- 3 years ago
- Wedding: September 2010
Hi ladies. I feel like I have been all over the place on these boards; unsure about whether I or others in my situation should TTC one day, encouraging people to TTC immediately the next. I guess that just reflects my own rollercoaster of emotions about the idea. Today I am having a bad day, and was wondering if I could get some perspectives on my situation.
I work in the very volatile video game industry. General practice is to hire big and hire fast for a game’s development, and then lay off most of your employees after the game has shipped (whether it did well or not), since you just don’t need them anymore. My first job in the industry was very good benefits-wise. I worked for a major company for four years, I had excellent medical/dental/vision, and 3 months paid maternity leave. I did not have a baby at that point, however, as I felt I/husband were too young (we were 23-27 during this period). In 2012, I was laid off. I accepted a 1 year contract with another company shortly after, but this job only lasted 3 months until I was laid off again.
I was again lucky enough to find another job in Nov 2012, and still have this job now. I am technically a freelance/contract worker, and I work out of my home. My contract has no end date, and I am paid a flat monthly rate. My income is untaxed, which means I have to make four estimated tax payments to Uncle Sam each year. These are around ~$2k each time, and it really takes a bite. That’s about as much money as I can save between payments, and then it all gets wiped out in one fell swoop. Because I am freelance/contract, I do not get any benefits. No health insurance, no PTO/leave, nothing. My company has less than 50 employees, so I am thus guaranteed no leave under the FMLA. My company is based in Massachussets, which (if I am understanding their laws correctly) does guarantee 8 weeks unpaid leave to a full-time employee, regardless of the size of the company. I do not know if I count as a full-time employee under MA law, but one of the definitions is working 40 hours a week, which I do and then some.
My husband is a graduate student with at least a year and a half left until he finishes his PhD. We are currently using his graduate student insurance for medical/dental. It is only ~$350 for him, since he is the student, but we have to pay half of my premium and any dependents’ premiums. My annual premium is ~$2200. This hurts, but from what I can tell, hurts much less than it would if we were buying insurance outside of what the school offers. My husband wants to be a professor after he graduates. I am worried he won’t be able to get a job. Most professors, once tenured, stay there until they keel over. There are thousands of new PhDs every year, and a finite number of positions. All our other friends who have graduated have been unable to find anything. Most are unemployed, or have had to accept low-paying adjunct positions without benefits.
We very much want to have a baby. We look at baby things in stores, we have read baby books, we talk about it all the time. I have days where I just cry because I want to have a baby so badly. I just don’t know how we can do it. I can’t imagine doubling that insurance premium bill. I don’t know how we’re supposed to save for a baby when the estimated taxes wipe us out every few months. I don’t know how we could live without my income during the weeks I would need to be out giving birth/recovering. I don’t know how I could manage working at home and taking care of a newborn at the same time. Sometimes I think we should have had a baby back when we were 24-27, and I had that great job with the great insurance and mat leave. I have tried pushing to become full-time at my job, but am only hearing crickets. I am scared that if I wait until husband is done with school and out in the job market (on the assumption he would get a steady job with benefits) that he won’t be able to find anything. He obviously wouldn’t be able to claim unemployment, so not only would we be without insurance at that point, we would be 100% dependent on my income. If that is what’s likely to happen, would it be better to have a baby now, when we do have insurance/he does have a job?
I read all the posts that say I should not have a baby unless I am financially stable, have no debt, have $10k in the bank, have steady jobs and a house and full insurance for everyone, etc. I don’t think we are ever going to get there before I hit menopause. The people who make those posts would probably tell me it would be fairer to my unborn children to not ever have them. This makes me so sad. I want a baby. I am a good person. I am trying my best to meet society’s standards, but I just don’t see how I can ever reach them. Does this mean I can’t ever have a baby? Should I just forget what all those posts say, have a baby, and figure that I will find some way to make it work?
If you made it all the way to the end of this, thanks for reading. 🙂 Does anyone have any hope for me?