The financial question
I grew up poor (food stamps, W.IC, Ha.bitat-for-humani.ty-built-us-a-house poor). Between graduating from high school and moving in with Mr. Bunny, I supported myself, and life was not luxurious. It certainly wasn’t bad: I could always afford organic milk, and while I sometimes had to go into debt to get by, or to do without expensive things like a car, I did just fine. Being poor was stressful, but I was used to it. Mr. Bunny grew up middle class. After graduating from college, he ended up in a job that is not what he hoped to do with his life (teach Latin), but is ridiculously high-paying. He makes truly absurd amounts of money. Apologies to those of you who struggle financially and would like to stab me in the eye. I can only say that I too have struggled.
My professorial income is not large. There’s an imbalance in our incomes and also an imbalance in our attitudes towards money. Mr. Bunny thinks we need to be careful and save lots. Since I’m used to having just enough for necessities, I content that we have All the Money in the World. But I also have a ton of guilt associated with spending money, particularly on medical stuff. We never went to the doctor when I was a kid because we couldn’t afford it, so we just had to stay healthy. I see medical care as a luxury.
When we had the IVF conversation a month or so ago, it was really tough. Needless to say, IVF isn’t covered by our insurance (thanks, Ohio!). Mr. Bunny was unprepared for the cost of IVF. He’d been thinking ten grand, and was shocked when I told him it would be more like 15 per cycle (we get a discount because I’m a university employee), and we’d likely need more than one cycle. When I said he should be thinking more like $45 grand, he said, we can’t afford that. I burst into tears. I felt so completely shitty. It’s my fault we can’t have a baby, I already feel all kinds of guilty about spending money on medical stuff, and without his income IVF would be very difficult. But as it is, we totally CAN afford it. I don’t know if this will make sense to anyone else, but it sucked super hard. The discussion continued in a more positive way, but that initial reaction is still with me. So I’m wondering whether this is typical. Does anyone else feel guilty like I do? If you’ve had the IVF chat, how did the money part go?