Darlena Cunha is a former television producer turned freelance journalist.
She writes for TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Dame Magazine,
amid others. You can find her on Twitter @parentwin. She lives with her husband and children in Florida.
Recently featured on
In These Times Magazine
The New Poor
Uncovering the threat of middle-class poverty
I will never forget the vibration of my phone, one warm day in Massachusetts,
as I sat at my desk, putting the final touches on the news show I was producing
for that evening. The rest of the staff was rushing around, getting graphics in
place and discussing the top news of the day. I had a few minutes, so I took the call.
The tone of his voice told me I should take it outside. Usually, Carlos speaks in a demure,
accented pitch, but this time his words came out muted and gritty. Something was wrong.
The sun beat down on my shoulders as I paced back and forth across asphalt so hot if you looked at it
from a distance, it quivered and shook in the heat. I held my belly, trying to adjust the hulking mass,
as my twin fetuses kicked and batted at each other within me. They always reacted badly to high stress levels.
"I got laid off."