benefiting new parents and others.

About the guests:

Army Reserve Lt. Col. Kelly Bell has served in the military since 1999 and currently commands the 7203rd Medical Support Unit in the Army Reserve, based in Indiana. She is also a VA hospital nurse in her civilian capacity and is passionate about advocating for soldiers. She has spent the last several years initiating policy changes for pregnant and postpartum service members throughout the Defense Department. Her awards include the Army Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, five Army Achievement Medals, eight Army Commendation Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, seven Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass and two “M” devices, the Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the NATO International Security Assistance Force Medal. She lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with her two daughters, ages 9 and 6.

Sgt. Carrie Vargas is a human resources sergeant stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington. She and her husband, who is also an active-duty Army soldier, are parents of three young children, ages 3, 2 and 10 months. Vargas’ youngest son was born with a heart condition and had a heart transplant at 6 months old. With all of the stress of a medically fragile child, Vargas continues to advocate for women in the Army by being an administrator for the Army Mom Life Facebook and Twitter group. She also assisted in the Army’s Parenthood, Pregnancy and Postpartum directive along with other members of the Army Mom Life Team and the original working group. Vargas goes to school full-time and hopes to be selected to the Army’s Interservice Physician Assistant Program.

About the podcast:

The Spouse Angle is a podcast breaking down the news for military spouses and their families. Each episode features subject-matter experts and military guests who dive into current events from a military perspective — everything from new policy changes to research on family lifestyle challenges. The podcast is hosted by Natalie Gross, a freelance journalist and former Military Times reporter who grew up in a military family.

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