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Meet Thera Larson

By Brian M. Rosenthal,

When Thera Larson’s fiance was laid off as a union sheet metal worker, it wasn’t the couple’s biggest news of the month. Just weeks earlier, they had found out that Thera was pregnant.

They were excited about the baby, and they assumed he would soon find a job anyway.

More than a year later, things haven’t turned out as the couple hoped. Thera’s fiance has been unable to find work, and she has had to support their budding family on her own.

“It’s been tough reversing the traditional gender roles,” the Bowie, Md., trade show contractor said. “It’s hard for a man to stay home and come to grips with being the homemaker — not that there’s not any merit to it because there certainly is — but it’s really stressful on the relationship, especially when you’re broke.”

Thera’s fiance declined to participate in this project, but she agreed to write about her family’s experience anyway. The country needs to hear about how the recession continues to have a large impact, she said.

“The papers keep reporting about an economic recovery, but we’ve been asking ourselves, who’s recovering?” Thera said. “We feel hopeless.”

The couple does have one goal: finding enough money for a wedding.

“We can only afford Justice of the Peace right now,” the 32-year-old said. “We want to hang on until we can do something a little more special.”

rosenthalb@washpost.com

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