- Season 2, Episode 3: The Fertility Journey
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Sarah: [00:00:00] I think in some ways like this entire infertility journey for me with this was this acceptance that I had ultimately zero control over the outcome, even though everything was happening inside of me, you know?
Kate: Welcome to model minority moms, where we talk about the complicated meaning of success in career, family and life.
Kate: I’m Kate Wong,
Susan: Jeanette park, and Susan.
Kate: Harvard classmates and Asian-American working moms to Little’s who get real about the pressures of fitting in while standing out.
Susan: Welcome to a model minority moms podcast. In today’s episode, we’ll be talking about the
Susan: mysterious and magical. World of fertility. And today we are joined by a very special, special, super duper special guests, Sarah LaFleur. She is the founder and CEO of M.M. LaFleur, which she [00:01:00] founded in 2013 with a mission to help women take the work out of dressing for work.
Susan: She’s also my friend. I’m so glad you’re here today. Thank you.
Sarah: Thank you. What an, what an illustrious introduction. Thank you very much.
Kate: And Sarah, as it happens, I’m wearing an mm. LaFleur
Kate: and they’re like, you have animal flirt clothing. You have to wear something
Kate: recent. I can remember one of our friends. Who’s also a oh seven Harvard. She’s like your biggest fan.
Kate: Casey to Sarah. Right? Casey loves she’s like an evangelist.
Sarah: Oh my gosh. You guys. So really that’s so wonderful. Thank you. And then the three of, you know, like when did you connect and, and how?
Jeanette: all were friends, like maybe not super close while we were
Susan: he says friends. That means in section, I was very intimidated by all of them and felt like [00:02:00] dumb.
Susan: This is what she means by friends. They were smart. Very smart.
Susan: Sarah, to answer your
Susan: question I was living in Seattle, then Kate
Susan: moved here from Beijing.
Susan: Yeah. And then Jeanette moved here from Boston and we were like, we all knew we were all in town.
Susan: And then once the baby started popping up, we were like, please help me. I’m texting you in the middle of the night.
Susan: I hate my life. Or I’m so confused or do you have extra things?
Susan: And then we became really tight.
Sarah: That’s incredible. And so, and so how old are all your babies?
Jeanette: I have a three-year-old and
Jeanette: a 10 month old. Yup. Yup. Yeah.
Kate: Mine is is gosh, she’s 17 months. So just a month older than art,
Kate: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Susan: Art’s 15. Yay.
Sarah: And then [00:03:00] 10 months, no, 11 month old and a two who are almost 10 months.
Jeanette: Okay. Yeah. So your kids are right around. Yeah, my younger one.
Sarah: Yeah. Yes, yes, yes.
Susan: But you have three that are almost like, it’s like, it could be the same leap or not the same leap, but times three.
Sarah: Yeah, I know, but I, you know, it’s funny cause we, we were, we just had some friends over for the weekend and they have one and he’s 18 months.
Sarah: So probably, you know, around the two of your baby’s age. And I was like, wow.
Sarah: One is I think maybe just as hard as three, I really had that realization this weekend. Cause I, at one point I was texting my girlfriends. I was like, is it bad for me to like, be on my iPhone, texting you while my babies play?
Sarah: And they’re like, no, not at all. And I think I find it easy to have the three of them kind of [00:04:00] like be on their own and interact together and hang out together. Whereas when I was talking to my girlfriend who has that one baby, she was like, yeah, I feel guilty when I’m not entertaining him. And whereas like, I feel like I shed that guilt pretty quickly.
Sarah: Cause that’s like you have each other. So, I’m not going to say like three is a walk in the park, but I think a lot of the, the challenges that you have are different from, from when you only have one.
Jeanette: Yeah. And I think it, I mean they say it gets even more like that as they get older. That the benefit of them being able to play with each other as even more
Susan: okay. Well, let’s, let’s just get to it. You Sarah, just add three kids the same as one, which that doesn’t seem right. But you also have three kids triplets in the span of six weeks, [00:05:00] right? Seven weeks you have three kids. Yep.
Sarah: That’s right.
Susan: And this all started because you have a unicorn. Uterus
Sarah: that’s right. I have a unicorn uterus or correct. I think the medical term is unicorn you at uterus, but say what? So if they get to saying unicorn uterus, right.
Susan: But unlike in tech where you want to be unicorn in this situation with your fertility journey, you did not want to be like, tell us all about your unicorn uterus.
Sarah: I didn’t know. I had one, I guess is, where I should start. I think like most people you don’t really, you know, know the shape of most of your internal organs growing up. And the reason I stumble upon it is because I like many over preparers decided to prepare for my fertility journey before we even like, started trying to have.
Sarah: Babies. So I [00:06:00] went to see my friend’s fertility specialist cause she, she had suffered from DCOS polycystic ovarian syndrome, which makes it often, I think, complicated for a lot of people to get pregnant. So on her recommendation, I went to see this fertility specialist and he just kind of laughed in my face, you know?
Sarah: And he was like, you and your husband haven’t even started drying and why are you here? Like, you know, go home and go have sex basically. But he said, if you really want to know where the baseline is. We can run some blood tests, do some preliminary things. And it’s so funny because now talking to some other fertility specialists, they said they would’ve never, probably made me do this it’s called a HSG which is where they pump air and then die into your vulva and then try to see the shape of your uterus.
Sarah: That’s really only something. [00:07:00] I think doctors generally recommend if you have trouble getting pregnant, but we just kind of went straight there along with a bunch of other blood tests and everything basically came back normal, except for that. Which is where they discovered that I only had one fallopian tube.
Sarah: And you know, I think people have seen generally pictures of uteruses, but like mine just looks kind of like a banana. Versus, yeah, exactly. As opposed to two bananas. Or so that was like really the start of the journey. And, you know, I think it was, it was scary because I think if you, if you just Google unicorn at uterus, probably the top five things to come back are.
Sarah: You know, chances of miscarriage or fertility success with unicorn yet yours is eight. Oh, it’s it’s, it looks pretty bleak. When, if you just do a plain Google search, I think the truth is like, there’s just isn’t enough [00:08:00] knowledge out there. It’s a pretty rare thing. Like I think they say 0.2% of women have it, but the truth is, I think most women don’t actually know the shape of their uterus unless they go through some process by which they have to figure out the shape of their uterus.
Sarah: And. Anyway. So I just found myself in this like pretty rare spot where, you know, most doctors don’t really have a lot of experience dealing with unicorn at uteruses. So even I think when I was even trying to gather, you know, information about it, that that was really hard. And, and the truth is like, then I did continue to have facility challenges which ultimately may or may not be related to having a unicorn uterus.
Sarah: Like I still don’t know, and I probably will never know. But yeah, I think, you know, to make a very, very long story short, we ended up going down the path of surrogacy after having well, I guess ultimately two failed rounds of IVF. [00:09:00] I did three rounds of egg retrievals, and then two rounds of IVF.
Sarah: Didn’t work. And we did, you know, a lot of, kind of different treatments in between including one where they, they suspected I had endometriosis. And so they shut down my reproductive system. It was like going through menopause and that also didn’t help with a problem. So anyway, we went down the path of, of surrogacy and we met someone through an agency who this incredible woman who ended up, you know, agreeing to be our gestational carrier and gestational carrier for those of us like who haven’t heard the term before, I certainly had, it just means like, you know, the embryo itself is you know, mine and my husband’s.
Sarah: You know, she is essentially, we take the embryo and we implant it in her uterus and she, you know, throws the baby inside of her. And anyway, her name is Tricia she’s the most incredible person. I think that I’ve, [00:10:00] I’ve met, she and I have become very close. She’s a medical technician living out in Minnesota and she has twin girls of her own.
Sarah: She she’s in her late twenties. And I think she, you know, she, she saw this very much as the gift that she could give back to the world and she found, you know, pregnancy to be easy. And actually, you know, the funny thing is when we tried first with her that failed. And so that was, you know, I think in some ways I somehow expected it.
Sarah: You know, when you go down, I think a long path of infertility, you, you start to really temper your expectations to the point where, you know, of course, like when it doesn’t work out, it’s disappointing, but it’s not kind of soul crushing in the way. Maybe the first couple of times are but she was totally distraught, you know, she was so, so sad that it didn’t work out.
Sarah: And I think I, I wrote about [00:11:00] this a bit in this Marie Claire article that I I wrote, but I think, you know, it, it really just makes you realize surrogacy is this incredible gift partly because of the physical journey, like your surrogate agrees to take on for you. But I think also very much the emotional journey, because all like they really want to do is, is give you a hand and help you out.
Sarah: And anyway, so we, we went on this really?
Susan: Wait, wait, wait, wait, I want, I want to reference this amazing Marie Claire article, where you tell everything about journey, but, but you had this amazing, like she had her stomach opened for us because she had to get a C-section. Like what she was willing to do for you.
Susan: cool. Who else would you cut your stomach open for? Like, if your uncle wants to
Susan: keto or like, how about your
Susan: neighbor, like your, your mentor, like you, her stomach was cut open.
Sarah: It’s a [00:12:00] huge deal. And I got a C-section I, you know, I, again, it’s like unnecessarily complicated and long story, but I went in for an induction and then ultimately had an emergency C-section and I, my scar is still thick and still healing, and I still see a physical therapist for it.
Sarah: And, and I think about Tricia every single time. Cause I’m like, I, I like, it’s one thing for me to have a C-section to deliver my own baby. It’s another thing to ask someone to have a C-section scar to deliver your babies. And even that was very touch and go because she had delivered and her twins vaginally.
Sarah: And so that was very much her wish with my, with my, our twins too. But you know Thea was twin a was, was a feet down. So, you know, that’s just not a risk they were [00:13:00] willing to take. And yeah, I think about it every day. I it’s you know, I was just, I was just talking about it with my girlfriends, cause they’re like, oh, well, nobody can see this, you know, your C-section scar.
Sarah: It’s not a big deal, you know, like in it’s true. It’s like technically under your bikini line, but like. It’s there, you know, it’s very much there. And I think even the recovery from a C-section it was no joke. Like I just, I couldn’t walk for a good week afterwards. And so the fact that she took this on, I mean, there’s like no amount of thinking that can really express, you know, what it is that she means to me and my family.
Sarah: yeah. Sorry. I have so many
Susan: questions, but I know I’ve been asking all the questions. Let’s just talk about the scars, not scars. You’re you’re talking about your scar.
Susan: I, I, I, this was admiring my stretch marks [00:14:00] and I’ve been really trying to be like, instead of like you, or it’s more. These are the tracks of my son. These are war, war, battle wounds. And I am a warrior like seriously, I’ve been reading every article I can to like, change my psychology around it. And I get that and I love my son and he’s so great. I would never not want him here, but I can’t, I’m not, it’s very hard for me to love the stretch marks right now.
Susan: It’s very hard.
Sarah: I really feel you and I, I I, I am, I really like what you said about how do you change your psychology around it? Because I think so much of the messaging that we’ve found in, first of all, we just don’t tend to see women with stretch marks period. Right. Because those women often yeah.
Sarah: You know, they’re not posing nude, they’re not your Victoria’s secret runway [00:15:00] models. And I think even if you went to the pool, you know, I would feel comfortable wearing a one-piece now I’m not ready to like, bring out my bikini yet. And I don’t know if I ever will be. And I just wonder, like, why there’s you’re right.
Sarah: It’s like a, it’s completely psychological. Why is there so much shame around it? And like, what is it that you could do? I think, you know, to like change, change your wiring, change my wiring so that I don’t continue to think of it as like something that really needs to be hidden, which is, which is really the way I’m operating right now.
Susan: I wonder,
Susan: I wonder if it would be like another wave of feminism, if like women. Wore bikini’s even if they weren’t thin and if they have stretch marks or scars or whatever, and just openly show scars don’t try to get things removed, whatever it is just like, it was all natural. Right? Pretend like could we ever get to a place where we’re showing imperfection [00:16:00] by choice?
Kate: There is a movement now. Well, maybe only on Instagram since there are, you know, there are a lot of mom accounts, probably still in the minority compared to just general Instagram accounts of people trying to look perfect. Right. But, you know, showing their C-section scars, their
Kate: You know, the sagginess the, the, sometimes the Linea nigra, which I don’t know if any of you had it when you’re pregnant, it’s still it’s, you know, coloration.
Susan: Is that, is that
Jeanette: like a, is that, that line from like the middle of your chest, between like your booth, basically all the way down to your belly button? Yeah.
Kate: Yeah. It’s hormonal. It’s totally hormonal and a lot of women have it. And some people have it, like, you know, it’s very, very dark and it stays around for a long time.
Kate: So there is I think micro movement on Instagram, we’ll see how far it goes, but I think what you guys are also the two you’re talking about is in terms of how we, women take things that are, you know, on our bodies. So [00:17:00] personally, you know, fertility as well. Right. So when you were talking about your fertility tests, and so I’m actually getting an HSG next month because I’ve also have PCOS and I have some fertility issues we’ve, which we’ve talked about in other episodes.
Kate: And, you know, I was really thinking about how. And I don’t know how you felt when you were going through this. There’s so much blame, you know, for women who are going through fertility on themselves, like there’s something wrong with their bodies, right. And nothing, you, it’s very hard for somebody else to say something like your spouse or your friends.
Kate: It doesn’t take any of that away because I know you feel like in this very fundamental way, your body has failed you. Right. And I already have a daughter. Right. We were able to with, you know, some medication get pregnant last time, but it’s just sort of like this hard thing, because it’s, it’s nothing that you can do.
Kate: Doesn’t matter how hardworking you are, how smart you are, has nothing to do with that. And then it’s like many things are totally beyond your control. Right. And so I’d love to hear kind of how you handle that from an from an emotional perspective, thinking about your body, whether you ever felt like, [00:18:00] you know, it betrayed you and yeah.
Kate: We’d love to hear about that.
Sarah: I think with many things in life, I felt that I, I had to work for things. You think about most sports I played, I like, I was never naturally good at a sport, or I think a lot about my little sister who is like just a naturally talented singer. And I was like, okay, if Iwanted to be in the choir, I had to practice a lot.
Sarah: And this felt like one of those things where like, okay, if I want it to be pregnant, I have to, I’m going to have to work at this a lot. And so it just became another job in some ways and I think that’s how I often tried to compartmentalize. And because I like the unicorn uterus, because there was so much mystery surrounding it.
Sarah: I think there was a lot of fear. And I do remember in the first few months after being diagnosed, I would just like wake up in the middle of the night and burst into tears and start crying. But my coping mechanism with that was like, all right, well, I’m going to go see the best fertility [00:19:00] specialists. I’m going to go do the acupuncture.
Sarah: I’m going to do all the research and really read up on this. And basically just like conquer, conquer in fertility. And I think what I, you know, learned over this long time, and then I think this is actually a lot of the advice that I give to a lot of my girlfriends right now who have gone through miscarriages or infertility is like, it is literally something where you have no control.
Sarah: And I think even a lot of these books that have been written on, well, you know, have you started adopting a gluten-free diet or have you cut alcohol entirely out of your system? Like the irony is that my most successful egg retrieval happened when I was still drinking and, and the other two where I stopped drinking completely were less successful.
Sarah: And And I think you’re absolutely right Kate. You take it so personally when [00:20:00] something goes right, or something goes wrong. And I think in some ways like this entire infertility journey for me with this was this acceptance that I had ultimately zero control over the outcome, even though everything was happening inside of me, you know?
Sarah: And that is, that is such a strange feeling.
Jeanette: So one thing that I’ve been thinking about with infertility is this kind of mind body thing, right? When I was trying to get pregnant the first time, it’s like, okay, I’m tracking my period, liking on the sticks.
Jeanette: You know, you have scheduled sex. I’m meeting my husband at a random hotel and like New Jersey somewhere so that we could like, I, and then it wasn’t like, our story is like we tried for a year and then I made an appointment with the fertility specialist and then we’d go to the appointment and then she’s like, well, let’s just take a look.
Jeanette: And she’s like, wow, you’re actually six weeks pregnant. Right. But like I had tried, I tried for a year and it wasn’t [00:21:00] happening. And then mentally when I was like, okay, , I’m going to need help. And I just kind of stopped paying attention. That’s when it happened.
Jeanette: I feel like I hear a lot of these anecdotal stories. Like I adopted a child and then I got pregnant or , you know, or whatever. Right. And so I don’t know if there’s any kind of statistical validity to those observations. I do feel like there’s this kind of mind body thing, right? Like that, that is different from the way we might approach other challenges from the past. Right. So I’m curious to hear, like, if you, if that was something you
Jeanette: thought about in your whole journey.
Sarah: No, interestingly, so
Sarah: I have heard it, that story a lot too. Every time we tell our story about like, okay, we went, you know, actually, you know, our surrogate got pregnant.
Sarah: I also got pregnant and like here we have three and people say, well, I, you know, we hear that story all the time. I have a friend who ex and I think the only reason why I don’t feel that way personally in my case is because actually my, the baby I gave birth to, I [00:22:00] also conceived through IVF. So it wasn’t one of those things where we stopped thinking about it.
Sarah: Our surrogate got pregnant and then I got pregnant. It was actually another friend of mine from, from Harvard. She was a few years older than me and I knew her. I would say decently well in college, but we hadn’t really kept in touch, but I met someone who I knew was a mutual friend at a holiday party.
Sarah: And she said, you know, have you talked to this woman? You know, she also went through infertility. And at that point I think I was like, I’ve already talked to like 50 women. Who’ve gone through infertility so I’m not sure what, like the 51st person is going to do for me, but I did. And I reached out to her and she told me about like a particular protocol that she had done, because a lot of the patterns that she was seeing, which was the pattern I was seeing, which is like I would get pregnant and that I would almost immediately miscarry.
Sarah: And And she said that was the exact same thing that was happening to me. And I, I did Lovenox and Lovenox was, you know ultimately what worked for [00:23:00] me and, you know, same, same thing happened the second time I tried. And so I basically like took that kernel of information, brought that back to my doctor and said, you know, what do you think of this?
Sarah: And she was like, the science is really unproven here, but like, sure, if you wanted it, you know, try it can’t hurt. And then ultimately that’s, you know, that’s what led and, and I will caveat all of this by saying like, I actually still don’t know if it’s the low NOx. I still don’t know. Right. Exactly. I was like, maybe, maybe you know, maybe the fact that we were moving on to even a gestational carrier psychologically like lessened the burden.
Sarah: I still don’t know. And I think that’s kind of what you know, I, I still take away, which is like, You, you really, you kind of you have to surrender yourself almost to the process. And one of the, the best, I think books, which I, gosh, I just, I actually think about whether I could get [00:24:00] someone to translate it, but when I was back in Japan which is where my parents live while I was going through this, I went to a bookstore and there was a, a comic book that was written by a Japanese you know, she’s she’s a comic, a cartoon artist, and she wrote a comic book about her journey going through infertility for I think, seven plus years.
Sarah: And ultimately she and her husband, I think they went through like nine cycles of IVF. They ultimately couldn’t conceive. And it’s her story about coming to terms with not having a baby in her life and. It was actually one of the most cathartic things that I had read during that time, because I think so much of the narrative around fertility is like, don’t worry, keep trying, keep going.
Sarah: And you’ll end up with a baby. I am like, so ecstatic, I can’t even tell you, but , I also don’t want to send the wrong message out there that like, because I tried or because I worked so hard or because I talk to someone it resulted in three [00:25:00] babies, like I think I got incredibly lucky and also I had the money to pay for amazing care.
Sarah: But I think the truth is like a lot of people who go through infertility ultimately like don’t end up with a baby and, you know, try to find meaning and happiness in not having children. And I think that conversation also doesn’t get. That doesn’t happen enough. And I think my husband and I actually, we did get to that place, I think at a certain point, because the truth is we were very happy with our life pre-kids, you know, I think, and I think that’s also like some of the tension and growing through infertility, for those of us who like don’t necessarily see ourselves becoming mom has number one goal in life is like yeah, I’m like pretty happy with my life right now.
Sarah: Do I keep wanting to keep putting myself through like the financial, emotional, and mental challenge of, of, you know, trying to have a baby? So that was just, that was so I just said so much.[00:26:00]
Susan: Oh my God, rasberry, am I right? I mean, you, you, you touched on so much, which is about having attachments and letting them go, you know, I’ve been a high achiever all my life. If I’ve just keep on trying, it will happen. You know, like all of this stuff that is like the weight that you feel before you change your first diaper and there’s other work that happens.
Susan: But then also what you’re talking about is the fact that you had to advocate for yourself and your body. Like you had to go find this information. You got to talk to the, the sisterhood of other people. Who’ve come through struggles and like get any tips out there and probably Google till midnight and all that of just like, how do I make this happen?
Susan: But you had to advocate for yourself.
Sarah: Yeah, I think, and that’s a lot of like, it’s so funny. Cause I think there’s there’s movement. Do you guys listen to women’s hour, it’s a BBC radio show. It’s [00:27:00] like, it’s amazing. I highly recommend it. But what are the conversations they’re having right now? Or one of the podcasts that I just listened to was about endometriosis and or a lot of undiagnosed women’s illnesses and basically the minister of health is saying like women, like, you know, don’t take no for an answer.
Sarah: You have to advocate for yourself when you’re with your doctor. And the anchor of women’s hour said you know, Like I consider myself a highly educated person. I am also powerful, like, you know, I’m the host of this BBC show, but when I was suffering through endometriosis and she actually just had her uterus removed I certainly did not feel like I could push back against a doctor and I could advocate for myself.
Sarah: And you know, aren’t, we are you kind of like joking, you know, putting that onus on the patient. And yet I think that is so much of how women’s health is treated today. [00:28:00] Especially in fertility. It’s like, it’s all on I shouldn’tsay it’s all on, but so much is on the patient to like continue to advocate, to continue to research, to continue to like find the best doctors out there.
Sarah: And I think, you know, I don’t know if Susan we’ve talked about this before, but I was just thinking like, in my four years of college, like I did not like have one conversation. You know, fertility is a challenge for some women and like, you may want to think about XYZ, you know, whether
Susan: no, I was just
Susan: thinking like, okay, how do I get plan B?
Susan: You know,
Susan: God, I got, yeah,
Sarah: no. And I think like women’s health education is just, is I think the public health system is not there to support women. And I don’t think we do enough to like educate women beyond using condoms. And if you have sex, you might get pregnant.
Kate: [00:29:00] Yeah. I agree with that. I was just talking to a friend.
Kate: Cousin in college, got diagnosed with PCOS. Same as me. And of course, just like with me, her doctor at the, you know I was told her to go on birth control and, you know, I, when I was in high school, I didn’t, I wasn’t diagnosed with PCs, but I was, I had amenorrhea, which has been your periods stop.
Kate: And my pediatrician just gave you birth control and knowing nothing really about my body, except through sex ed, which is don’t have sex, you’ll get pregnant in your life is over. I just was like happily blissfully unaware taking, you know birth control since I was 17. And I never knew what was really going on with my body.
Kate: So when finally my
Kate: husband and I we needed to start trying because of another health issue I have I was, it took me a few months and a lot of pushing, advocating for myself. And then I was finally diagnosed with PCOS right. And it just really like pissed me off to hear from my friends. That her cousin was also just being given a bandaid, like, okay, go take birth control.
Kate: It’ll fix all your problems. And it’s just, for me, it doesn’t matter if the doctor is male or [00:30:00] female, it’s just represents a system in which, for the woman, like, if you have this issue, let’s not learn more about your body. Let’s just fix it temporarily. And then when you need to have kids down the road, then you can deal with it and, you know, go deal with it yourself.
Kate: Right. And I don’t know, I just got this. I got so mad hearing that
Sarah: I understand. And like, Kate, can you share a little bit more about your story and where you are in the process?
Kate: So, you know, a few years ago I had to have my a giant chunk of my cervix removed because I had cervical recalled cervical cancer stage zero.
Kate: Basically, it was like a lesion. And so then they were like, the doctor is a very aggressive in the U S about cervical cancer. That like, once you finished having kids, we need to give you a partial hysterectomy to remove your uterus and your cervix. So if you want to have kids try to have them soon.
Kate: Right. So then we started and I knew maybe things were going to be off because my periods were very, very long. They’re like 39 days, which if it’s above 35 days, that’s not very normal. And, you know, I was very aggressive. Just like you at the outset, I was like, okay, husband, go get your sperm tested ASAP twice.
Kate: And then, you know, with my OB, I was like, test me, test me. She was [00:31:00] a collaborative. Right. And then, and then
Kate: I had friends who referred me. They were
Kate: like, look, you know, even though you’re early, just go talk to a fertility specialist. So I actually went to I had a consult with CCRM, but in Colorado, I know that was your, that was your clinic in New York.
Kate: It was amazing. I mean, my doctor, Dr. Gustafson, within 15 minutes looking at my medical history was like, you have lean PCOS which is a form of PCOS common to women who are normal or low body weight. And it’s often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed until you try to conceive. And so with that, he gave me a regimen.
Kate: Like you have to take ovulation induction medication, this specific one, try for this number of cycles. You can’t do IUI because, you know, having multiples would be a strain on your cervix, then go to IVF. If three or four cycles don’t work of the meds. So we were very lucky to conceive my daughter on the first round of meds.
Kate: And I think, you know, we need to try again because now I have kidney issues because I had preeclampsia during labor. Right. And so the nephrologist is like, you need to take meds for the rest of your life, but we can’t put you on meds if you want to have kids. So hurry up and have kids and be done. So then we can put you on meds.[00:32:00]
Kate: Oh. And also, by the way, We need to also remove your like cervix and uterus eventually. So, but this time, I think it’s not like, I don’t think I have secondary infertility per se, but the meds aren’t working right. The same way. And then also I may have a hydrosalpinx, which is when your fallopian tube is blocked by liquid or something.
Kate: That’s why I have to have the HSG next month. And so it’s just like, it’s not as like I think it’s not one big serious diagnosis, but it’s just sort of like a lot of little ones. And even for someone again, who has a daughter who like, I’m very, very lucky, we’re very lucky to have a daughter it’s still like stings, right?
Kate: The notion that, oh my gosh, like yet again, you know, there’s something in my body that I can’t control. And as Susan and Jeanette now I’m kind of a control freak. And I know, I know, but like, you know, it’s, it’s tough. It just, there’s a lot of there’s you can’t control certain things. And I like user, I think I tend to respond to like the stress of, okay, here’s a plan.
Kate: This is the doctor. I’m going to see next step, next step. But it’s like a coping mechanism, right? People think that I have all my [00:33:00] shit together. I’m sure a lot of my friends do, but you know, a couple of weeks ago I had a total meltdown in front of Jeanette and Susan. We had to like reschedule a recording because I was just, it was like one of those days where I spent, I’m sure you notice there are five hours on the phone with like three different clinics trying to sort out all their administrative kinks, you know?
Kate: And that’s like, that’s the grind. And, but I think. Perfectly like if you, you just have to kind of see it. It’s almost weird to say don’t take it too personally, but like, I think just kind of putting it aside, compartmentalizing thing, this is a job four hours of being on the phone with an incompetent secretary is a job.
Kate: And then I dunno it did.
Kate: I, I think that would probably help if I, yeah, that’s actually a really good piece of advice.
Sarah: Well, you know, and I, I caveat this with like, I basically, I took it on as like my second job, in addition to my main job. And that was my way of, I think not thinking about it until of course I eventually you hit a wall because it’s unsustainable, but I [00:34:00] think there’s an element maybe, and you are all moms.
Sarah: And so you might relate to this too. Like one being almost like, I don’t even want to say despite from another, because there’s nothing about going through infertility. That’s a respite, but like, I think, you know, you can channel your energy at least a little bit when, when you when, when you, you see it as a challenge that needs to be solved.
Sarah: I think one of the things that I’m glad I cut off early was the message boards. Which I, I don’t know, Kate, if you, if you are looking at the message boards, but
Kate: I have not, I haven’t touched them because just like you, I feel like it would be.
Susan: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
Kate: Do people who don’t do this? What is, what, what message board?
Sarah: God, there’s just like so many. Wait, I feel like maybe Janette, were you gonna say something?
Jeanette: You mean like Facebook groups and stuff like that?
Sarah: Facebook groups, Reddit threads you know, all the [00:35:00] language I am TTC, which is like trying to conceive, they have their, their whole language around it.
Sarah: And like, I think I took a look at a few initially when I got diagnosed with the uniform uterus and ultimately I was just like, wow, this is like way too crazy. And you could, you, you see for a lot of women, it not only becomes their part-time job. It’s the full-time job. And the only thing they are doing day and night at night I just like, actually I’m saying this now, and I’m wondering like, why it’s not a more talked about thing.
Sarah: But it, it, it becomes. All consuming project for, I think a lot of women going through infertility. And I mean, because there’s so much unknown out there and and there are so many, actually, it’s interesting also in the sense that like, there are some doctors really like pushing the boundaries. And I talk about this in my article a little bit, but , they suspect a lot of auto-immune disorders might be related to infertility basically if they can’t like solve for the egg they can’t solve for the sperm, both seem good.
Sarah: [00:36:00] So the embryo seems good. There are no genetic abnormality. And then often they say, okay, well then the problem might be in the uterus. Oh, maybe, but then the uterus is not the problem. Okay. Then maybe there’s something about essentially the atmosphere of the uterus. Someone once described it to me as like, there’s the seed, there’s the soil.
Sarah: And then there’s, you know, the weather, the weather patterns surrounding it. And like, if your problem is the weather patterns, like that’s, there’s like, that is truly, I think the wild, wild west of infertility where there’s so much unknown. And so one of the treatments that I was recommended is called IVI G or it’s basically like a a blood transfusion.
Sarah: And then I, well, I’m sorry I’m like forgetting the exact terms for it, but they’re so, so my, I guess this is my long way of saying, like, there’s, there’s a whole deeper science to this and there’s some doctors, I think they’re really, like, I know of three doctors in New York who specialize in this like who are fertility [00:37:00] specialists who specialize in it, but a lot of I think like the more traditional mainstream fertility doctors would say, like Matt, like ma there’s probably some truth to it, but like it’s still stuck.
Sarah: Hocus Pocus really? Cause some of, so much of it is unproven. But you can see how it’s easy to go down this rabbit hole of like, just trying to learn more about the signs and really address your challenges if you can. And I think that is like my very long way of saying like, how do you make sure that you like dedicate enough of yourself to it, but not so much that it ends up controlling your entire life and, and brain.
Sarah: And I think that’s very much the point I found myself in before I was like, oh my gosh, I like, I’m going to go crazy. I just need to call it quits for a little bit. And I took a year off, so
Susan: wait. Okay. I got, I got two things I have to say. I think I have to say the first one is you talked about wild west and the number of times your articles use like certain medicines or methods were going to be wild west. [00:38:00] And I was just. How much money has been invested in like the space race and like going in this space, like how many bajillion trillion dollars has put into there versus the investment of the research of maternal health and, and securing. I mean, also like we talked about all the time, it takes, we’re not in the fact that surrogacy isn’t really covered insurance.
Susan: Right? And it’s like, if you don’t even have the money to do that, or if you’re not, middle-class upper-class to be able to do all these things, you don’t even have a path for fertility. And so like how much, how much money are we spending on this space, race versus maternal health? You know, like why, why is it that women who have to have periods every day, every month of their lives from when they’re an adolescent for here, can you count how many pads and tampons you might have needed to use to get to a point where you can
Susan: actually have a kid and like continue the burden and the labor of all this?
Susan: Like, I’m still confused. [00:39:00] Why. Have less power than men. I’m genuinely confused. Like we put on so much more work and we do so much like how, how and why she that’s what I had to say.
Sarah: Okay. No, I totally
Sarah: agree. I’m sorry. I just have to Google this cause I saw this article. So I think endometriosis, well, I, I, I don’t think I suffer from it.
Sarah: I might, I may not. I still don’t know. But do you, do you all know someone who suffers from it? No. It’s like basically like. From what I understand, excruciating pain during your period, and oftentimes leading up to it. And after it, and a lot of women, I think Lena Dunham has been a really outspoken advocate for it.
Sarah: She got a hysterectomy, you know, I think at the age of 30, 31, whatever, however old she was because it was just too painful. Her periods were too painful. And I remember my, my Dr. Choy, my amazing [00:40:00] doctor told me she was like, you know, there’s so little funding that goes towards endometriosis, which impacts.
Sarah: I think they think like 10% of women, it’s a, it’s a pretty significant number of women. And I just saw that the NIH allocated 26 million in 2021. And this research, it is such a small amount of money going into 26 million. I mean, 26 million is a lot of money, but like, if you think about research in a hiring and lab work, Nothing.
Sarah: And it’s just crazy that I think that, that, you know, that like goes back to our whole conversation about our public health systems, really like not serving women’s health needs.
Kate: and you know, the, in the private sector, there is money going in, but not towards research. Right. It’s towards companies like have you guys heard of modern fertility?
Kate: Yeah. So it’s a, it’s a company that sends you a kit for like a, an amount, much smaller than what you might pay at a [00:41:00] fertility clinic. You can get your various fertility related hormones tested. And so, you know, I do support that. I think it’s an interesting idea, but it’s sort of, I mean, it’s not exactly the same space as the NIH funding research.
Kate: It’s sort of like, you know, many millions of dollars are going towards supporting companies and the private sector that it sort of touched upon some form of women’s health, but that’s not necessarily going to go towards addressing why. Certain conditions are happening and to push forward women’s health research and you know, like fertility treatments.
Kate: And I think that’s why CCRM is actually really interesting because they’re very much a pioneer, right? I mean, you know, Sarah, I was reading about Dr. Schoolcraft is a founder, actually have a consult with him next month. I mean they try stuff that is like, if you’re talking about unproven, I mean, my friend a few years ago actually my friend’s sister-in-law she’s Brazilian and she flew all the way over to the U S to get treatment there.
Kate: She was on her treatment of acai and you’re like, this is hilarious. I’m Brazilian. We have acai all over Brazil and now, and it was [00:42:00] a very improvement. She’s like, they didn’t know if it would work, but their philosophy is like, if it doesn’t hurt you, if you know what, that it doesn’t hurt you, even if it’s a really small chance of helping you take it.
Kate: Right. But, you know, you can imagine there’d be, if there were more money, it would just be so much more money, like re sorry, more research done on some of these interesting protocols anyway.
Jeanette: Yeah. Well, it’s like the other thing too, is like, besides money is. Women in positions to bring up these issues in the first place. Cause I think related to endometriosis, I was reading this article about a professor at MIT who suffers from the condition and you know, how it really shaped her life. And she had to have like multiple surgeries to try to address it. I think she eventually had a hysterectomy and then she, now runs a lab, that’s studying this exclusively. But like, I mean, she was talking to OB GYNs, many of them, male, who didn’t even know what a menstrual cup was.
Jeanette: I think you can say all these statistics, like 10% of what, like some massive [00:43:00] population suffers from this condition. But I think there’s like, as part of it, that’s very human, .
Jeanette: If it’s not personal to you or someone very close to you, it just becomes , not really a priority.
Jeanette: Right. And so I mean it’s sad, but I think it’s true. So I think, which is why I. I
Jeanette: feel like it’s very important for like, for women to be at the table.
Sarah: I really agree. It’s I, I read that article too, and it was in the New York times and I thought it was so powerful.
Sarah: And I think, you know, this not to bring it back full circle, but this idea of like endometriosis, like I think there was a lot of shame around it and I, I th I even remember as a girl, like in her early teens, if like we had swim class that day, and if someone wasn’t getting into the pool, the girls would be like, oh my gosh, she has her period today.
Sarah: Right? Like it was and so you can imagine, like the, kind of the shame that [00:44:00] might, may have been associated with endometriosis. And I think for someone who is in a position of power, like her, this professor to come forth and talk about it. And, and I think for everyone to see, wow, like, Even she has endometriosis, like to, I think, you know, Jeanette exactly your point to like humanize it.
Sarah: I think that is, to me, that was, I think actually, so moving just that she has made the, the personal so public. And, and I think she, like, she’s an amazing advocate for that. And I, I think you’re totally right. I think it’s like, it’s not just a question of like the public health system.
Sarah: I think it’s like, okay, how do we get more female scientists who feel this pain so personally to want to talk about it and want to research it? Because I, I think it’s, it’s so true. I think so much of what we do in our lives ultimately comes from the personal and I definitely feel that with, with myself and my, in my own business and even talking about this, you [00:45:00] know?
Susan: Yeah. So if McKenzie, Scott or Melinda French gates of your listening can invest in these great area.
Susan: So I have a tangential question that I’m very curious about. What, how all of you response, what we’re talking about right now is there’s like a lack of investment in, you know, maternal health, very important topic.
Susan: We don’t know that much about our bodies. We should know more. Right. And we talked about how there’s less women in positions of power, you know, like for, you know, how many female CEOs are then the fortune 500, like not half. Okay. So we, we all know that life is not that equal for women as now that we’re a women are thirties, [00:46:00] forties. My question to you is when you were a young girl and there was all these, like women’s empowerment curriculum. And, and it was like, you, you can do it, go shoot for the moon. Like it’s like very positive. Would it have been more helpful to you as a young girl, if you actually knew quantitatively how unequal it was, would it have lit a fire in you to try or be and behave in a different way?
Susan: Or do you think it would have scared the bejesus out of you, of the world that you were entering? Like what would you have preferred?
Sarah: That is a good question. I know. I have to say I fall in the population of not knowing the stats at all. And I think I had kind of super, they were so feminist that they didn’t even like talk about it.
Sarah: Like, it was just kind of accepted that. Right. And maybe this is also just Asian, but you would work hard and that you would [00:47:00] be successful professionally. And I also went to an all girls school in high school, which I think personally probably helped a lot. I really thrived in that environment.
Susan: Was it religious
Susan: or was it religious?
Sarah: Catholic? It was also international. So we, I think we attended mass like twice a year, but I mean, we had Muslim girls, we had Jewish girls. We had girls who like, were of all different religions. And so it’s like Catholics the Catholic school. Yes, exactly. This Catholic school in quotes. And yeah, I, you know, I think, I think honestly part of me still feels that way.
Sarah: I’m, you know, and, and I think it’s only in, in retrospect, when I look back, do I cut myself some slack? When I. See that, like, maybe I wonder why I haven’t quite gotten to this place or I actually see it playing out in my life right now a lot. Like even though I think [00:48:00] professionally I’ve achieved some success.
Sarah: Like I, I see that my male peers are it’s interesting. My male peers are now in doing a lot of deals together. So they’re now investing together or they are being given some funding from a bigger hedge fund or a private equity firm or a venture capital firm to invest on their behalf. And often it’s, it’s a group of guys.
Sarah: And you know, I know. I know nothing about the ins of it, but I just, I heard about a particular hedge fund where basically the people who were part of that hedge fund, then go off to start their own hedge fund. And so long as you were part of that family, you will always receive funding from the original person and you got to like continue to fly on their private jet and whatnot.
Sarah: And I looked at that list of people and literally, I didn’t [00:49:00] see a single female name on it. And so, you know, I it’s, it’s kind of interesting, I think I, but I I’m, I almost like I can see it. Right. But it’s almost, I can see it, but I can’t touch it, but I know it’s there and I know it exists. And like, I, I feel like I’m, you know, I.
Sarah: I would like to also make investments. I have like things that I feel very passionately about. I obviously like love my job. And so I, I’m not I don’t want a career change at all, but I do see other startups, CEOs like operating at this, at this at this kind of like next tier of influence.
Susan: It’s sounds like you’re like describing an old boys club and it’s so ironic because we all went to Harvard. Like they all gave us a Harvard badge. It’s literally in our wallets and we show people and shouldn’t this open up doors for you, like, and where you’ve taken your company.
Susan: Like you don’t, how do you intercept the next layer of elistism?
Sarah: It, [00:50:00] it’s not it’s it’s way softer. And I think that’s why. I was a social studies major in college.
Sarah: it’s soft power. And so what that means is like there’s no application process, there’s no interview for entering into any of these places. It’s all through friendships. Even networking is like too formal. It’s these are, these are people who are friends together and move together. And it’s just interesting.
Sarah: Cause I, I see, even my husband, my husband was also oh six and like, I think his friends are talking about investing together and things I’m like, I, unfortunately those are not the conversations I have with my girlfriends. And I don’t even know if it’s because the financial resources are different. I think it’s more just like it could partially be area of interest.
Sarah: But I don’t know. I mean, I’m, maybe I can turn it back to you and say like, are you having [00:51:00] conversations with your girlfriends about. Opportunities that you’re seeing, you know, regardless of whether or not you can financially invest in it or not.
Kate: So I have a lot to say about this. Sarah I think you’re totally right.
Kate: My husband has a startup. I mean, he is a doctor, a neurologist originally, and you think he’s very well-educated right. Went to Northwestern, did his fellowship at UCSF but when he entered into the startup world, it was like none of his credentials, nothing mattered. And funny thing, when you were saying about how these things all come through friendships, I will be the first to say that some of his investors are because of me and my friendships, some of which were Harvard friendships, some of which were not, but they were a hundred percent not like my husband going out and being like, Hey, here’s my resume.
Kate: You want to invest in my startup? I mean, he did pitch a lot to, to VCs, but, you know, and he even made that observation. Now that he’s in it, it is an old, it is an old boy’s club. Right. And I’m going to say this, like the last round that he raised, it was over the friend cause my friend first and this friend led around, it’s called the front.
Kate: [00:52:00] Friends’ party round, I guess is the term. So basically our friend, my friend originally got a bunch of his friends, all guys together to write little like checks of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars each and put it in my husband’s company. And then my husband also invested in like a startup of one of our other friends.
Kate: So it’s like, I scratch your back. You scratch my back. If one of our startups failed, it’s fine. But if somebody says, you know, gets to be successful, we’ll all make money. Right. And I’m just like, even though he’s a part of it now, but there’s a part of me. That’s just like, it is so hard to get in there. And then once you get in there, it’s like,
Kate: everything is there.
Kate: Right. And you’re right. Like with my girlfriends, we don’t really, I mean, there are a couple of girlfriends who invest, but I think part of it is related to something. We talked about an earlier episode, which is like, I was thinking, how does my husband have time energy to start-up. He also like, you know, he does his own investments and stuff.
Kate: I’m like, it’s because he has so much extra mental time. And I been telling him, I’m like, honey, I wish I could have a hobby, like [00:53:00] research investments, but I’m so tired by the end of the day, in addition to, you know, doing some of my work, I’m only part-time now, but like work. And then there’s like, not even just the work of taking care of the kids, but because we have babysitters and but it’s just thinking through, right.
Kate: We were talking about this, the mental load, all of that. I really do think part of it, why women are our female peers aren’t necessarily spending their extra time talking about investments. It’s not just, we’re not capable of, we’re not interested. It’s like literally we have kind of limited bandwidth. I write that is a reason.
Kate: I really think so.
Sarah: Right. I, you, you said it perfectly. I think that’s so true. And, and I like, it goes back to like, how do you get your partner male or female to like, take on more of that load? It’s I think it’s so you said it so beautifully and that is why I think. That’s such a sad conclusion, but like the men keep getting wealthier.
Sarah: Right. They, I [00:54:00] mean, your husband and his friends are making these deals together and like sure. Many of them won’t work out. One of them may work out and that might be the next Instagram or what have you. Right. And and by the way, and here we are, like, when I’m texting my girlfriends, I’m like, Hey we’re going away for 4th of July.
Sarah: Like, do you have a Babybjorn bassinet that I can borrow from you? So I’m coordinating a pickup from the upper west side, the upper east side and try and get them back. Like a mental load is, is a real it’s not that my husband doesn’t do it. He’s actually, I would say like, all things considered, I would say like a 50, 50 partner and then some, but.
Sarah: It it’s just somehow like a lot of those smaller logistics, the way it shakes out tends to shake out that way. So I don’t know. I just, I am, I am seeing these opportunities. I just can’t quite touch them, but I, I see them happening among my guy, friends, both exactly my [00:55:00] age and older and younger. And I am just pissed that I can’t be a part of them yet.
Sarah: And I I’m. So, you know, I think I’m, I’m actively trying to see, like, what is it that I can do to like exercise my influence a little more . But it’s so funny, Kate, that you mentioned this, it’s almost like a hobby and you’re like, You know, how, how do you take on this extra hobby?
Sarah: Because it is, it doesn’t seem like a hobby. It seems like another job, but I think a lot of the guy friends that I know, like they, they, they do it over drinks. They like text their friends about it. It’s just like the conversations that they’re having
Jeanette: I just like to add in a third factor here. Right. Which Sarah, I think you’re getting into, which is, I don’t want to call it risk tolerance. Right. And I’m interested in hearing about this from you because you’re, you know, you’re doing a venture back startup and and I think there’s a lot of research that shows women take more prudent risk. Let’s just put it that way right. [00:56:00] Than men. But , I feel like in our world right now, like, especially in the startup, like investment world, it’s just kind of like, just keep the party going until everything crashes. Right. And then like going, everybody’s happy. Whoever riding high is the hero.
Jeanette: Right. But there’s a part of me that just feels like, well, I don’t really want to do that. , I don’t want to just be riding the frothy wave.
Sarah: I’ll put my money in an index fund because you know, Warren’s off. Right. Like if I die and I think, and if I had to instruct my wife how to manage your money, I would tell her a hundred percent to put it in an index spot.
Sarah: I think I was like, there’s. I, I completely agree with that. Like, there is, there is something to be said about like that being the prudent investment strategy. But I will say, like, it’s interesting. I only had one female angel investor in my first round, which is crazy, considering that I run a woman’s work [00:57:00] wear company.
Sarah: I thought most of my initial angel investors were going to be women. And, you know, I hate to generalize here, but I had a really hard time getting the women on board. Whereas like one of my angel investors truly he has mean, you know, he’s continued to be way more than an angel investor.
Sarah: He’s really my mentor. He coached me through my first round of negotiations with a family office. Or actually, I’m sorry, I should say with with a PE fund you know, short stories, it didn’t happen, but he wrote me a hundred K check and he said, Hey, would you be interested in raising more money?
Sarah: And I said, yes, of course. And he said, okay, I’ll, I’ll get back to you in 24 hours. And he had raised an additional 300,000 for me. So I raised 400,000 in 24 hours from Bob and his friends. It’s just exactly what we were talking about. And I do think when and Kate, you were just kind of alluding to this too, when you make enough investments, like one of them will be [00:58:00] successful, but in order to, I think, make those kinds of investments, you have to make multiple investments, not just one.
Sarah: And I think that’s where, like, there’s no intermediate step. Like if you only invest in three, you’re probably going to lose a ton of money. You have to like your, your hit rate’s going to be so low that you actually have to be able to allocate your cash into multiple places.
Sarah: And so it’s really hard to be like a small angel investor, I think in order to have good returns, you have to like actually have a good amount of cash to deploy. And I think that’s where a lot of, you know, I, I would say again, I don’t want to say women generally, but like people who are just like moderately wealthy, it’s a really bad idea to do venture capital investments because the risk is very high, but the returns can also be very high.
Sarah: And I think that’s another limiting factor for a lot of people. Like that’s, you know, that’s a reason why a lot of people can’t enter into that arena of investing, unless you become the bobs of the world where, you know, you’re willing to take a hundred shots because you’re comfortable with 99 of them losing.[00:59:00]
Sarah: So, wow. That’s so depressing. I’m sorry
Sarah: for this story. Such a depressing podcast recording.
Jeanette: And we’re all about like the real real here. Right?
Sarah: So good. Right. And I think that was a try to change that. Like, I mean, Susan, I hope I get to call you in 10 years of being like, Hey Susan, are you in for a hundred K like,
Susan: Well, let’s do more, more commas, more commas, more zeros
Susan: conversation with your little kid. You’re a little girl. What did you want? Did you want the hardcore truth of how oppressed women were, or actually just stay positive and, and, and wait as long as possible, realize how messed up. Where, where you
Susan: might be oppressed.
Sarah: I might go with the latter. I don’t know. I think it’s trying to work it out for me in the sense that I am like mildly disappointed after the fact.
Sarah: But I kind of grew up thinking like the sky’s [01:00:00] the limit and I don’t know, I guess this is like this kind of not to make this too philosophical, but do you teach kids how the system is inherently broken and how the odds are stacked against you?
Sarah: Or how your, the odds might be stacked against someone who is not white and male in order to make more room for them. And I, I don’t know. You’re right. Maybe the answer is yes. Maybe it maybe it’s, you know, it’s not a bad thing, but there’s more awareness around us.
Susan: I mean, we don’t even have to wait for our kids to go into a classroom like that household is the classroom.
Jeanette: Well, yeah. So my younger one is a girl. I think it also depends on their personality. Right. I think for me, knowing that that’s the case, it would have probably fired me up more and just been like, no, like that’s not fair, you know, like I’m going to go get it.
Jeanette: Would’ve probably pushed me to go against the grain more. So I think I have to see what my daughter’s personality is, but if I, if [01:01:00] I do share that information with her, right. I don’t think I would frame it as , here’s the reality and here’s what you should expect. It’s more
Jeanette: like seeing like how injustice is. You’re going to be part of the change. I don’t know. Maybe that’s too much of a burden to put on her, but I don’t think I would never want to tell her, like, this is the way the world is. And therefore, , you know, your place is here.
Jeanette: I would never, I can’t imagine any of us, like, wanting to send that message to, you know, any daughters we may have or have in the future. I think about it a lot now that I have a girl. How do I, how do I help her?
Kate: . I think a lot happens
Kate: in non explicit ways by which I mean, I also, you know, I also have a daughter and she’s very she’s very active. She’s very assertive, very not like, you know, girly in the way that her grandparents, you know, both my husband and we have first-generation immigrant parents who are like, girls should be like, this boys should be like that.
Kate: And my mom has said, she’s like, why are you, you know, don’t dress her, like in gender neutral clothing, make sure she knows she’s a [01:02:00] girl like, oh, she shouldn’t, she’s so active runs around like, just like a boy, you know, as if it’s very negative. Whereas my hubs and I are both like, well, that’s great. She is who she is, but you know, she’s, she.
Kate: She’s just such a strong personality. And I think in the way that we would want to be around her, we would never want her to feel like somehow, because she’s a girl she’s not girly enough or she needs to adhere to certain conventions. And I think in our family or between me and my husband, at least, I think that’s one way in which we’re really hoping to kind of teach her just through how we encourage her to be who she is, as opposed to, you know, adhere to some sort of artificial standard or expectations.
Kate: Like, you know, I think for me, right. I think my parents would, my, my dad would have said, oh, you know, like you’re an only child, obviously work hard, whatever. But then in some of the things that my parents had me do, I think it was very gendered, right. I mean, that’s a whole another generation, so it’s not like a blame them, but in their behaviors of how they raised me and what they did around the house and the different roles and what I saw, it was just [01:03:00] very obvious.
Kate: Right. And I think kids absorb.
Kate: And as much as if you just tell them, Hey, this is how things are, right? Like kids watch your behavior, they watch how you treat them. And they learn a lot that way about the dynamics of the world.
Susan: Look, I hear you. There’s no clear answer. It depends on the kid lab, lab, lab, but I hear you.
Susan: But at the same time, I feel like if someone told this to me, when I was like 11, 12, 13, I feel like I would’ve wasted so much less time being so boy crazy. I was so boy crazy, always have crushes, like folding up notes, you know, like whatever it was like an and if I only had the wherewithal to know that they’re going to kind of stuck until like, I know you and Chris met in college and though it’s beautiful.
Susan: And so did Jeanette first year, but like suck for a while. Like they just, everyone is, should just be really on their own self discovery journey period. Figure out all their issues, [01:04:00] late twenties, whatever, you know, like I would have gotten so many more petitions signed or something like that. All those extra hours
Susan: that some boys going to like save me, make me complete.
Susan: You know, if I knew that so much, it was so at stake, I just wanted to just let it go. That’s what I really let the boy crush go. Okay. Maybe that’s
Susan: too much,
Sarah: actually. This is interesting though, but, but like that’s, that’s I feel like that’s like something slightly, like,
Sarah: because what you’re saying is like your, your girl kind of, the odds are naturally stacked against you.
Sarah: What are you going to do about it? And I think Susan, you’re talking about something else. You’re saying like,
Susan: do we want to have the revolution? And what time are we going to schedule it? I’ll send you a calendar invite. That’s what I’m saying.
Sarah: I got it. I got it. Right.
Susan: This is, [01:05:00] this is what I heard.
Sarah: No, no, no. I
Sarah: get it. You’re saying get fired up. This is the challenge that lies ahead. And I think, I think actually, you know, this, this is actually similar to when Jeanette was saying like, are you going to be part of the change for you going to, do you want to like, fix the problem?
Susan: So we’re about running out of time and we have a couple more questions for you. And
Susan: the next one is, and I know you have three,
Susan: so maybe you’re like, whoa, but why have kids, is it worth it?
Susan: How many? I throw that in at the last point, but why have kids, like, why Sarah? Why did you want to have kids? And I mean, how many times were you disappointed? You were disappointed a lot of times. And he [01:06:00] kept coming right back to be like, actually I still want them. Y
Sarah: I guess I’ll maybe start with, like, I don’t think, I think I would have been.
Sarah: Just as happy without kids. I think I just need to say that because like you said
Sarah: it, you said it, I had
Sarah: a really great life. I will say
Sarah: kids give me so much joy. And I like, I, I love being a mom and it has been a really happy year for me, but I would like to think that if I didn’t have kids, I would have found joy and happiness in, in completely different things.
Sarah: And and it’s true. Like, you know, I think now, like I basically do two things. I work and I take care of my kids. And so the time that I spent , you know, reading or [01:07:00] writing like that doesn’t really happen anymore. And but I think what I. What I have enjoyed about being with my babies right now.
Sarah: It’s just kind of like getting down on all fours and kind of getting lost in time. Just like looking into each other’s eyes and laughing and giggling and doing silly, stupid things. And that’s a really, really wonderful way to spend your time. And so
Susan: I want to say like for anyone who doesn’t have kids, I, if when I had, did not have
Susan: kids and
Susan: I heard someone
Susan: talk like this, I was like, okay, you go, do you,
Susan: but now that I have kids, I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Susan: And it’s really fun. It’s because he
Susan: teach us to be in the present moment.
Sarah: Yeah. Totally fun. Totally fun. So I love it. What was the next question? [01:08:00]
Susan: Is it, so
Susan: is it worth it.
Sarah: Yes, totally, totally worth it. But I think I, again, I go back to, I couch this with like, I went through a lot of pain to have these three babies and like, I also think it’s okay for us to have a conversation about like, if you’re going through infertility, is it worth being miserable for like a decade of your thirties for the chance to, to maybe, or maybe not have a kid?
Sarah: You know, I think that’s a conversation that people are really scared to have, but it is worth thinking about thankfully, like my journey was only three years long, but like had gone on for much longer. I don’t know. I don’t know. At some point I think I would have said it’s just not worth it. So I say that it is, you know, it was totally worth it for me, but that I don’t, I’m not sure that’s like a universal answer.
Sarah: And then the [01:09:00] last one, which is how many, I mean, I would love a hundred more, but oh my God, it’s so fun. Yeah. I would totally love a hundred more, but like, I think really realistically, you know, we have one embryo left and I, I just, I don’t know. I, I don’t know. I, we also have Ruggles our 85 pound dog who I joke, but it was harder to raise Ruggles than it was to raise three babies or, I mean, I’m still raising them only 10 months old, but she pretty much done.
Sarah: It’s done. They take care of themselves now my, you know, or and like, I just need to make sure he gets a lot of love too. He’s a total handful, so. I dunno, that’s right now, it seems like a good setup for us. I think of it as having four children bear. Our first born Ruggles is like the, the neediest of the all
Sarah: so yeah.
Kate: Sounds like my family, our firstborns is also a dog and she’s in a diva, such a diva.
Sarah: And [01:10:00] she like a lot of dogs do not like it when they were the first baby. And then others entered the picture. So press, I know, I haven’t really worked through a lot of anxiety with my report and
Sarah: I don’t know. So how do you guys answer this? I’m so curious.
Jeanette: Well, we’re actually going to have a whole episode on this the season.
Sarah: Oh my God.
Jeanette: Because I just feel like it’s such a big question actually.
Jeanette: Susan asked me this I think before you got
Jeanette: pregnant or like when you were pregnant, No.
Jeanette: And I think for me, like the honest answer then was I kind of want like a little mini me of my husband and I like running around. That’s the completely honest answer. Right. And I think it’s so fun. But now I wonder if there’s just this kind of like a deep, like even, outside of our rational, like [01:11:00] logic need for us to , have babies, like our lizard brain.
Jeanette: Right. It’s just, we’re just wired to want it. I’ve been reading a lot about child psychology and just a lot of brain stuff. And, you know, you just realize like there’s so much happening
Jeanette: that motivates us. That’s like outside of our realm of conscious. And I think that having offspring is potentially one of them. Right. And it would make total sense. And yeah,
Jeanette: and so I I’m really looking forward to the episode on this because yeah, it’s, it’s interesting topic and it obviously changes your whole life.
Kate: Mm, I think we didn’t think that much about why. I think it’s because, you know, expediency was the word of the day. It was either like we had to try now or to wait, like other people to think about it. But also now that I look back, you know, it hasn’t our both, we’ve moved around a lot. We’ve done a lot of different things and it’s like an adventure.
Kate: It really is. Like, I think sometimes if you overthink it, you know, I have [01:12:00] some friends who are like, I don’t know if I’m really ready to be a parent. Like, you know, I need to solve all of my issues and I need to be at this place, you know, financially, et cetera, et cetera. And then I tell them, I’m like, look, if you’re basically financially stable and you’re like reasonably like emotionally healthy and you have a reasonably good relationship with your spouse.
Kate: And, you know, don’t overthink it because sometimes I think that can really, you just go around in circles. And I actually wouldn’t have said I wanted more kids before my daughter, but like both of you have expressed it’s. I mean, it’s just been so fun. Not without obviously a lot of the, you know, challenging parts, but overall it’s I just didn’t expect to have so much fun.
Kate: I know this sounds like weird to say it’s just fun, but it really is. Right. And I was, you know, the motivation for wanting at least one more is how could I not she’s so much fun. She would have so much fun with another sibling, my husband, and we’re both only children. And, you know, we were financially able to support another child.
Kate: A lot of families don’t have that luxury necessarily. And so it just it’s like, almost like, duh, why wouldn’t we have [01:13:00] another one at this point? You know?
Susan: So I don’t know, dude. I mean, we do the debate all the time. I just, I think about climate change and I think about like a strain on resources and consumerism, because think about how many items you’ve ordered on amazon.
Susan: Like you were like, would they like this one or that one? Or like, I need this right
Susan: now or
Sarah: fighting Amazon so well until I had kids. And then it just like, it’s like the wall crumbled so fast.
Susan: So that’s because you need this one obscure thing for this one moment or this, oh, they really love this one. I need the exact same one again, you know?
Susan: And it’s just like, okay. So part of is consumerism and environment. The other part of me is like, the works, the work. Well, wait, I gotta tell you. I was recently out of here. On Friday. And, and when you see death right in front of you, you really start to think about life.
Susan: You think about siblings, you think about your own [01:14:00] relationships with people who you are estranged with, or what do you have to have to resolve? What do you have to tie up before you die? You know, it’s like, that happens like, oh, a wave.
Susan: And I got to say, even though I’m like, oh, I don’t know if I’m going to have a second kid resources
Susan: time, or I don’t, I want to really make
Susan: sure I have a, like a
Susan: stable mental health, you know, I want to make sure I have room for my career and my friends, my own,
Susan: all of me, you know, like I want to have that.
Susan: But then you’re like, Hey, when, when us parents die, who do they have? Who’s, who’s supporting them in grieving, you
Susan: know? And,
Susan: and re family is not perfect. It’s it can be very dysfunctional, messed up, but like, who is there with you when that happens? You know? And I was like, that
Susan: really hit my heart in a new way.
Susan: so I’ve just been thinking about it. I mean, W we reached a point point where we have all the stuff like his old clothes and it’s like, she, you donate it or not. Should you hold on to it or not? If you have a second kid, [01:15:00] well, the girl we’re all blue, whatever, you know, and it’s just like, you think about your own mortality.
Susan: You think? What do I, how is my sibling experience? And do I, will I miss that? Could I, could I substitute it for a cousin experience? And I make an effort to go fly somewhere often. So they have a relationship with extended family, you know, what do I need to do different in this generation for us? And yeah,
Susan: just the thoughts.
Sarah: Yeah. The active, the act of putting away clothes is becoming a very existential question for you. Yeah. Yes. And,
Susan: and Marvin is just like Susan they’re spine. I think groups there’s consignment places. There’s, there’s mommy like you hoard you can hoard stuff. You can get
Susan: it later. We could buy it, you know?
Susan: And I’m like, no, it was
Susan: headed down to the, I can’t let go of this extracted value that I realized from zero, you know? And it’s like, whoa, take it one day at a time. You
Susan: know, it’s a great day if he [01:16:00] sleeps through the night and that I
Susan: am mama went to go exercise and also mama had to be, or
Susan: after work, you know, like, are we doing basics sometimes, but then I, then I start to.
Kate: you’ve just listened to a confessional of model minority moms. If you loved this episode, please give us a rating. Follow us on Instagram at model minority moms and tell a friend about us. If you have a suggestion for a future episode or questions, send us an firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan: Just like spice girls, like Vietnam, Korea, Chinese. And now you’re Japan.