Withdrawl is a defense mechanism I have mastered over the almost-29 years of my life. When I feel down, I withdraw. It’s simple as that.
So I guess this is my excuse for my absence from the online world. Bye-bye, IM, Twitter, Facebook, and blogging. Hello, wallowing in my cave of self-pity.
What is causing this dip in my life?
A couple of months ago, the mister was laid off. We had already been struggling a bit to make ends meet (ever since I left my full-time job), but now we’re really in the red. We’ve used up our savings in these past two months, and now we’re broke. Broke, broke, broke.
Sure, J gets some money from unemployment insurance. But you try living on $2,000 a month plus a few hundred bucks from my freelancing gigs when you have a $3,500/month mortgage and a baby on the way.
Every day I am so grateful for what we have. A great relationship that keeps us laughing and smiling through these tough times. Our health. Loving, supportive families and friends. I am not being sarcastic. I truly appreciate what we have because things really could be worse.
However, I cannot shake off the reminder that this month, we will not be able to make our full mortgage payment for the first time. Yes, we are in danger of losing our home. And yes, I am in the process of pleading our case to our mortgage company.
I think to myself that this baby could not have come at a worst time in our lives. We do not have health insurance. J’s COBRA payment would be $700/month, and we can’t afford that right now.
Do you know that a 15-minute doctor’s visit costs $200 a pop? Or that the prenatal vitamins I’m taking are $90/month?
We have put off our latest doctor’s visit by 2 weeks because this next one will involve tests. Tests that we are not able to afford.
We do not qualify for Medicaid, or any other government-run assistance programs because J’s unemployment checks and my freelancing payments are over the maximum qualifying income.
I have applied for individual health insurance, but there is a good chance that I will get denied (because the health-care industry will find some way to prove that pregnancy is a pre-existing condition), be forced to pay an inordinate amount in premiums, or be stuck with a crappy policy that will leave me wondering why I managed to get insurance in the first place (I am reminded daily of an article my friend Tara wrote about last month: Health Insurance Woes: My $22,000 Bill for Having a Baby).
J is actively looking for a new job. He is getting interviews here and there, but so far no dice.
In the meantime, I am scrambling to find new work, and am even contemplating going back to work full-time myself. I have been applying for jobs that I am over-qualified for, and will be under-paid for, in hopes that I will have some kind of health insurance and can contribute a bit to the household. But who will hire a pregnant lady?
So that’s it. This is why I have been a social hermit. As much as I love you all, I cannot help but feel crappy when I see pictures of your carefree life on Facebook, or read about your upcoming vacation plans on Twitter. I am happy for you, but it saddens me that I cannot provide the same for my family.
Please keep us in your prayers.
Hi there – I found out about your blog via weddingbee, and I wanted to give you some love and support. It is not easy being unemployed, but when there’s a pregnancy in the mix, its even more stressful. Take care of yourself and keep your chin up … I might be a stranger, but I’ll have you in my prayers. Focus on keeping that baby healthy.
Aw, sweets, I feel for you, and I understand the need for withdrawal sometimes. However, you must be careful not to withdraw too much. In fact, I’m both glad and proud of you for explaining your reasons on this blog post. That means you haven’t checked out.
I don’t have any brilliant solutions for you on the challenges you face, but I’m here with you… and if you get sick of talking to the mortgage people and just want someone to sit on hold with you or call them pretending to be you (or your “assistant”) or whatever, I’m here for you. Really.
It will all be okay. It doesn’t feel like that, and I’m sure you don’t see a path out of this, and people telling you it’ll be okay might make you want to scream, but it will be.
Keep the faith. Keep laughing. Keep blogging. If you want more freelance work, let’s all help get the word out!
I am so sorry you are going through all of this.
We can certainly be unconsciously insensitive online and on Twitter (I didn’t help!) and I really hope things turn around for your family.
Sheila – thank you so much for your kind words! It makes me giddy inside that there are strangers who are praying for my family. 🙂
Marisa – great point…and I’ve been trying my best not to shut myself out completely (and the mister has been helping tremendously with this too, because he knows what I have the tendency to do this). And really, you’re too kind! I will definitely let you know if I’m about to rip my hair out!
FB – please don’t feel bad! It is only human nature to want to share good news, and I really am happy to hear of my friends’ good fortunes. I guess I should be the one apologizing for being a whiny spoil-sport. :-/
hugs Somehow, you 3 will make it through this. Definitely will be praying!
You have been ever so comforting to me, and I only hope that my telling you “yes, it WILL be ok” gives you the same kind of hope. Your being grateful for what you takes great courage, because it’s so easy to just start thinking about everything you don’t have, and focus on that.
I don’t know you IRL but I just don’t believe that bad things continue to happen to good people. It’s just not possible. Something good has to come to you eventually. In the meantime, I’m so sorry to read about your troubles, and I hope it’s consolation to know that I’m rooting for you down in the South.
You, baby, and the mister are all in my prayers. While I understand retreating from the social media world, please reach out to the people who are close to you and can give you the support and encouragement you need.
This post really touched me and I wanted you to know that I’m pulling for you guys and keeping my fingers crossed. Also, I know this baby is going to come into a home filled with lots of love and laughter and that’s a beautiful thing.
Sending you hugs. Noticed you’ve been quiet recently. Thinking good thoughts for you and your family… and in the meantime, I highly recommend chocolate as a coping mechanism 🙂
I am so sorry to hear this. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.
I just went through this (minus the baby) and it was also one of the darkest times in my life.
I suggest you call your state’s at-risk pool. I qualified for mine because I was rejected for my childhood asthma (NICE!), but it was still $300/month, and I couldn’t get it until I exhausted the COBRA.
I know it’s terrible, and I put this off for THREE WHOLE months before I got the mister on a $50/month plan (men have it so easy!) and paid $650/month for just little ole mid-20s me. I know you want to hide, but don’t do what I did. You have to figure out some way to get coverage. Try your freelance orgs — some states have pools of the self-employed just to buy insurance.
I know how very dark this is, but you have to keep trying. There might be a way!
My heart goes out to you, girl. I’m glad you hear you are taking time to be grateful for all the good things in your life (especially baby – just think of all those out there who would trade their left arms to conceive) because doing so perpetuates goodness.
I love Marisa’s comment on helping you get the word out if you’re looking for more freelance work. Count me in! You are a talented woman and also a strong one. Hang in there.
Heya! I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I can’t even imagine the stress you must be under right now. Just remember that pregnancy has become so highly medicalized these days. While its scary to think that you may not be providing the best for your family you are doing the best you can and with an uncomplicated pregnancy being a healthy young mum like you means you have the best chance of a happy pregnancy and healthy baby with minimal tests and optional procedures. Drs are so quick to order all kinds of tests which are just for reassurance really and not for the treatment of any ailment that’s affecting you or your baby. Don’t feel bad to tell them you only want the essentials.
Have you thought about making money by putting advertising up on your blog(s)?
Good luck and please don’t give up! You will find a way through this together
Oh! And don’t forget the COBRA subsidy!!! Obama could pick up 65% of your (both of your) COBRA.
This is why you have to figure out all your options, because you only have 3 months to get into COBRA. Employer plans are really the only way to get decent maternity.
Sweetie, I am so sorry for your stresses. (And then everybody tells you not to feel stress when you’re pregnant, which is even more stressful….) I’ve been there on the poverty front — zero income for SIX months while waiting for my disability application to go through. With TWO months’ income in savings — and I had been so proud that I was responsible enough to have that!
I am so glad you shared your health insurance woes, so that I can tell you this: Most states are very concerned about the health of pregnant women. Beyond the compassionate issues, they recognize that giving babies a good start prenatally is an investment in a lifetime of good health. In other words — special programs. If you live in NY, go here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hia/html/public_insurance/pregnant.shtml If you live in NJ, go here (note it’s a bit hard to understand, but other sites suggest pregnant women are definitely included): http://www.njfamilycare.org/pages/who_njkc.html The income looks close, but note in each of the tables, you are a family of THREE (awwwww). Good luck! (And sorry to scare you with that article.)
I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months and I’ve enjoyed all of the fun and creative things that you post here, as well as your openness with your readers. I just wanted to share an encouraging quote from one of my favorite authors (it’s a little long, but worth it!):
Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. “The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.
Be encouraged! You are in my prayers tonight. 🙂
Oh my goodness, Jenny. You outlined a scenario that would be tough on anyone. My heart goes out to you. Hopefully, it’ll just be temporary and something will come through for you guys soon. Have you considered returning to album design? Let me know if you are interested.
Whatever happens, stay strong! I’m sending positive energy your way. 🙂
Oh no hun! I’m so terribly sorry to hear about your struggles. I hope things start to look up for you soon, and if you need anything, we’re here for you!
When is your baby due? I am due in February. Anyway I take Naturemade prenatals+DHA from Costco for $18/90 day supply.
Why not pay for COBRA and let the home go?
I’m so sorry! I was wondering why I hadn’t seen you online lately. I received my wonderful prize package but I haven’t had a chance to blog about it yet. I am so excited to print some photos!
I really think that things are going to get better. You guys are 2 really smart people, you have lots of talent and experience to fall back on. I am thinking about you. Good luck with everything! We are here for you.
Please go do something that makes you happy. 🙂
I been reading your blog for a while and it sadden me to hear this. Wish that everything will turn around for your family soon. Keep yourself happy because the baby does know when something is wrong. I will keep you your family in my prayers. Take care and do the simple things in life that will make you happy.
Pay the Cobra if you still have the 60 day window to elect to continue – you’ll get the 65% subsidy for 9 months, and don’t pay your mortgage. Sounds terrible but your health and your baby’s health is more important than that house and your credit. Period. Defaulting on your loan is so common now – sad, but true. Once the banks see you you’re not (can’t) paying anymore they’ll be falling all over themselves to try to modify your loan. They are poopie like that. As long as you pay the whole thing, they have no incentive to have you pay less.
Another blog sent me here : )
Just wanted to say hang in there and offer you two bits of advise.
1. Pretty certain all states have a child health insurance program – pregnant peeps count (I live in MD). CHeck it out throuhg your closest health department.
2. You don’t need prescription prenatals. They sell them OTC at most pharmacies for around 4 bucks.
Stay strong and don’t worry too much about your mortgage. My bankruptcy law professor always said that if you could were forced to be late on payments for something, than to be late on your house payments because it takes a long time for banks to put you into foreclosure, and you can always catch up after a few missed payments.
And yes, I agree with the above, get on COBRA if you still can because it’s cheaper than trying to foot the price of delivery on your own.
Hey Jenny! Just catching up on my reader now and caught your previous post first. Boo on the naysayers. Life always has a way of surprising us in a good a way despite the dips. Like everyone else has said, you’ve got so much love in your life, and that will be more than enough to propel you guys through these tough times. Also, have you considered Elance.com for some freelance gigs? It’s a great way to market yourself and look for short-term projects here and there. The website is super easy to use and very well-organized. Sending you lots of good vibes!!!
OMG. I can’t really even express to you how much I feel for you. My husband and I have just – just barely – dug ourselves out from underneath a similar situation. I’m still staggering after the weight of NO MONEY was lifted off my shoulders – I don’t know how to walk without that burden. I don’t have anything useful to say, I’m afraid, except that you’re not alone, and I am sending you a long-distance hug in the hopes that everything will turn around swiftly and graciously.
In the meantime… have you looked into WCA? I don’t know what their requirements are, but I had a girlfriend in a bad situation when she got unexpectedly pregnant. The WCA kept her, and her unborn baby, fed.
Hang in there, everything will work out. Losing your income and balancing your financial needs can be tough. Sometimes your mortgage company is easier to work with after you cannot pay your monthly payment in full. Look in to midwifery care, they are amazing and generally cheeper. We only paid $900 in full for our pregnancy and birth with insurance, otherwise it would have been $3000 with out insurance, much cheeper than an ob and hospital bill. Also look into TwinLab pre-natal vitamins, great brand and it is $20 for a 2 month supply.
Keep your faith, God has a plan for you three.
This might seem extreme- but if you file for benefits as a divorced or separated pregnant woman, you’re more likely to qualify based on just your income (medicare, WIC, etc). My husband left while I was pregnant so I kind of know the drill. I know divorcing on paper isn’t ideal, but if it lets you have a healthy pregnancy…
Also, Wal Mart prenatals are very affordable.
I’d wondered where you’d gone (haven’t looked my google reader in way too long). I’m sorry you guys are struggling right now – I’m sending prayers your way and much hope that your hubby finds employment asap.
Gah – I know my health care system isn’t perfect (Canada), but I really, really, hope you guys get some health care reform asap! It’s total crap that you guys have to pay out of pocket.
Thinking of you guys and thanks for sharing.