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Edward Kivlahan March 22, 2018

Journey To Normal: The Reality of Women Coming Home From War


Journey To Normal: Women of War Come Home is a documentary showing the world that women face after deployment. One statement reflected that many can view men going to war as “men doing men stuff” with the danger, action, and other elements, but when one introduces women going to war as well, the conversation gets more complicated. People discuss the relationships and families impacted and the effect on society. The reality that many face is that soldiers are soldiers and they all come home with something.

The film itself follows eight soldiers and features testimonials from each in regard to their lives before, during, and after deployment and showed what happened to them and their families. One found it would easier to not call her family because she hated being unable to accept gifts from her son through skype or help him with homework. She had questioned up until then why some soldiers chose not to contact their loved ones, but at that point it became apparent that her struggle was going to hurt her deeply as a mother as well as a soldier.

The effects of deployment were shown be unique among each of these women, with one being a young medic from Iowa who was in a truck that was attacked by explosives on her first day in Iraq. She learned her way in the military, and when her deployment concluded and she was sent home, she was swift to have her wedding ceremony and move her life at home forward. The fast pace of everything worked for her upon return, but when life slowed down, it felt off.

So many returning from service often hear “Thank you for your service,” but each will hear it in a different way. One had opened up in a store to a cashier about having just come back from Iraq and the scene the cashier made, despite her likely nice intentions, began a trend that would take her through depression. Yet another will hear it and reply “Thank you for your support.” This shows the way that different people see veterans and civilians and how there is a divide between the two.

One mother spoke about how her priorities became more clear after serving, and so she felt she had learned a valuable lesson. Her children were always the first priority, but sometimes she had to be away from them despite that. She saw her duty to be defending them through her service, and ultimately after twenty years in service, she retired. The journey she took changed her and all the others the documentary follows as well as the rest of the 280,000 strong women also in service.

The key purpose of Journey to Normal is to expand the conversation about veterans and women as well as help people speak out about their experiences during deployment. It has seen a lot of positive response, and the discussion following the showing was engaging as well as enlightening. The audience reported an experience that shone a lot of new light on the lives of soldiers and veterans throughout the nation but also gave them a new insight into how they can support and empathize with the veterans in their lives. For more information about the movie, visit For more information about In My Boots, contact Sean Taylor at or Dr. Nancy Woods at