happy

My life is so different now than it was a year ago. Two years ago. Three years ago. Four years ago.

Four years ago I was starting to wonder if there might be something wrong with me. Three years ago I was stuck. Unable to get pregnant, no diagnosis, and no idea what to do next. Two years ago my depression/anxiety was eating me alive. Last year we were grieving the third failed IUI and I was really coming to terms with the idea of IVF-or-never-have-a-baby.

And now? It’s like the magical Life Fairy has waved her little wand and made so many things better. I mean, obviously, Cayenne is almost freaking here (holy shit) and I am in a state of constant gratitude for that, but it goes beyond that as well, and a lot of it has to do with money.

I know I write about money a lot in this space and I probably seem a little obsessed with it, but it has really astonished me over the past year as I have watched how much of a difference it makes. People go on and on about how money doesn’t buy happiness, and they’re right to a certain degree, but on the other hand, yes it fucking does.

I would not be pregnant right now if I wasn’t able to borrow the money for the IVF cycle. It is so hard for me even to write that, but it’s true, and the sentence I’m about to write is so fucked up in so many ways that I almost can’t begin to parse it:

Cayenne would not exist if I hadn’t been able to pay for him.

Because my husband landed that magic tenure-track job (go husband!), and because I totally lucked into probably the only job in the world that actually uses my weird collection of skills, we are able to live in a way that wasn’t even thinkable for us in the first nine years of our marriage.

We have less debt every month now, not more. We are talking about buying a car that doesn’t come from Craigslist. When we needed to buy baby furniture, we just drove up to Ikea and bought it instead of spending weeks combing thrift stores. When I need new clothes, I go to the store and buy them. Sometimes I even pay full price. I like paying bills now because there is always enough money to pay all of them. I know I’m not supposed to care about stuff. I’m supposed to get all my happiness from intangibles and to meet life circumstances with equanimity. But really, there is a quality-of-life difference when I don’t have to live in fear of our 13-year-old car breaking down because how the hell will we get it fixed and then how will I get to work. Everything is easier now, and the only difference is money.

I make twice as much money as I used to; I’m not smarter, or harder-working, or more congenial, or more anything than I was then. They just pay me more. I’m also not smarter, or harder-working, or more congenial, than the similarly overqualified person who is now doing the job I used to do. So what, exactly, is different now that makes me deserving of this demonstrably better set of circumstances?* It feels like dumb luck.

And I keep circling back to Cayenne: am I somehow better, or more deserving, or more ready to be a parent than I was before, because this year I could come up with the necessary scratch for his conception?

I am going to love the living heck out of him (I already do), and I am going to teach him compassion and tolerance and how to make mashed potatoes, but I would have done all of that when I didn’t have any money too.

* And the ugly, sweat-drenched, 3-in-the-morning corollary: what makes me think it isn’t all going to vanish one day in an equally capricious way?

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8 responses to “happy

  1. I think that people who say that money doesn’t buy happiness are talking about the comfortable rich comparison. It isn’t fun to not have a monetary cushion for things that go wrong in life (such as IF!). And debt is always super stressful, especially when it’s getting bigger, not smaller. I’m so happy for you guys to be in the comfort zone, financially, AND to have rewarding jobs (double score!!).

  2. It is a sad reality that having enough money–not a lot, but enough–can significantly improve one’s quality of life for a variety of reasons. . . no matter how much she tries to focus on non-material things.

    Oh, and let’s be clear: you paid for a CHANCE to have Cayenne, not for him. You could’ve spent that money on IVF and not found success, remember. . . no amount of money can buy that. 🙂

    I think you will be a better parent not *because* you have more money but because more money (up to a certain point) equals less stress and more freedom, and those things can help you be the best parent you can be.

  3. this is a big, important, watershed post. I loved each line, even the painful ones (i.e., remembering how hard it was to “see” you struggle with the failures of the IUIs and not being able to move to IVF). We would like to live in a just world, but we don’t. there is no fairness to being infertile and not having the money to pay for treatment. I am glad that your hard work is finally being rewarded in meaningful, substantial ways. And yes, luck is involved, but without the hard work, that luck may not have worked for you in the same way.
    you are going to LOVE this mothering thing. I just know it.

  4. What a glorious post. It’s ultra bizarre to contemplate the intersection of money and actual people, people who would or wouldn’t exist if a person or people had more of it. I think I’ve mentioned before that having experienced not money and money I can confirm that having money is a good thing. When Bun Bun and Bunlet grow up to be jerky coke heads I may sing a different tune… Anyway, I am so overjoyed that you are in this much happier place. There will be rough patches ahead, but lord in heaven how I hope none of them will ever be as hard as those rough patches behind you.

  5. Unreal post, totally fabulous. Thank you for sharing. It’s true, money is a good thing and I too would not be here, magically pregnant, if it weren’t for big piles of money. Lovely to hear things are working out for you on all fronts. X

  6. I sometimes think about this idea and I honestly have no idea where we would be if money had been an issue with our treatments. We have everything covered 100% so it’s not even something we ever stop to think about, and that is an amazing luxury. Thinking about the money that many have to shell out keeps me humble. But it also makes me think about all of the twists and turns that led me to this position – working at THIS company in SPAIN, etc. I feel like if I HAVE to be infertile, then I’ll take these circumstances, I guess… does that make sense?

  7. Thanks for sharing. I too struggle with the importance of money for us infertiles in getting pregnant, and how unfair it is. Every non-infertile I’ve talked to about this is flabbergasted how expensive this is, and if we really want to do this… hell, what’s the alternative?
    I’m so glad you’re in a much better place now than 1, 2, 3 or 4 years ago.

  8. Pingback: it’s a rich man’s world | Conceptionally challenged

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