We Are Family Podcast, Episode 11: Parenting With Disability and Chronic Illness
"If you think you're in control of your destiny as a parent, you have another thing coming," says host Julia Dennison of this week's episode: parenting with chronic illness and disability. All parents know this to be true. But this week on We Are Family, Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler and authors Katherine and Jay Wolf open up about their experiences and limitations, how their families have had to adjust their ideas around what it means to be a "good" parent, and how, instead of focusing on what's been taken away from them, they're embracing what they have.
First up is Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who starred as Meadow, mob boss Tony Soprano's daughter on The Sopranos, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in her early 20s. Now she's a mom of two boys.
"I had all of these fears that I wasn't going to be able to do it all on my own," says Sigler. "What if he ran away from me because I can't run—like, I can't catch him. How am I going to keep my son safe?" But none of that mattered to her son, Beau. "I learned how capable I was, how strong I was, and that my son could care less if I couldn't run or do anything. I was the greatest mom in the world to him."
Authors Katherine and Jay Wolf—of Hope Heals and Suffer Strong—also had their lives turned upside down in their 20s when Katherine suffered a massive stroke and nearly died a few months after the birth of her first child. After brain surgery, two months in a coma, and nearly two years in the hospital, she now uses a wheelchair and has limitations when it comes to things like fine motor coordination, hearing, and even eating. Twelve years later, Katherine says that life has gone on—she even had a second child at the same hospital she survived her stroke at—and though it looks different than she'd imagined, she's "deeply grateful for the second chance story that I'm living."
"We've all got stuff that's happened to us and that we've been through and that we've survived," says Katherine, whose motivation to keep going was being a mom. "We can cope with a lot in this life. The wheelchair enables me to go. It's how I get out in the world and it actually is a freedom agent rather than something that confines me or holds me back."
For Katherine and Jay, thinking about their life in a new way—with intention—helped them to see the positive. "You know, life is not about what happens nearly as much as it's about how we think about it, how we move forward from it, how we remember it," Katherine says. "It's all about the story we're telling ourselves about ourselves."
Upcoming episodes and topics this season include:
- Multicultural parenting
- The family you didn't know you had
Listen to episode 11 right now: Parents.com/FamilyPod-Ep11
Plus, follow along here:
Jamie-Lynn Sigler: We were in the drop-off line and we're getting out of the car and I was pretty stiff and I was standing there and they were kind of hustling along people. And Beau is 3 years old and he got up and he said, excuse me, can you please wait? My mommy's slow. And then just put his hand out to hold my hand.
Thank God I had sunglasses cause I started crying.
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Julia: Hi, I'm Julia Dennison.
Shaun: And I'm Shaun T.
Julia: And this is We Are Family, a podcast from Parents magazine. In this show we celebrate all the different ways there are to build and be a family.
Shaun: Julia, back in our first episode we talked about how the families we end up having may not be the ones we envisioned before we became parents.
Julia: Exactly—if you think you're in control of your destiny as a parent, you have another thing coming.
Shaun: Our guests today live with chronic illness and disability, and experience physical limitations that have made them adjust their ideas around what it means to be a "good mom."
Julia: But instead of focusing on what's been taken away from them, they're embracing how these challenges have changed them as people, and parents.
Shaun: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who starred as Meadow, mob boss Tony Soprano's daughter on The Sopranos, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her early 20s. Now she's the mom of two sons.
Julia: And Katherine Wolf suffered a stroke just a few months after the birth of her first child, and now uses a wheelchair. She and her husband Jay have written two books about their experiences, Hope Heals and Suffer Strong.
Shaun: They were so gracious to share their time and stories with us. They've got a ton to teach us all as parents.
Julia: Jamie-Lynn, thank you so much for coming on We Are Family. Before we get started. Can you introduce yourself?
Jamie-Lynn: Sure. My name is Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Um, I am a mother of two little boys, Beau who's 6-and-a-half and Jack who's 2-and-a-half. And, um, I'm an actress and a podcast host. I have one podcast called Mama Said, um, about kind of the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of motherhood. And, um, another one called Pajama Pants that I do with my co-star and best friend from Sopranos, Robert Iler.
Julia: Jamie-Lynn was starring on the show when she began experiencing some mysterious health issues.
Jamie-Lynn: I was feeling kind of like numbness and tingling in my legs. Um, kind of like loss of coordination. And when I went into the hospital, they ruled out MS at the time. But like after a series of long series of tests and a couple of weeks in there, they diagnosed me with Lyme disease and I was given antibiotics and kind of went on my way.
Julia: About a year and a half later, the symptoms came back. And she got a new diagnosis.
Jamie-Lynn: I went back to the hospital thinking I would just get treated for Lyme again. And then was kind of given the sobering news that I had um, multiple sclerosis. You know, at the age of 20, like to receive news like that, I'm in the middle of shooting Sopranos, like in the middle of the third season and, you know, life is moving fast and I was about to get married for the first time and all of the stuff. Um, I kind of was advised to keep it a secret. And I almost just did that in general in my life. I was just kind of, you know, pretended that I didn't have it and lived in a state of denial for a couple of years.
Julia: MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can include difficulty walking, fatigue, and the kind of numbness and tingling Jamie initially experienced.
Jamie-Lynn: I still had a few symptoms here and there that I had to manage, but it wasn't anything that was hard to hide. Um, but then when I was 24, I went through a pretty rough divorce. Um, again, kept that secret. There's kind of like a theme in my life for a little while where I just kind of thought I had to go through things on my own. And during that time, the disease really started to manifest.
Shaun: Jamie's symptoms got worse throughout her 20s, and it was harder to conceal them while she worked. At one point she was limping on set. So when she got pregnant with her first child, it seemed like the perfect excuse to quit acting.
Jamie-Lynn: I'm leaving to be a mom. And as if it mattered to anyone, it was just a story I was telling myself, but then it became all of these feelings of like, Oh my God, am I going to be the type of mom I want to be with this disease?
I had all of these fears that I wasn't going to be able to do it all on my own. What if he ran away from me because I can't run—like, I can't catch him. How am I going to keep my son safe?
Julia: But her son Beau didn't know anything about the kind of mom Jamie had wanted to be.
Jamie-Lynn: I didn't have a nanny. I didn't have any help. My husband was playing minor league baseball at the time. I was traveling across the country back and forth with my son, just him and I. But in that time I learned how capable I was, how strong I was, and that my son could care less if I couldn't run or do anything. I was the greatest mom in the world to him.
Shaun: As her son got older, Jamie realized if she continued to keep her MS under wraps, she would have to ask him to lie.
Jamie-Lynn: You know, we're all trying to bring our kids up in a world where everybody is deserving of opportunity and love and that nobody should be judged for anything. And here I am trying to tell him we need to keep this a secret because nobody would want mommy if they knew that she had this, this disease. And so I kind of took the reins and said, you know what? I feel like this is the time for me to come out and be public about living with MS.
Shaun: Well, first, I want to say congratulations because you know, just being a gay man, I mean, coming out with anything is really tough.
Jamie-Lynn: Yeah. Um, you know, so I remember that the morning that I knew, like the news was going to come out—People was going to put out the story—I just woke up and just started crying because I just felt so exposed. It was something I worked really hard at to keep a secret for a really long time.
I remember my husband was like, I got Beau, I want you to look at your phone. I want you to go through and read every message cause you need to be really proud of yourself. And that's what I did. And I sat and I just read through every comment people had put on an Instagram post and all the text messages and all the messages that people left me.
And I just, I felt really loved and I didn't feel so alone anymore. Um, it just felt, it felt like such a weight was lifted and I felt, um, proud. You know, it's funny because with a disease like MS—that can take away so many, um, things physically from you—like to be called the word "strong," I never really thought to call myself that, but it had like a whole other meaning now.
Shaun: Jamie's still learning to live with MS, but she's gotten better at asking for help — and cherishing what the disease has taught her and her boys.
Jamie-Lynn: My husband always tells me to look up when I walk. Cause sometimes I look down because I feel like if I watch someone see me move, that means like, It feels just like very, it feels—I feel really exposed. I don't know how else to explain it, if you understand what I'm saying.
And so it's about like looking up and owning it and the way I walk doesn't define me and like trusting that like people are looking at me and not how I move, things like that. Those are still things that I'm learning to, um, you know, possess.
Julia: Jamie, I wanted to also ask you just to kind of dig in a little bit more about, um, how becoming a mom, how did that change your relationship to MS?
Jamie-Lynn: Hmm. I think seeing myself through my child's eyes, um, and him not really noticing or caring, that I moved differently. Um, I used to worry greatly of, uh, how it would limit him. Like, Oh, you know, I'll never be able to do this with him or he'll, you know, I'll never be able to like run and jump and swing him around.
I used to envision him, watching other moms with kids doing that, and then look at me and feel bad, you know, all of these different things. And, um, instead what I've seen is like, I'm kind of, um, raising a really compassionate, really aware little boy. I can remember a day I was dropping him off at preschool, and there's like a very long carpool line, and it's like a 20 minute drive from our house to his preschool and so when I sit for a long period of time, it can get super stiff. So when I get up, it can take me, you know, 10, 15, even 20 seconds to like, get my bearings and like loosen up so I can start moving.
And we were in the drop-off line and we're getting out of the car and they were kind of hustling along people. And Beau is 3 years old and he got up and he said, excuse me, can you please wait? My mommy's slow. And then just put his hand out to hold my hand.
And I just felt like, I mean, thank God I had sunglasses cause I started crying. But it was just really sweet because he realized like, hey it's OK. It didn't feel like a burden that his mommy was having to go slow or we were having to make anybody else wait. It was just like this is the fact, and this is what I'm going to do to help her out. And, you know, he did that at 3 years old and I thought it was really, really special.
Shaun: That's not to say it isn't hard sometimes. But Jamie has cultivated a village to help her out.
Jamie-Lynn: We wanted to go to the beach this past weekend, for instance. We have really good friends that live down in Manhattan Beach and we went and, you know, it's hard for me to get there. But we did. And we sat me on a blanket and then, you know, I had just had to call in all the other adults that were there to run with the boys and do their thing. I mean, of course I wish I was the one that was, you know, throwing my son in the waves and, you know, chasing my baby down, like as he's running after seagulls, but I had a front row seat to like the magic that they are and watching all that they do.
I've sort of shifted my perspective in the past couple of years where I always used to think about what MS has taken from me. And, instead, I'm almost kind of like thinking about what it's given me. I think it's led me down a path and made me the person I am today that I'm really proud of, that I don't think I would be without it.
Julia: Jamie, thank you so much for coming on our show. It's been so great.
Shaun: I know, we don't want you to go. We want you to hang out with us all day.
Jamie-Lynn: I'll come back. I promise.
Shaun: Julia, we've both talked about feeling like we have to do this parenting thing all on our own, and the biggest thing I'm taking away from Jamie's story is that you really don't have to do that.
Julia: Totally. Asking for help is so important! And whenever you think you're the only one out there struggling, remember that EVERYONE is struggling with something.
Shaun: Next we're going to hear from a couple that's been through plenty of difficulties and come through it with a whole new perspective. We'll be back with Katherine and Jay Wolf after a quick break. Stick with us.
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Julia: Welcome back to We Are Family. Jamie-Lynn Sigler was barely out of her teens when she was diagnosed with MS. It changed her life forever—but also taught her a lot about the kind of person and mom she could be.
Shaun: Katherine and Jay Wolf were also in their 20s when their lives were turned completely upside down. They both grew up in the South, where they met in college and fell in love. After graduation, they got married and moved to Los Angeles, and a few years later, baby James was born. It was sooner than they'd planned on having kids, but as new parents, they were over the moon.
Julia: Then, one day, out of the blue, Katherine collapsed while her baby boy was asleep in another room.
Katherine: As a 26-year old young woman with a 6-month-old baby at home—with no medical history, no family history, no medical issues in the past, no symptoms, no warning, nothing—I had a massive brain stem stroke and very nearly died. It was due to a tiny birth defect called an AVM, an arteriovenous malformation, that formed in utero. And I was born with it, and it grew and grew and grew and ruptured and caused a massive stroke.
Julia: Jay was in law school at the time, a few weeks away from graduation.
Jay: I just happened to be home during my final classes. I like popped up cause I needed to print out something and that's when she had her stroke. And, um, you know, really the odds were against her surviving. They took her to UCLA where they said, you know, we don't know if we can even do anything but we'll try a 16-hour micro brain surgery and removing part of her cerebellum and doing a lot of damage and sacrifice to areas around her brainstem and the nerves, you know, it was really, um it was a miracle that she even survived the surgery, that they didn't know if she would wake up.
Shaun (script): But Katherine made it. She spent two months in a coma. Jay brought baby James to come visit her in the hospital. And their village — including their strong church community — showed up to support them as she began the long road to recovery.
Katherine: After nearly two years in hospital settings, relearning to do everything, to eat, to speak, to walk, I, um, I, I've done extremely well.
However, I am very disabled to this day, including, I mean everything. I can't drive a car; I can't walk on my own. I'm largely in the wheelchair and can kind of hobble around with a cane and I'm, I'm deaf in one ear. I'm nearly blind in one eye. I have no fine motor coordination in one hand, and pretty much my body is ravaged after the stroke and I have extreme issues swallowing, even though I was NPO, nothing per oral, meaning I was on a feeding tube, unable to eat for nearly a year, 11 months, five days, and 10 hours. But who's counting? But, um, I did relearn to eat.
Julia: She was actually figuring out how to take solid food at the same time James was.
Katherine: However, even now, 12 years later, I am unable to fully, freely swallow and it's very delayed and there's lots of problems. But actually, after that long laundry list, I should tell you I'm, I'm doing wonderfully, actually. It's, um. It's crazy. Even though I have been through absolute hell and my body has been very damaged, I am doing amazing and life's gone on and I've even had a second child, um, over four years ago now, almost five.
And yeah, even though my life looks absolutely nothing like I thought it would, I love my life and I'm deeply grateful for the second chance story that I'm living.
Shaun: Of course, Katherine and Jay didn't just magically accept the changes in their situation overnight. It was a process—a long one.
Jay: For us, it took many years to really embrace that new normal as, um, our life. Not sort of the, you know, the second chance scraps and the, you know, the plan B, but wow, this is what we get to really live and lean into and maybe eventually even love.
Shaun: Jay says that while we can't control what happens to us, we do have a choice in how we respond to our circumstances.
Jay: Are we going to let them define us or are we going to let them inspire us and into a new way of living? And, and hopefully inspire other people to do the same in their life too.
Julia: I love that. And you just mentioned your village and we were just talking the other day about how much parenting really does take a village and how much we're missing our villages right now that we're in social distancing. Um, and it sounds kind of cliché, but it's so true. What does your village look like and how did they help you?
Katherine: Oh, absolutely. We have extensive village and we're deeply grateful and know that so many outcomes that are not like ours are missing that vital piece. And even in the disabled community, there's a lot of research that shows that community is one of the needed pieces for coping well and thriving in life is community.
And for us, we both, when I had this stroke, had families who were very involved. Both of our mothers were nearly empty nesters, so they were able to help us take care of the baby. And we have extensive friends from our church in Los Angeles and our communities through Jay being in law school and really our lives in California were deeply planted even from our early years of marriage and people showed up and we really engaged that.
I think so many times people want to just stand on their own, and this is America and we're very independent and we're all by ourselves. Instead of really letting that village come around you and carry you through hard seasons.
Jay: Yeah, I think the opportunity to be interdependent on a community is something just our culture is not, that's not the narrative that we've been taught.
We've been taught, you know, whatever it takes to get to your individual, self-actualization is going to predominate anything else in your life. And I think, um, we're seeing even now just that, that like we're all connected. We're connected globally, we're connected as humans. And we, when we try to deny that, we miss out on a huge part of our humanity.
Shaun: Which takes me to something, you know, I have this tattoo on my arm. It says, "conquer your mind to transform your life." And even just through the story and things you've been saying so far, just having the ability to be present in the moment to conquer your mind is so important. And you talk about needing to be wounded to heal and hard things happen for a reason and you know, they make you stronger. How can folks change their outlook when these types of hardships happen and how can they continue to conquer their mind?
Katherine: You're exactly right, Shaun. That is really a huge, huge area that we feel so strongly about that it is all about transforming your mind, and that's everything that when we can take thoughts that are negative captive and change them.
You know, life is not about what happens nearly as much as it's about how we think about it, how we move forward from it, how we remember it. It's all about the story we're telling ourselves about ourselves.
We are called to live in every moment of life. And what that means is the life right in front of your face. It's not the life that you used to have or the life you thought you would have or the life you thought you were entitled to have, or life you, whatever. The life you're in right now is what we believe you were supposed to live in and champion and cherish and be about that life.
And at times such as this weird, um, social distancing life we find ourselves in, the temptation would be to reject that, to say, I can't handle this, but the reality is that you can.
Jay: And I think a really helpful idea was from a friend of ours named Dr. Kurt Thompson, who was a psychiatrist and he basically said that we can remember our future.
And I think so much of the conquering of our mind revolves around what's happened to us and our memories of what's happened to us. And, um, that phrase, remembering our future, is really summed up in that our brain makes a memory when we pay attention to something, which is pretty straightforward.
The reality is we, you know, we don't know what the future is going to be. This isn't sort of like manifesting some magical new future. It's more to say, I don't have to be so afraid and have anxiety about what I have no control over. And what I can do is look back at my past and, and think about what I'm paying attention to and pay attention to my intentions. And in so doing, kind of find some freedom from bearing the weight of the world, which we all have had that experience of recently of the fears of the unknown.
Shaun: Julia, I don't know about you, but I just feel like I went to the church of Katherine and Jay.
Julia: I know.
Shaun: You can't see me, but look look, my hand is raised up in this.
Julia: I've got my hand on my heart right now that's yes, I'm there with you.
Shaun: I knew you felt me. I knew you felt me.
Julia: You know, reading Hope Heals, and I've uh, felt your story on such a deep, emotional level. And I think everybody has something that's happened to them in their lives, uh, that they can relate to. And for me, I, I've talked about my story on this podcast before, but I went through a divorce and I'm a single mom and I co-parent with my daughter's dad.
And it's mostly a good situation, but I think especially during these times, the social distancing, it's really easy to find myself veering over toward the direction of sort of bitterness. I mean, now that sounds extreme, but just kind of dwelling on what I don't have, and then looking over at what other people have and wishing I had what they had.
And then it's just this kind of glum, terrible mind space that I keep wanting to kind of pull myself out of. And I think, Katherine, you've talked to parents before about, um, looking at what happened to you as being kind of almost like a gift. I'd love for you to talk about that.
Katherine: Absolutely. Let me say, Julia, first of all, I'm so sorry. I, you know, I try not to compare sufferings cause they're all so different and so unique, but there is very real pain in single parenting and just everything you're dealing with, even during social distancing.
I think it is so important for us to recognize that all of our very, very unique sufferings are actually each other's sufferings. We each have our own brand of brokenness, each have a very different brand, but it's all part of the same story of suffering that we're all experiencing in various forms. And I believe, um, some of us have external wheelchairs like me, I've got a wheelchair on the outside, but everybody's got wheelchairs on the inside. I call them invisible wheelchairs.
Julia: I love that, in Suffer Strong, you talked about that. I just love that concept. Invisible wheelchairs. Yes.
Katherine: Absolutely. We've all got stuff that's happened to us and that we've been through and that we've survived and you wouldn't necessarily know, but we all get to be a part of recognizing that there is suffering, but there is strength and we can cope with a lot in this life. The wheelchair enables me to go. It's how I get out in the world and it actually is a freedom agent rather than something that confines me or holds me back.
Shaun: Jay, you talk about how one of your life goals was to help Katherine reinstate her role as a mother after she lost so much independence you know, in the early years. Can you talk a little more about that?
Jay: We had been married a couple of years and had not been planning to have a baby, um, right in the middle of my grad school. And, um, she was in her career, you know, that was ramping up. And yet that was, you know, maybe the first sort of "detour." And yet, she had really embraced it and, um, James was just kind of her sidekick and it was a beautiful thing to watch how that had unexpectedly become something that she had really blossomed into. And then out of the blue for that to be upended and taken away. I mean she was breastfeeding him and, uh, you know, all of a sudden that, that was over in one night, you know, he was weaned and there was such a really visceral and heartbreaking connection to that loss of motherhood on a lot of levels. I remember on her first Mother's Day that she had ever had, and it was in the ICU, and there's a picture of it that's, you know, pretty awful to watch, but he has a little mom onesie and she's unconscious pretty much, and yet we kind of were able to sneak him up, um, to her room just so that she could know that our baby was still hers.
Then, you know, weeks and months after that, there was still just this, as she was kind of slowly waking up, this confusion of, wait, why is my baby not here with me?
And, and then the corollary of that was over the years to come. Seeing her sort of claw her way back to her life with one of the big motivators being so that she could be a mom again. And even in her physical therapy, like, you know, a medicine ball, you know, it was like five pounds with James, you know, smiley face written on it. And she would try to walk while carrying it.
It's important to clarify that there is loss in our parenthood, um, that will be lifelong. You know, Katherine mentioned that— pretty incredibly given, um, all of her health issues—her team in 2014 kind of gave us the go-ahead that if we wanted to try to get pregnant biologically again, we could. And we just felt like it was something we really, I dunno, we felt kind of called to against all odds.
And so we got pregnant and she had our baby, John, in the summer of 2015. And it was just this real, um, you know, this incredibly healing and hard and beautiful full circle moment. And what was pretty profound is that she had him, um, like almost within a few minutes of coming to the hospital.
And it was the same hospital that she had survived her stroke at. It was a profound reminder again, talking about remembrance in our story. It's so easy to forget how far we've come.
Julia: And Katherine, were there things that you were able to do with John that you weren't able to do with James that you were kind of determined to do or?
Katherine: Yes and that is so complicated. But obviously there are also things that I will never do with either child.
And that's actually been the tender of light cause John's nearly 5 now. So with their ages being 12 and nearly 5, it's more the reality of not being able to drive them in the carpool and not being able to pass out the brownies at school and not being able to do this and that, that the "normal" mommies do.
And that's been interesting because for so long it was more like regaining motherhood. But now I think I'm decidedly, you know, a disabled mother, and that's a little bit of a new phase, honestly.
Julia: Hmm. And you talk about that, right? It was James's first day of school when you were determined to walk him to school, but you know, you realized that it didn't matter.
Just being there for him is what he needed.
Katherine: A month before he started kindergarten, I severely broke my right leg and I was in a wheelchair. And so, um I gave him a pony ride into kindergarten, and he sat on my lap and he thought it was great and it was totally fine. What he needed was me. Not walking me. He just needed his mom. It was a good lesson for me in adjusting my expectations and recognizing what's really important.
Shaun: I would love to hear how do you find hope when you're feeling most hopeless?
Katherine: Gosh. 10,000 ways for sure. And I personally have deep faith, so that really guides my hope. But I'm not sure if that's necessarily relevant to all of your listeners. However, it is my truth. So I'll tell you that my, my faith deeply guides me and informs all of my thinking and decisions. And of course, the deep value of, um, recognizing that this is all part of a story. You know, instead of viewing every moment in my life as like, this is it, this is my one shot. But instead, when you can wake up to the vantage point of an arc story with chapters and seasons, and maybe extremely difficult or unsatisfying in any and all ways, and just really negative.
But if I can see that as part of an overall narrative that is both good and hard, and that, I believe, is quite beautiful, when I can wrap my mind around that, it changes how I experience every moment.
Jay: We've been given this opportunity to cast a vision of a different way of looking at our struggles and our suffering, and we want to give that away to people who are looking for it. And, and so that's, I think all of our charge, we call it hoping it forward.
Jay: How do we take a hope that we've been given and give it away?
Jay: I think that's the question for all of us.
Julia: Katherine and Jay, thank you so much for sharing your story with us and for writing your books and for continuing to deliver your message and get everybody's hopes going out there. Um, I love your words.
Shaun: it's been a very inspiring hour and I just really appreciate it so much. Just being a pretty new parent myself and just, you know, seeing how you navigate through life and keep a positive attitude is really inspiring.
Katherine: Thank you both for having us.
Shaun: And that's all for this episode. You can find Jamie-Lynn Sigler on Instagram at @jamielynnsigler, and check out her podcast Mama Said.
You can find Katherine and Jay Wolf and more about their books at hopeheals.com. Thanks for listening, and we'll catch you next time on We Are Family. Julia: Thanks to our production team at Pod People: Rachael King, Eliza Lambert, Susie Armitage, and Lene Bech Sillisen. This show was recorded in New York and Arizona, edited in New York City, and can be found wherever you get your podcasts. You can find out more at parents.com/podcast. You can find Parents on Instagram at @Parents. And you can follow Shaun at @ShaunT, and Julia at @juliadennison.