My Descent into Debt

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.

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17 thoughts on “My Descent into Debt

  1. It took a lot of courage to share your story – thank you for inviting us in. While I have no idea how much pain you went through and are going through, I’ve had enough dark secrets to know that exposing them to the light always makes the healing path easier. My hope is that you feel lighter today by taking this step.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks Ernie! I had gotten a little too used to feeling judged about this part of my life. When I started blogging I kept this and my anxiety hidden. I wasn’t quite prepared for how generous and kind the blogging community is.

    I’m also realizing the truth in your words. Shining a light in these areas definitely make it better for me and I’m so grateful to all those who put their souls out there because reading about their experiences help me feel less alone

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow. I had goosebumps reading this. I can only imagine the amount of guilt and sadness and angst and everything else you must have experienced. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, and I hope you feel more free in expressing yourself here now that you’ve shared this.

    How do you respond when people do ask about having a family? Do you come straight out and tell them that you cannot or choose not to have children?

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    1. Thanks do much for reading!I tend to say that we aren’t having kids and if they push I tell them I can’t get pregnant. It seems easier for people of we are physically incapable rather than making a choice. Somehow saying that we don’t want kids makes some people really angry.

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      1. It really does upset people, doesn’t it. I personally don’t want to have kids. I have never had the slightest desire, and was very clear about it with my partner from the beginning. People always dismiss me saying I’ll want kids one day, or guilt me with not giving my parents grandchildren (they don’t care either), and simply won’t accept that anyone could possibly CHOOSE not to.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. aquietvoiceinaloudworld

    I know it took a lot to share your story and thank you for trusting us. I am Catholic also BUT I like to say I am selective. I don’t believe in confession, I don’t believe God will send me to hell for eating meat on Friday. And I certainly don’t think the Pope has any right to say anyone is selfish for not having children. The fact of the matter is some people can have them, some can not, some choose not to and I have met people who should never have been allowed to have children.

    Two of my Aunts never had children and people would constantly say how lonely they would be in their old age(this was in the 40’s) well they weren’t lonely. My Aunts and Uncles traveled, they enjoyed different organizations, they lived full happy lives without children.

    I guess what I am trying to say is don’t let anyone belittle you or make you feel bad for something you can not control. You have obviously gone through enough pain so once your on an even keel just enjoy your life as it is. I have three children and my oldest has already said that he does not want children and neither does his very serious girlfriend, my middle child is getting her Master in art history and art restoration and also has no desire for children at all for any reason and never has, and my youngest who is in Nursing school is focused on her career and wants to be a trauma nurse and has told us truthfully that children are the furthest thing from her and her boyfriends minds. And I am ok with that and the fact that I may never have grandchildren.

    I know my post doesn’t give you much solace but I suffer from anxiety and depression also so I can’t say I know how you feel but I can feel the pain in your post. And you know what I had children and still managed to put myself in a huge financial whole. Your not selfish your human. And people say dumb things sometimes. Anyway I went on to long here and I am sorry for that but remember you, all by yourself have survived. Give yourself the credit you deserve. And if you feel you need to mourn then mourn, again your human.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Your post has given me great comfort actually. I like the idea of being selectively Catholic.
      My own parents have been slowly coming around and ML has been amazing at reminding me that having children to please others is a terrible reason.

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  5. I am so, so sorry when I read this, but enraged that the church culture made you fell “less than” because you couldn’t conceive. I don’t have kids either, but it is by choice, so you know where that puts me in their eyes. If you haven”t read my post about the KonMar parody book, please do. I’m not shlepping my post, but its about dealing with people who overstep. Church is a big reason I did therapy years back. The therapist said a third of her clents were recovering Catholics. My folks were…unhappy…. I married a divorced man and we couldn’t marry in the church. In May we celebrate 29 anniversary, and the love him totally. He has been there for them, unlike my br-i-lw that married in the church.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think some of us get a hold of the pointy end of our faiths. I know loads of people who can separate church teaching from their actions and not feel awful.
      I absolutely love those memes where Christ gives the new commandment ( love others as I have loved you) and then has to field questions.
      I love you post!! It really is life changing to care less about people who don’t truly care for us.
      Congratulations on 29 years!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I imagine that going through something like this would cause anyone to not be their best self. Many women dream of having children their whole life and having to go through this would be horrible. I look forward to reading about your goal to be kinder to yourself, we could all benefit from that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing. I often wonder how our lives will change if we find out I am unable to conceive. I wonder how I will feel about myself and how I will react. I don’t know if I would act much differently (i.e. enjoying life to the fullest) if I knew there was no way for us to add children to the family.

    Liked by 1 person

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