"Here I am. This is what I am, and deal with it."
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Okay, two things that will make you feel good this week:
Lawrence Bartley, whom I first interviewed in Sing Sing prison⁠—and then again years later with his wife, Ronnine, after he got out on parole⁠—recently went back to Sing Sing to meet with the inmates he lived with there. NBC Nightly News filmed as he shared with them the magazine he's created for incarcerated readers along with the Marshall Project, called News Inside. I also heard from Ronnine and Lawrence that they recently bought a house in Connecticut (!) and are hosting a housewarming party in a few weeks. 
AND there's a new country album out that you need to add to your rotation, if country is your thing. The Highwomen is a group of four artists—Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires. Amanda co-wrote my favorite song on the album, "My Name Can't Be Mama," and the song made me think about the first time she was on the show back in 2014. It was before she had a child, and she talked about her fears about whether she could pull off motherhood as a touring musician. "When a woman has a child, the child is always left to the woman, you know?" she said. "The guy can go off and go touring, go gallivanting around the world." So now, hearing her sing about loving her family and also sometimes peeling out of the driveway when they're still in bed makes me fist pump the air. We need many more love songs about loving more than one thing at the same time. The album is here, and if you want to listen back, the two times Amanda was on the show (along with her musician husband Jason Isbell) are here and here
What made me smile about these two things is they are objectively great—and they also made me feel warm thinking about how Lawrence and Amanda's lives have changed since we first talked on Death, Sex & Money. I love that about our community. We've gone through a lot together. And we keep up with our past guests as their lives keep on evolving.

If you appreciate this community, this running conversation of life transitions and figuring out priorities, we're asking for you to join in with your financial support right now. If you're able, please give what you can. You can donate here. We really appreciate it! 

Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team
This Week on Death, Sex & Money
After Vickie and Sissy Goodwin got married in 1968, they decided to settle in their hometown of Douglas, Wyoming. But several years after they got married, Sissy started wearing women's clothing in public after years of doing it privately. "That was probably the roughest time in our marriage," Sissy told me. "I didn't understand why he couldn't just act normal," Vickie said. "It took me a while to get past the, what do I care what 'they' think?" 

Hear my conversation with Vickie and Sissy about what it means to be unapologetically yourself in clear view of your partner, your family and your community.
It's Podcast Appreciation Month!
This month, we're asking all of you to consider becoming sustaining members of the Death, Sex & Money community. That means that every month, you chip in a little bit of money⁠—which really helps us plan for the year ahead. And great news! We're a quarter of the way to our goal of 200 new sustaining members. Thanks so much to all of you who have given in the past week. 

For those of you who haven't yet signed up, please do! You'll be supporting the show, and we'll send you a snazzy phone wallet to stick on the back of your phone (see image above for what it looks like). Also, Anna might call you to say thanks. Seriously! So please, sign up to become a sustaining member today. We really appreciate it. 
Your Stories: Not Having Children
After our recent episode about pregnancy loss, we heard from several of you who are grappling with not having kids—whether by choice or by circumstance. Here's some of what we heard: 
"I am not having any children of my own for several reasons including climate change, genetics, and family. However, that decision doesn’t kill the biological clock or my love of babies and children. I find myself alternately drawn to kids and avoiding babies and pregnant women. There’s a sense of mourning that I can’t seem to express to friends and family."
—Emily, 39, CT
"You cover many angles related to motherhood.  But I noticed one exception: those of us in our 40s and 50s who wanted children but did not have them (for various reasons: lack of opportunity, infertility, etc.). There’s a writer named Jody Day, based in the UK, who has written about this group of women and even started up support groups and an online community

There is a lot of pain and sadness (and sometimes shame) around this, and I have yet to see it explored in the media. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to talk to women who already feel as if they’re being overlooked."

—Lesley, 49, NY
"I've noticed, as more and more of my friends are having kids, that parenthood seems to entail a tabling of such enormous questions as how to plan for/think about climate change. On the one hand, I really get this. How can anyone be expected to effectively raise a child in the world where we are all consumed by the existential challenges of climate change? And at the same time, how can we possibly be raising children today without confronting the fact that the world of their future is going to be so much more unstable as a result of mass migration, food & water shortages, hotter temperatures, flooding cities and more extreme weather?

I'm not a doomsday prepper; this list is what the U.N. and other climate scientists are calling on the public to expect. And I say all of this as someone who, along with my partner, is considering having kids in the next year! It's impossible to reconcile it all and I think it might help for all of us to hear how other parents and prospective parents are dealing with this existential threat, if only for the reminder that no one is alone in their fears."

—Matt, 34, NY
"I am 36 and my husband is 40. Neither one of us has ever wanted kids, and we're both happy with that decision. However, as my parents age, I have started thinking about what *my* old age will look like. Seeing my parents refuse to acknowledge some of their new limitations as they age is tough, but I know that I'm here for them and able to make decisions with and for them. Is there a survival kit for growing old without younger family members around to help?"
—Emily, 36, GA

Listen to This: Audio We Love

The Homecomers is a new six-part podcast hosted by author (and former DSM guest host) Sarah Smarsh, which tells the stories and interrogates the myths of rural towns and working-class communities across the United States. Smarsh, a native of rural Kansas, talks to small-town community leaders about why they love their communities—spaces often understood as places to escape from, rather than places to advocate for. "I think there's a shift going on beneath the surface," says Smarsh. "It's a return to—or a refusal to leave—the least glamorous corners of this country."

And if you're looking to submerge yourself in the vast world of classical music but aren't sure where to begin, we've got just the thing for you. Our colleagues at WQXR just released the Open Ears Project—a new daily podcast of "sonic love letters" exploring the pieces of classical music that are the most personally meaningful to each of us. 

Next on Death, Sex & Money

Next week, I speak to E. Jean Carroll, the longtime advice columnist at Elle and author of the new book What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal. E. Jean made headlines this summer when an excerpt of her book was published in The Cut, in which she accused President Trump of assaulting her in the 1980s. I talk with her about navigating sexual power dynamics in the media scene of the 1980s and '90s, and why she says now that her approach was all wrong. 
Think I speak for us all when I say...
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