I couldn’t wait for my hero soldier hubby Martyn to meet our baby boy. But what was he hiding?
By Lauren Coe, 27, from Cannock in Staffordshire
Stroking my baby bump, I logged on to Facebook and typed out a message to my hubby, Martyn.
“I love you,” I wrote. “Wish you were here.”
“I love you too,” he replied. “Next time I see you I’ll be a daddy.”
Martyn and I had met just over a year earlier, when we were both serving in the British Army. With a cheeky smile and a body to die for, I’d been smitten the minute I laid eyes on him.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when he asked for my number and we soon became inseparable.
After a whirlwind romance, I fell pregnant and we’d tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in front of just a few family and friends four months before I was due to give birth.
Now, I was just a few weeks from my due date and Martyn had been posted out to Afghanistan. It was tough being separated, but I felt proud he was serving his country.
“Wait ‘til you meet your daddy,” I’d coo to my bump. “He’s a hero.”
A few weeks later, in April 2011, my contractions started. I phoned Martyn to tell him and Mum took me to hospital.
After almost three days of agony, Mark* finally arrived. I soon forgot about all the pain when he was placed on my chest.
“Hello, handsome,” I whispered.
I contacted the army’s welfare service who got in touch with Martyn. He phoned as soon as he could.
“I’m so proud of you,” he told me. “I can’t wait to meet him.”
Sadly, Martyn’s tour of duty lasted six months, so he wasn’t due home until September. Coping with a newborn alone was tough and all the sleepless nights left me feeling drained – but I consoled myself with the thought every day, I was a day closer to seeing Martyn again.
But, being in the army myself, I knew the dangers and every time I heard a knock on the door, I was terrified someone had arrived to bring me bad news.
Thankfully, Martyn managed to stay safe and the day finally arrived for him to come home.
Mark and I travelled to his army barracks in Wiltshire and tears filled my eyes as I caught sight of my man for the first time in six months.
As we hugged, I handed Mark to him for the first time and my hubby was overcome with emotion.
“I’m your daddy,” he choked.
There were lots of press there and soon the photographers caught wind of the fact Martyn was meeting Mark for the first time. The next thing we knew, our picture was in all of the papers!
It was great to get Martyn home and for the first few days, I was walking on air.
“I’m so glad we’re a family at last,” I smiled, as I cuddled up to my two favourite boys.
But soon, reality began to set in. I couldn’t wait to have an extra pair of hands to help with Mark, but Martyn didn’t seem interested in changing nappies.
“I’m tired,” he’d moan, if I asked him to help with the chores.
At first, I put Martyn’s strange behaviour down to the horrors he’d witnessed in Afghanistan. It couldn’t have been easy, after all…
But instinct soon told me there was more to it and I began to worry Martyn wasn’t bonding with Mark. He seemed more interested in his laptop than playing with our son.
His phone was glued to his hand, too, but he’d fob me off if I asked who he was texting.
By the time Christmas came round, I was at breaking point.
“I can’t go on like this,” I told Martyn. “Let’s go to marriage counselling.”
He reluctantly agreed and at first I thought the sessions were helping but Martyn soon lost interest.
“It’s a waste of time,” he moaned, and we soon stopped going.
We struggled along for Mark’s sake, but when Martyn was posted to Canada for a few weeks early the next year, I secretly felt a little relieved we’d have some space from each other.
One night, as I settled on the sofa with a cuppa, I caught sight of Martyn’s laptop in the corner of the room.
“He’s been spending hours on that thing,” I said to myself. “Can’t hurt to have a quick look.”
I turned the laptop on and instinctively logged onto Facebook. My heart hammered as I realised Martyn was still signed into his account.
For a few seconds, I let the cursor hover over the messages icon. My curiosity was killing me, but would I find something I didn’t want to see?
Eventually, temptation got the better of me and I opened the folder. I felt my stomach somersault as I realised Martyn had been messaging a girl called Jane*.
Bile rose in my throat as I began to scroll through their conversations as it hit me that they’d been chatting the whole time he was in Afghanistan.
“I really want to leave Lauren for you,” he’d typed. “But I can’t do it just now as she’s pregnant and she’ll get stressed.”
I had to catch my breath. While I’d been busy telling everyone my hubby was a hero, he’d been planning to leave me for someone else!
There were so many messages and my head was spinning as I tried to take it all but, suddenly, a horrible thought popped into my head.
Had Martyn been messaging Jane while I was in labour?
My hands shook violently as I scrolled through the text, but I scrolled down to find a message from the day Mark was born,
Not only had he contacted Jane while I was giving birth to our child, he’d been speaking to her at the exact time Mark was born!
“I love you,” he’d written. “Can’t wait to see you when I’m home.”
“That rat!” I said out loud. Just over a year ago, Martyn and I had promised to be faithful to each other as we said our wedding vows but our marriage certificate wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
In the end, it took me three days to read all of Martyn’s sordid conversations. It made me sick to my stomach, but I had to know exactly what he’d been up to behind my back.
Desperate to keep my cool, I took screenshots of as many messages as I could. I had to gather as much evidence as I could to get a divorce.
This time, when Martyn returned home, there were no tears and hugs.
“I know what you’ve been saying to Jane,” I said, coldly. “I’ve seen your Facebook messages and I’m leaving you.”
“I’ve called it off,” he pleaded. “It’s you I want.”
“Too little, too late,” I replied.
A few months later, I filed for divorce on the grounds of Martyn’s adultery and our marriage was soon dissolved.
Now, I’m a single mum to Mark but I’m happy on my own. I don’t speak to Martyn any more, but I’m happy that way.
As far as I know, things with Jane had already begun to fizzle out before our divorce was finalised. I can’t say I’m surprised.
No matter what happens, Martyn won’t pull the wool over my eyes again. I thought my hubby was a hero but deep down he was just a rat.
Martyn Coe said: “I signed them divorce papers but she could have written anything on them. I wanted to get rid of her, done. There was no affair, there was nothing.
*Mark’s name has been changed
As told to Helen O’Brien Google