Two weeks after our son was born Dan lost his job. The company for which he had worked moved their operation to another state. A month later the baby got very, very sick and ended up in Pediatric ICU for a week. In my quest for Mr. Bubble perfection, I had put no money into savings. We were left with no regular income and no health insurance. One of our friends hired Dan as a laborer for his construction company, but the work was sporadic. I babysat several neighbor children, and I continued to sell needlecraft kits at in-home parties. Try as I might, we could never seem to catch up. Too much of our meager income was floating away with my floating checks. The bank which held the loan on our doublewide, the mobile home park which rented us our space, and numerous collection agencies which represented the medical community came knocking on our door. For two full years I held them all at bay by paying what I could whenever I absolutely had to.
I gave birth to our fourth baby, a girl, at home. She was born fine and healthy, but I ended up in the hospital with complications. We accrued more medical debt, and I despaired under the weight of it. I felt like a failure, but nobody, not even Dan, knew. As much a failure as I was in regards to my relationship with possessions and money, as my family and friends would attest, I was a big success as a wife and mother. I worked very hard to create a secure environment filled with peace, patient discipline and kindness. Dan maintains to this day that I was "the best mother he has ever known." On our wedding day years before I had promised Dan that I would make our home a sanctuary. I held true to my vows, but I did it at great emotional cost. I bore the full weight of our financial burdens on my own soul. I worked hard to keep Dan ignorant about our troubles. I fielded all the collection calls, and kept him in the dark about our bank account. I felt like I was paddling upstream against a raging current. Worst of all, I chose to do it all alone. I was ashamed. I knew that I wasn’t the Pledge commercial mom that I wanted to be, and I hated myself. I could only imagine how my husband and my friends would feel about me, if they knew the truth. Something had to change.