This isn’t a financial post, it’s an emotional one and I’ve decided to be a bit more honest about a big part of my journey and my descent into debt.
I had mentioned that my Lenten goal is to be kinder to myself and had hinted that I’ve moved away from the Catholic Church, though I clearly still feel a kinship to some of the traditions.
This was the final straw for me: I can’t get pregnant.
That’s what I now say. I say that rather than:
- I realized that my desire to have children was deeply tied to my desire to do the right thing (the Pope made headlines when he declared that folks who choose not to have children are selfish)
- How awful to realize in the middle of a therapy session that I was treating getting pregnant like an item to cross off my to-do list to please my religious community and parents!
- I suffer from anxiety which made getting pregnant without the use of therapy and fetal friendly anti-anxiety medication impossible.
- I don’t need medication on a regular basis to function, so it’s problematic to me to be told that I would greatly benefit by being medicated to get pregnant.
- The tests that I endured to find out if my body was ‘working’ were horrendous and humiliating.
- Trying to get pregnant was making me an awful person. I would sink into deep sadness every month but try to gear up for the next one. I was livid when friends mentioned they had gotten accidentally pregnant.
- I stopped living (stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine, stopped eating anything remotely ‘bad’, stopped booking travel plans, didn’t pursue job opportunities that would be stressful) for 1.5 years because I wanted to get pregnant and was bombarded by messages that if I created the right environment I would be able to do this.
In Knowing your Truth I hinted about this part of my struggle when I mentioned: My debt came slowly at first and then more quickly after a rather rough patch when I wanted to prove to people that I was alright.
You see, ML and I were saving for the baby we were sure we were going to have. I had begun purchasing toys and clothing (these were the items that pained me during KonMari ). We were also trying to live off one paycheck as best we could so that we would have a savings to purchase diapers, clothing, medication, etc. Once we came to the decision as a couple that our way of life was really not working I sank into a depression. I was ashamed for what I saw as my failure. We told our parents who were hurt and thought:
- if we just kept trying things would work out.
- If we didn’t give in to fear we would be fine.
- Our relationship was so great that children would only enhance it.
I was also eaten up with guilt as my parents are still very involved in the Church so all their friends have grandchildren. I had now robbed them of this joy in their golden years.
I was consumed by the thought, “How could we possibly have meaningful lives as individuals and as a couple if we didn’t have children?”
So how did I combat it? I overspent. What were we saving for if our future was in shambles? It did come slowly as I stopped putting money into the child account and started buying fripperies but boy did it speed up when we started saying to each other, “We don’t have a child so we should be enjoying the lifestyle.”
We were hearing that we were selfish from lots of corners and do you know what selfish people do? They blow money on themselves! So yes, we’re going out every night we’re able. It was a way of telling ourselves that the life we were now faced with was better.
It’s not. It’s not better or worst, it’s just different. I say we but ML and I handled this heartbreak differently. I turned my rage inward, hating myself for not being able to do this basic thing that my body is designed for and having a mental illness, all the while spending money to prove to myself and others that we were fine.
That breakdown happened 4 years ago. I still struggle when my parents mention babies, strangers tell me that I’m young and should get pregnant now, friends suggest that our home is the perfect place to raise a child (yep it was bought and furnished with raising kids in mind), and well meaning folks tell me that having a child would complete our family.
There’s no tidy conclusion to this post. No words of wisdom or solace. It was about honesty as I was re-reading my blog and saw all the moments I hinted at this ‘dark secret’. It’s not the only reason we’re currently in debt but that emotional turmoil did play a huge role in our debt decline.