It’s been a rough 24 hours. Rachel, Darwin and I were supposed to go camping with some friends this weekend; I had even taken a day off of work to make it a long weekend. We’ve been planning it for months, and, even though I expected it to be difficult to camp with a baby, I was really looking forward to it. It was going to be the first trip Rachel and I have taken together in years that wasn’t for some highly structured event (wedding, graduation, etc). Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Rachel took our car in to the mechanic for an oil change and a checkup. It’s an ’08 but we just bought it in February, so it’s still new to us. Turns out, it needs $2500+ in repairs. (You can read Rachel’s account of it here). Not only that, but it’s probably not safe to drive for long distances– or at least, we aren’t comfortable driving it long distances, to places with which we are not familiar, with a 10 month old. So no camping.
Not only no camping, but, as Rachel mentioned in her post, the financial blow is enough for our (admittedly tentative) plans to get me pregnant this year to crumple. It’s been one thing after another this year. Rachel’s transport to the hospital during labor cost us money we weren’t expecting to have to come up with; my surgery was more expensive than anticipated; our cat got sick and we had vet bills to deal with; and finally this. Our reserves are drained. No money for another baby. Despite my earlier trepidation about another baby, I’m crushed. I’m trying hard to focus on the good– I’ll have a year of my doctoral program under my belt, we might be able to potty train Dar by the time the next baby comes, we’ll have more of a chance to get the house in order than we did before Darwin was born. But it’s hard. I’m grieving.
The stress has affected my anxiety, too. I’m an anxious person by nature, and I’ve struggled with depression most of my life. It’s been under control lately, though the past few weeks I’ve been sort of down and mildly depressed without really knowing why. But last night I had anxiety dreams. I somehow got pregnant accidentally, and I wanted to be happy but was just terrified. That’s all I really remember, but I know there was more. Then tonight, as I was trying to relax on the couch after my mother in law took us out for dinner (she’s so sweet, and knows how stressed we are about all this), I found myself falling into memories I hadn’t forgotten, but hadn’t remembered in such detail in years. Remembering being bullied by high school students on the school bus when I was 11 years old. Remembering the one kid who tried to look out for me, but the bus driver telling him he had to stay in his seat. Remembering crying to my mom, and her saying, “You know it’s not because they know I’m gay, right?” As if it had anything to do with her.
Luckily, Darwin woke up crying just as I was falling deep into that memory, and starting to feel the weight of those 5th grade tears all over again. I went in to the nursery and picked her up, feeling her familiar and comforting weight in my arms. She fell back asleep quickly with some bouncing and a lullaby. I was brought back to the present, not living in the past or worrying about the future. Just being, here, now, with my sweet baby.
Not sure why this picture uploaded sideways.
It’s hard to stay in that place, and I won’t pretend I’m not still struggling not to cry over this new expense and all that it means. But she brought me out of the darkest place I’ve been in a while now, and at least I have the strength to have that struggle. At least I’m not giving up.