After Mass, we put the roof down on my zippy little two-seater and went for a spin on the country roads around here. We meandered down little single-track roads, stopping for cyclists and horses along the way, and eventually stopped at a lovely little country pub, where we sat in the garden to have a late lunch.
I've always found the car a very good place to talk. You have a captive audience - nobody can just wander off - and it's sometimes easier to say things that are a bit difficult when you're not facing each other. Having something else to concentrate on (the road ahead) and not being able to react too much physically (sometimes even a hug can disturb the flow of the conversation) also help.
The reason I needed to talk is because I've been having a bit of a crisis of confidence recently. I've now been unemployed for a little over a month, and the rejection of redundancy followed by the huge knock-back on the day of our follow-up appointment at the clinic have just made me doubt myself a bit. I don't want to go into detail about the knock-back - you never know who might be reading this - but there was a very major and very sudden change of attitude which I found both surprising and puzzling, given all the other circumstances.
I've had my moments since then, but yesterday, for some reason, I just felt really low about it. I know I'm good at my job, but I also know that I'm very bad at dealing with artificial situations like interviews and role plays (essentially, the thing I did badly on at the second interview for that job was a glorified role play, and I just wasn't able to replicate the real-life situation I was supposed to be representing). I feel as though I'm always going to stumble up against this reality when applying for jobs - being expected to jump through hoops that I find impossible to get through in order to reach the position where I'm actually able to demonstrate my ability to do the job.
I'm planning to go freelance, at least for a while, but I stumble up against the same problem - I can do the work, but I have no experience of marketing myself and selling it. And if I have piles and piles of beautiful work gathering dust at home, but nobody who wants to give me money for it, then I might as well not bother doing the work at all. It'll cost me between £2,000 and £3,000 to get myself set up for this - will that expenditure reap rewards by bringing in several times that amount, or will it just bring me to the end of my savings a bit more quickly?
So I've been worrying, and trying to work out how much longer my savings will last, and wondering how I can economise and make them stretch further. And then I've wondered if it's daft, when we're in this situation, to spend another £10,000+ on a fourth IVF treatment when we have such a low chance of success.
And that's what I talked about with DH as we bowled along the little country roads with the sun on our shoulders and the wind in our hair yesterday. He listened and understood my concerns, but he was totally supportive of what I'm planning to do, and he believes I'm capable of doing it.
He said three things that really helped to reassure me. The first is that he's seen that I'm doing groundwork for this new freelance work at the moment, and he thinks I'm right not to rush in and to ensure that I'm fully prepared before I start trying to sell my work.
The second is that it takes time to build up this sort of work, and even if I don't make any money before Christmas, that doesn't mean the effort I'm putting in now won't pay off in the longer term.
And the third is that as far as he's concerned, our priority for the rest of this year is not earning money, but giving ourselves the best possible chance of success at our final IVF. And he brought that up all by himself, without my having mentioned it at all, so I feel reassured that he's still fully on board with the baby thing (maybe more so than I am at the moment, as I can't help worrying about the cost and the high probability of failure).
So we had a lovely day, I got a lot of worries off my chest, and DH was great in offering both practical and emotional support. I knew there was a reason why I married this man...