Tag Archives: pregnancy

Do I Choose to be Stressed?

A friend of mine, a stay-at-home mother who is married to an engineer who is likely earning over $200k a year, has told me to stop making choices that make me so stressed. I should go to a mindfulness class, she says, as this helped her resolve the majority of her own anxieties. They aren’t rich by any means for this area, but they do have a small condo that the husband’s parents purchased and they are renting the unit from them. I agree with her that I put myself in stressful situations and even when I don’t I have a tendency to stress about every little thing, but it’s hard to have a conversation with her about the stress I feel about money and the ability to live a comfortable life. I hear my mother’s voice, someone who doesn’t really want to understand money or retirement savings, but who just assumes it will all work out. And maybe it will for her. And maybe it will for me. But maybe not.

In the case of my life, I just don’t see it all magically working out. I have to make it work. And,  yes, that is stressful. I am literally making the choice between jobs that will pay over $150k and jobs that would pay $60k — and the crazy thing is it’s easier to get hired in the former right now. Those well-paid jobs come with a heaping dose of responsibility and the corresponding stress.

Here I am, one month from turning 32, and — this is the year I’ll get married and when I want to try to have children. I know having children will be challenging due to my health issues, and I also know that stress can contribute to infertility and miscarriages. I need to focus on being healthy and stress-free right now, but that’s hard to do when I am staring down these startup jobs that I’ll always feel under-qualified for and incapable of any sustained success. And just logistically these companies don’t have paid leave for maternity or anything, so I’d basically have to quit when I have a kid, if I have a kid. Which really sucks since I’m currently the breadwinner (well, at least prior to getting the axe!) I don’t know how I can make this work. It works FINE now – living in a one bedroom apartment and being ok with having to move if our rent goes up too much… but I can’t do this with kids. I mean, people DO do this with kids. But if I’m stressed now… then I can’t imagine how I’d feel then. And I don’t want to be a stressed out mother around my future children.

Today, I’m trying to decide whether to do COBRA for health insurance or to purchase it on my own. Neither option is great. For $550 a month I can have a $1500 deductible plan… or I can buy my own and do something like $350 a month for a $5000 deductible. In either case, it’s just a catastrophic plan and any other health needs… like… pregnancy stuff… wouldn’t be covered (well, it would go towards that impossibly high deductible or not at all.) My fiance doesn’t have insurance through work so it’s not like I’ll be better off when married. We’ll just be paying more in tax (if we’re both working) as our big reward for tying the knot.

I know I’m fortunate to even have these problems… but the next few years of my life are legitimately terrifying. These are the years when I either become a mother OR become a woman who never has kids. Either is a major, major life-defining situation. I want kids, even though I’ll never feel ready. I don’t want to watch my 30s go by and have just let work become the only thing that matters in life. And I’m the type of person that is all or nothing — it’s so hard for me to be just enough, but not too much, especially when in the startup world the general unspoken agreement is that you should work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week (give or take.)

Becoming a contractor would be ideal – for the flexibility – but then I’ll really have to deal with the health insurance situation… I mean, after rent, health insurance, and car insurance … that’s about $1800 a month right now. I just don’t think I can – for the long term – do the consultant thing. I think, even though the stability kills my drive, I need it. I just don’t know WHAT to do. It’s not like I can bring up the whole “hey… so I may get pregnant in the next year or two… and also, I may need to take crazy hormones and take time off of work in order to get pregnant because my body doesn’t work so can I negotiate some of flexibility into this contract or you know what just go hire some woman who doesn’t want kids or who already has them at least or just someone who probably won’t have substantial medical issues trying to get pregnant.”

My friend would tell me that I shouldn’t be stressing over this. But, I guess, I would want to ask her if she’d be stressed if she didn’t have a stable place to live and a husband with such a well-paid, high-stress career. She says she doesn’t care about money but I know she likes nice things — she has good taste — and I know she says she doesn’t really care about money because that would be too stressful, but that’s because at this point, perhaps, she doesn’t have to care, or she chooses not to think about it or be involved in her financial future.

There really isn’t anyone I know who is in a similar situation either — my friends here (the female ones) are either married and stay-at-home mothers or part-time self-employed types with husbands who have high-paid tech jobs, or they’re in a situation where they’re making about the same as their significant others and will probably leave the area since their careers don’t provide the salaries needed to last here. I don’t relate to (or have any friends to people who are) powerful women who have high-paid jobs. I mean, I’m not that type, I’m just faking it… for now. I really want to just tell these companies I’m interviewing for all the reasons they shouldn’t hire me… because I’m so tired of being a good interviewer but then feeling like I just don’t know what to do or how to do it when I start – or especially after I get through the few things I know how to do… and am left with a whole bunch of “figure it out” that never goes so well when I’m in charge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biological Clock, is That You?

Time for another post about babies. Babies are everywhere in my life, it seems. Well, not my work life. But my friends back home are having babies (actually, they’re on #2) and my friends out here are on number one. Yesterday I visited a friend’s nine-month old and today I visited another friend’s newborn. Now I see a whole host of them infesting my Facebook wall. They. Are. Everywhere.

Now that I’m 30.5, I’m really seriously thinking about having children. I’ve spent my 20s saving somewhat wisely and at this point life feels all but meaningless without a family. I could definitely see spending the rest of my life barren of children (easier to picture that then it is me as a mother) and it makes me terribly sad. Continue reading

I Hear My Biological Clock Ticking, Ring Ting Tingling Too…

So it happened. I turned 29 without much fanfare and now I’m already nearly a month into my last year before my 30s. Time just disappears, and I imagine I’ll be 40 in the blink of an eye.

What is really starting to bother me lately is how I’m at prime child bearing age right now, and I’m not even married. I’ve always wanted to save up and have $250k in the bank before procreating (and ideally have a husband who had saved at least half of that) but here I am, nearing 30, with $200k in the bank and a potential husband with nothing saved. That said, how many people have kids with less than $200k saved up, or who have loads of debt? Many people do. In fact it’s the people who don’t have money that often have a lot of kids early. Those of us with good salaries wait until our biological clock has run out.

The New Republic author Judith Shulevitz published a cover story on “The Greyest Generation” this past week, which highlights this problem with society.

“American first-time mothers have aged about four years since 1970—as of 2010, they were 25.4 as opposed to 21.5. That average, of course, obscures a lot of regional, ethnic, and educational variation. The average new mother from Massachusetts, for instance, was 28; the Mississippian was 22.9. The Asian American first-time mother was 29.1; the African American 23.1. A college-educated woman had a better than one-in-three chance of having her first child at 30 or older; the odds that a woman with less education would wait that long were no better than one in ten.”

So the more white you are, the later you are going to have kids. But the scary part is the average child bearing age, on the high end, is 29. That’s my age. So no matter what I’ll be pulling up the average at this point. Apparently Advanced Material Age starts at 35. It doesn’t help that I have PCOS and my eggs are already defective. Who knows if I could have kids now even if I tried… and waiting more years is just going to reduce the possibilities. Sure, I could adopt, and maybe I’ll change my mind on this when the time comes, but I really want my own kids, or no kids at all. I guess I’m just selfish like that.

Right now, many of my friends are pregnant or already have had at least one kid. Some of these friends are younger than me by a year or two. This is no longer the batch of friends who gave birth in their early 20s because their entire life goal was to have children and they were content refraining from a serious professional mission prior to procreating. This is the group of friends who are having kids at the “normal age” to have a first kid, 28-32. But I’ll be lucky if I’m married at 31.

There are days when I wonder if I even want children. After all, the freedom of being able to work late and early in order to ensure my professional success is something I take for granted now, but I wouldn’t be able to do that with kids. I’d certainly feel responsible for giving my children a life as least as good as the one I had growing up (which will be a challenge if I were to work since my mother was a full time housewife.)

I’m just terrified of what happens when I hit 33, 34 or 35 and my then husband and I start trying to have a kid. What if I can’t? What if the doctor looks at me and says point blank “it would have been possible when you were 29. I’m sorry, but your eggs are all broken now.”

I’m not being overly dramatic. This can happen to a woman with PCOS even at 35. So I’ve thought about freezing my eggs now, but that process seems challenging when you have a full time job, not to mention expensive. And who knows if that will work. If I start trying to have kids at 33, maybe this isn’t that big of a deal. But what if my future husband and I don’t get around to it until 35 or later? And how about having more than one kid (I want 2 or 3. I think it’s important for kids to have siblings. Plus I like the idea of a mid-sized family.)

I was joking with my boyfriend the other day that I’m going to go to a sperm bank and attempt to have a kid now. Well, I was mostly joking. It’s tempting to think about taking matters into my own hands. Of course, he was not ok with that plan. He does want to have kids with me and get married. He’s definitely the father type. I just am so scared that by the time we get around to trying, we’ll face a painful journey of nothing but failure.

HSA, FSA, and the Cost of Being Healthy

There are a lot of different versions of health benefits available these days. Even when you are fortunate enough to have insurance through a company plan, it seems basic healthcare costs have skyrocketed over the last decade. For instance, my co-pay to visit any sort of specialist is $50 a visit. Assuming I ever need to go to a specialist for more than one visit, which is often the case if you need to see a specialist, that adds up fast.

My last company offered an HSA plan, where instead of paying for a more expensive plan, they’d put $100 per month into your account. The deductible was high, like with all HSA plans, requiring a $3000 spend per year before additional fees would be covered at all. So it was basically a high-risk plan, with an HSA savings account that, theoretically, would be beneficial as a separate retirement account if you were healthy and didn’t need to touch the money. You could either leave the funds inside it to gain basic money market interest, or you could open an investment account where you could put the money in a handful of mutual funds available.

The good news is with HSAs, even when you no longer have the insurance plan open with them, you can still use any money put inside there for medical costs in the future. Plus, the money that goes in is tax free and as long as you use it for a qualified medical expense the money that gets spent is tax free too. But there’s a catch… Continue reading