Rebuilding after Financial Crisis and Bankruptcy in a Recession (Part 6)
This is an ongoing post in the series Surviving the Lien Years – Rebuilding after Financial Crisis and Bankruptcy in a Recession. Learning Hard Lessons is part six in the about how my husband and I are surviving the lien years (financial crisis and bankruptcy).
After being married for almost 9 years, I left THD in April, 2001. My primary motivating factor for leaving was because we had been trying to get pregnant for nearly 2 years and had been unsuccessful. We knew something was wrong but did not know what or how long it would ultimately take to become pregnant. What I did know was that I did not want all my (mostly male) co-workers to learn about these intimate details of my life. We had planned our finances with the ultimate goal in mind that I could stop working to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom. Since according to our plans, we should have already been able to allow me to quit working, we had the financial means for me to stop and the motivation as well. Lee thought in addition to the upcoming doctor visits that it would be extremely helpful to him if I was home throughout the day. He was working 60+ hours a week and did not have the energy or the inclination to come home to do laundry, cook, clean, etc. It would be easier if he knew that many of these tasks were taken care of and I was ready for a break from corporate America anyway.
My grandmother’s death and Lee’s business startup prepared us for what was truly our first major life hurdle and life let down. We had set goals and worked hard to achieve them throughout our marriage. While my grandmother’s death was difficult for us, she was “old” and it is somewhat normal in a life cycle for grandparents to die. So, here we were in our large house with lots of bedrooms waiting to be filled.
As we began treatments for infertility, Lee bought out one of his business partners and racked up some debt in the process. While things on the fertility front were not very good for us, his business was doing well. He brought on new staff to help grow the business.
The fertility treatments were nightmares. The hormones were wreaking havoc on my body emotionally and physically. With each passing month and negative pregnancy test results, my depression, anger, and frustration over being unable to reproduce grew. That depression, naturally, intensified in the wake of the terror attacks on 9-11. I seriously considered giving up on trying to conceive and instead enlisting in the military. In the end, Lee convinced me that was not the right decision for our lives or for me physically.
As with many American businesses after the terror attacks on 9-11, Lee’s business suffered financially. We had to reinvest money we had saved into the company to keep it afloat. The company was not strong enough to support a week of America being shutdown. We really never stopped to think twice about re-investing our money into the company. The company needed it, the thousands of people he was employing through the temporary company needed it, and it seemed like the right thing to do. We probably should have stopped to think twice about it. At this point, we no longer had much savings and our entire financial portfolio was tied up in 1 stream of income.
Our marriage grew stronger during this time as we had to face various medical and life decisions. Lee was a solid rock for me during this trying period. I could barley watch a baptism at church without falling apart emotionally but Lee stood by me every step of the way. If I had to leave church or a movie or any other event early because of my emotions, he was right there helping me out the door before I broke down into tears. I became a master at evading questions about family planning. What business was it of others anyway!? While silently and privately I was in hell, outwardly I did the best I could to keep a positive attitude. Keeping that positive attitude and training myself to compartmentalize was preparing me for even greater challenges in the years to come.