I hope if you will forgive this post as a bit of a ramble because I have a variety of things to say on the subject. This blog has been about my journey to pay off debt and achieve financial independence. If people learn from my mistakes or take my advice and it helps them then it has been all worth it.
However, I have alluded to a couple of topics that I haven’t covered in other posts. Topics that are a big part of my financial life/personal life but I haven’t written about them yet. The biggest issue and I wouldn’t call it an issue but the biggest is children. Mrs. ROB and me are actively trying to have children. But when you are a bit older than the average bear you may need additional help from science. I won’t call this a new series here at Reaching Our Balance but I plan on writing a few more posts on our struggle with having children later in life, infertility, considerations of adoption and the like. I hope that our story can help others who may be struggling with a similar issue. And Mrs. ROB is totally on-board with sharing our story so I am not divulging anything that she doesn’t know about. I know this blog is about personal finance but there are a lot of financial things that come up with this topic so if we get too personal forgive me a bit.
When I was in my 20s and early 30s I didn’t know if I wanted kids. I mean I was pretty unstable, at least financially. I was a graduate student, not making a lot of money. I think in my 20s there were only two years or so that I made more than $25000. I was in graduate school and my graduate stipends weren’t that much.
It wasn’t until I was 33 that my feelings began to change. I was newly married, had gotten a good job (the current one I have), my partner had gotten a job, we sold our house, paid off her student loans and in-general life seemed good. We had talked about kids, but both of us were indifferent. I think I was primarily indifferent because of the instability of it all. I didn’t know where I would be, how much I would make, or if I would be financially stable as an academic. Besides when you are 28 or 29 it seems like you have lots of time.
I knew that my partner was unhappy where we were living, but I figured if we moved to a new area, got a fresh start, things would change. I WAS WRONG!
About six months into our marriage I asked my ex-wife if she wanted to have kids. I mean it seemed like everything was going well for us and it seemed like we should take the next step. My ex had just started a new job and she said she would like a year to work, see how things went, and then we could talk. I thought that was fair. I mean I was only 33, she was 29, we had plenty of time.
About a year later I brought the subject up again. This time she told me that she didn’t think she wanted to have children. On the surface I told her that was fine, but underneath I was crushed. Looking back on it I think that at that point I checked out of our relationship. I told myself all she needed was time. A house, a good job, and she would come around. But I was deluding myself. I started to spend more time at work. We began to drift apart and all aspects of our relationship went down hill. I mean things weren’t wine and roses to begin with and this exacerbated it. And I am sorry for that. I should’ve been more forward with my feelings. Maybe counseling or something. I mean we eventually tried counseling, but by then I think it was too late.
People who know me know there is much more to the story than this, but I will just leave it at that.
So I am 37 when my ex and are separated and in the process of a divorce. That is when Mrs. ROB and I renew a romance that we had almost ten years earlier. I honestly think that she saved me from the depths of my depression.
Fast Forward to Today
So when Mrs. ROB and I begin dating we lived almost 1400 miles apart and only saw each other once every few weeks. As we got more serious we talked about marriage and kids and the like and we both agreed that we wanted them. In fact, we took no precautions while we were dating so if it happened it happened.
We got married in 2012 and have been actively trying to have kids ever since.
About February of 2014 after over a year or so of trying we started to talk about seeing specialists regarding fertility issues. Part of the reason was that I was over 40, Mrs. ROB is approaching 40, and we knew that as you get older it gets harder to have kids. This was also inspired by a couple of good friends who were going through something similar, plus I had a couple of colleagues who were in their 40s who had kids so that only increased my attention to having kids.
For several reasons Mrs. ROB and I have taken about a year or so to really start to move forward with our discussions regarding fertility. One of the big reasons is that Mrs. ROB severely broke her ankle in January of last year. And when I mean serious the doctor told us it was one of the worst breaks he had ever witnessed.
So we have only been really setting up appointments and preliminaries for the past six months. Mrs. ROB got a new doctor. I am being tested (another post for another time) and we are trying to get all of our ducks in a row.
But it is still a slow process, too slow for my taste. During this time we even looked into the possibility of adoption, just to keep our options open about having kids. For the moment, however, our focus is on having children the natural way. Although that might change.
What Does This Have To Do With Personal Finance?
The answer to that question is currently not a lot. I am blessed to have an employer that will cover our infertility treatments. I am not sure what that will entail at the moment, but it is good to know that we have some coverage. We have friends of ours that shelled out tens of thousands of dollars and our much deeper into this process than we are.
But hearing their story and investigating this does give me anxiety. I think about maybe I should be saving more money in case of a contingency. What if we have to pay out of pocket? What do we do if insurance doesn’t cover these issues? How far do we go with this until we move to the next step, whatever that maybe?
Truth is there are bigger questions/feelings that weigh me down. I am 42 years old and sometimes feel like it is too late. The kid train has passed and I should just enjoy my life as it is. I have never been the most patient person and this is the ultimate test of my patience. Additionally, it seems like everyone you know is having kids except you. My brother recently told us that he and his wife are expected their second child. A colleague of mine, who is my age, announced that he and his wife are going to have their first, plus what it seems like countless examples of Facebook friends announcing they are having children for the first time. This only enhances our anxiety and disappointment. I guess when you have wanted something for so long it just seems like like everything is against you.
And I can tell this affects Mrs. ROB as well. She doesn’t say much about it, but I know that she has similar feelings as I do. Yesterday we were talking about this and she said something that I think is a commonplace with a lot of people in our situation. She said and I am paraphrasing, “I did everything right. I went and got a career, didn’t have a child out of wedlock, protected myself when I was single, and when I am ready to have kids it seems like I am not allowed to do so.”
I feel the same way. I did everything, supposedly right. I tried to be financially and emotionally mature. But when I am ready it seems like it just isn’t in the cards.” I know that intellectually there is a lot more to it that includes health and the like, but it just seems like we are running on a treadmill going nowhere.
Sorry for the woe is me stuff. Who knows tomorrow could change. We could have a kid in the next year (I hope). But in the interim it seems like a huge, perhaps too huge, hill to climb.
There are a lot more issues regarding this journey that we are going through, particularly as it relates to personal finance, but I thought I would start with there.
And if anyone who is reading this would like to guest post and/or share their story I would love hear it. Just drop me a line, put it in the comments or whatever. I know that we aren’t the only ones out there.