- 5 days ago
Regular bee going anon as this concerns a dear friend. I don’t really mind if anyone figures out who I am but I share a lot of details about myself on my regular profile and just want to ensure I’m not compromising my friend’s privacy.
So I’ll call my friend Jenna. We met when she started dating one of my husband’s friends. She’s a lovely person and I genuinely enjoy seeing her and talking to her. But more and more, I am realizing she has made some very risky judgement calls. She’s ten years older than me (almost 41) and seems to have a good head on her shoulders, but not about personal decisions. This has caused me increasing amounts of worry over the past year or so.
Her now-husband lost his mother unexpectedly about a year into their relationship. She was right by his side the whole time at the hospital, for the funeral after, etc. She struggled but was just really worried about him. She confided in me that selfishly, she was also a little extra sad because they were just about to get engaged and now things would be pushed back (which she understood). She had always thought she’d meet the right guy and have a big family but she didn’t meet him until she was 38 or so. At that point, she was 39 going on 40 and worried about ttc due to age.
They did get engaged shortly after and planned a wedding for 6 months later. This is the minimum amount of time required by her church, which is very important to her. Their plan was to get married in April and she would finish out the school year as a teacher in her church. She had taught there for 17 years and was burned out. The pay was low (I think not even minimum wage??) and had very little in the way of benefits. She would find a new job and they would ttc right away. When/if they got pregnant and she gave birth, she wanted to become a sahm after that, permanently.
I encouraged her in the job search but she was dragging her feet a bit. She was nervous as she’d never worked anywhere else. She told me she wanted to wait until fall since she still had school paychecks through the summer. It kinda made sense but i felt she was just hoping to get pregnant by then. Even so, she said she’d work while pregnant. Covid hit right before their wedding so they had an extremely tiny ceremony on their original date. We were thrilled for them.
About 5 weeks later, she was pregnant. She had wanted this for so long and they were pretty over the moon, but she was shocked it happened so quickly and had some anxiety as well. She did try to work a little as a nanny in the fall, but was too tired and her husband just wanted her to rest for the baby’s sake. So she ended up not working.
So here is where I start to get *REALLY* nervous. Not only is she not working, her husband worked in a job that paid around $35,000 a year, with no benefits, and we live in a hcol state. Both my friend and her husband lived with their parents before marriage, and she really wanted a place of their own, but I could not see how they could afford that here on just his income with a baby on the way! They ended up moving in with her family temporarily and finding his dad a new place on his own. I think she mostly didn’t feel comfortable staying with his dad.
The financial plan was for her to get on Medicaid ASAP once her insurance went away. She told me she didn’t mind living a frugal life but being a sahm was non-negotiable for her. She would say things like “we’re definitely going to breastfeed because formula is too expensive and we can’t afford it”. This panicked me hugely as I know breastfeeding can be tough. Budgeting is one thing but saying you can’t afford food for your child is such an irresponsible thing and I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I tried to just be supportive and also mentioned companies that do give away free formula. She does have a big family that is very close and I knew her family would never allow them to be on the streets or without food, but I just felt that they had done a terrible job of planning for things, especially at their ages.
As she got closer to her due date, things got worse. Medicaid was having issues so even 6 weeks before her due date, they had no insurance. She had no idea where she would give birth and was highly stressed out. Her husband quit his job for a new company he thought would be better, but the hours were very irregular and they both struggled. Then he lost his job. I couldn’t believe it. He managed to find something quickly but then she developed pre-eclampsia at 36 weeks. She ended up in the hospital for a full week, was induced and then had a c-section, the baby was born small but very healthy except for some jaundice, which has since gone away. I have no idea if they ever got their insurance sorted- I’ve been too scared to ask. The birth was extremely traumatic for her and she is still on medication for her blood pressure, months later. She has struggled to adjust and is tired all the time. Her husband is working again, now at Lowe’s.
SO. All that to say, she is firmly one and done. She has no desire to be pregnant again, give birth again, and has been advised by her doctor to not get pregnant again. Obviously I think that’s the right choice for them, given her age, history, and high risk to develop similar complications again. So imagine my complete and utter shock when I asked if she’s now on the pill/birth control… and she said NO. Yeah. I just… I honestly can’t even right now. I don’t think they’re sexually active again yet, but basically, birth control is forbidden in her religion. But she is downright terrified of getting pregnant, with good reason! She straight up said “I cannot and will not get pregnant again. I just can’t go through that again.” So I have no freaking idea what their plan is!! Never have sex again until menopause? Family planning? The pull out method? IMO, all of these have the possibility of failing and I think it’s crazy dangerous of her to trust any of them, given the high stakes. If she was ok risking it again, that would be one thing, but I know she’d be devastated if she got pregnant again. She listed all the reasons it’s a terrible idea- already so tired, her age, risk factors, doctors advised against it, financial issues. I was so surprised I didn’t push it much then but I feel I have to at least try to help her see reason. She did hesitate a bit when she said no and I think she’s so scared she could be talked into birth control, but I don’t know how to get through to her. I feel like if her family or her priest said it was ok she wouldn’t even hesitate. Maybe some of them even have told her to? Idk. Even the “never have sex again” plan seems so stupid to me as she told me how much she enjoyed it once they got married and they were doing it multiple times a day- and not just to ttc. So I’m just at a total loss at this point. She’s the sweetest thing ever but she’s almost 41, a wife and mother, has only worked a job that didn’t even take care of her, he makes little to speak of, they live with her parents, etc. The fact that she did not immediately get on bc just shocks me and I honestly don’t get how they could be so stupid and irresponsible about this.
I know I need to talk to her about this again, it’s just too serious. But I have no idea how to bring it up or how to get through to her on this. I’m 10 years younger and while we are close, I know she listens to her family and church more. At the end of the day I can’t force her, but any idea how to approach this issue? I feel she is just delusional and has been about most of the problems they faced. For all I know, her family thinks God will prevent another pregnancy so it’s no big deal. They got pregnant at the drop of a hat last time, so clearly they’re fertile. Ugh. Any advice or support is welcome. Thanks for reading bees. I know this is a terribly dangerous situation they’re in and I don’t understand how two adults who otherwise seem to be quite level-headed are just burying their heads in the sand on this.