Expect a military baby boom in exactly nine months

 Get it? Boom.

Get it? Boom.

You've probably heard the great news that Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently announced that all branches of the U.S. Military will now grant 12 weeks of paid maternity leave to mothers in the service. What you might not have heard is this big, huge, giant, ugly asterisk: 

*[big huge asterisk]

This actually downgrades the 18-week leave that was passed back in August for the Marines and the Navy. But, since it's the military, they're kind of regimented about the whole thing, and Navy/Marine mamas who become pregnant by the magical date of March 3 will still qualify for their 18 weeks. ("The date of pregnancy will be determined by a privileged medical care provider," according to this release from the Navy. Privileged? How?) Which means, I hope, that a whole lot of couples are doing their best to make it happen, and make it happen fast, so Thanksgiving can be extra thankful this year.

 Official U.S. Navy file photo

Official U.S. Navy file photo