By JAMES HODGES, Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) In a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in northern Maryland, John and Jane are preparing to give birth to a daughter.
For John, the baby is a rite of passage.
For Jane, it’s the start of another phase of her life, the end of a tumultuous pregnancy.
For the first time in her life as a mom, she says she’s going to have a baby, too.
It’s a decision she’s making not for the sake of her baby but for the betterment of her family.
“This is something that we’ve always wanted,” said Jane, who is pregnant with her second child.
“And we’ve been waiting for it.”
Jane’s pregnancy with her first husband, Richard, and their second son, Andrew, was in 2008.
For some time, Jane and Richard struggled to balance caring for the two boys, who were both in and out of hospitals.
But they finally got through it, getting married in 2012.
As the pregnancy wound down, Jane was also having a hard time keeping the boys, Andrew and William, from going to preschool.
The couple was struggling to balance raising two boys and two little girls, even as they were juggling a steady income from a construction business.
The children, who have been dubbed the “baby-makers” by Jane, were both very active at school and had good grades.
So, Jane decided she needed to get back to work.
The husband needed to be back in the house.
She had to be working.
The house needed to keep being run.
And they needed to take care of the kids.
So Jane went back to her husband.
He was working part time.
So she got a part-time job as a waitress.
But her husband wasn’t doing as well as she thought he should be.
“I felt like, well, I just have to make it work,” Jane said.
“If I was really making the best of it, then I could go back to the family.”
In a few months, her husband got back to his full-time jobs.
But then things got bad.
“We started to go through some bad times,” she said.
For six months, Jane worked two jobs to support her family and keep her kids busy.
By the time she got home from work one day, her kids were on their own, and Jane was forced to work part-timers for about a month.
The family struggled to make ends meet.
Then, in early March, she decided to take a job at Walmart.
The jobs were good, but they were not as satisfying as her husband’s.
“You feel like you’ve got a really good job, but it’s not that fulfilling,” she recalled.
“The Walmart jobs were not for me.”
So she started looking for a better job.
She took a job as an administrative assistant at the mall and worked until she got sick of it.
“That’s how I made it,” she remembered thinking.
But the job didn’t pay as well.
She also struggled to get her family to get out of the house and into the store.
“It was like, how am I going to get our kids out of this?” she asked.
She found a way to work from home, working shifts for $4.50 an hour.
“My family is always here,” she told The Associated Press.
“They’re in the back of the store all day long, and then they go home.
So I was able to work weekends and the holidays.”
It was the best deal she could get, she said, and she was able afford to pay her bills.
But, as the months went on, Jane’s life became more difficult.
Her husband was struggling financially.
He had a bad credit score, and he was living in an RV and driving a trailer.
He also had to cut back on his spending.
She struggled to keep up with the bills.
She and her family were on track to lose their house and start their own business.
They were on the verge of losing everything.
“By the time I got home, my son was already four years old and Andrew was five,” she explained.
“So, by that point, I knew that I couldn’t be there for them.”
She started saving money to move out of state, and it helped her keep afloat.
She was able, however, to make some good-paying jobs.
For a while, she made $25 an hour, but then it was $13 an hour and then $15 an hour after that.
“When I got my first paycheck, it was like a $13,000 check,” she remembers.
“There was no way that I was going to make that.”
But, in the end, she didn’t make that much.
She didn’t even make enough to get by on her own, let alone raise her two boys.
“Once I got past the $15-