U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse

I knew that one day I would want to have children. I babysat my nieces and nephews frequently and I have always found such joy in being with children. So even before I served in the U.S. Army, I knew I wanted to be a mom as well as something more than a soldier.

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photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos

As the daughter of a waitress and a maintenance worker, and the youngest of ten kids, food insecurity was something we faced every day. If it weren’t for food stamps and the free lunch program at school, there would have been many days in which I wouldn’t have had a meal. Two months after 9/11, when I enlisted in the Army, it became abundantly clear that I wouldn’t have to worry about where my next meal would come from. Three squares a day, right? However, once I left the service, many of those same insecurities I faced before resurfaced as realities again.

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