Hannah Marley was surprised when she fell for an Army paratrooper.

She was surprised that the relationship stuck.

And, later, she was surprised by how they started their family.

Tune in to hear this pre-school teacher’s tale of surprises—which, it turns out, do not end once she becomes a mom.

Do YOU like surprises?
When has your family surprised you? Tell us the good and the bad below!

Professional Photos by: Justyn Lord of JP Lord Photography

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37 thoughts on “EPISODE #122: Surprise!

  1. Hilary — PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE learn what vocal fry is & STOP IT!!! I honestly want to listen to your podcast & I just can’t stand your abuse of your voice any longer! I know it’s the trendy thing to do, but you are in a position to be a leader in stopping it. Please! Even your guests of that certain age (Kardashian range) are doing it. Check out some of the YouTube videos for an illustration. & how to stop it. Pleeeeeease, I really want to listen to your podcasts & cannot bear it any longer. I’m begging you, honestly. 🤗💖✨🙏🏻

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for sharing your feedback. I wanted to share a few links to add some context to this conversation. Here’s a piece from This American Life about women reporters and vocal fry. And here’s a good article about the history of criticizing women’s voices. And one more. We think the content of our show makes it worth listening to… no matter what the voices on it sound like.
      — Abigail, LST producer

      1. Amen, Abigail. Women in media deal with enough misogyny already — this voice policing thing is out of control.

        Also, the way the criticism is couched in false concern for others’ voices is wild. Is anyone saying that Julie Andrews or Adele should have stopped singing if they wanted to avoid damaging their voices? I don’t think so…. Any expression, whether sung, spoken, or written, is the responsibility of the person making it, and not anyone else’s business.

        If folks can’t get past Hilary’s voice (which sounds fine, btw) to hear the amazing content she brings to this show week after week, that’s on them. Their loss.

    2. You might want to do some research on how much woman are disportionaley chastised for normal speech. Vocal fry is considered a normal generational change in speech. You might need to learn to not be put off by it as language changes naturally over time.

    3. Margaret-

      I really really hope Hilary takes a second to read this comment about how absolutely beautiful her voice is.

      Hilary: your voice makes me laugh, cry, giggle, and think. I love it so much. You are a beautiful soul.

      I also loved this episode. It was nice to contrast her experience with the weird “I didn’t know I was pregnant” stuff. I also loved Hannah’s voice! I feel like if we lived closer we could be besties. Everly is so gorgeous!

  2. PS feel free to reject this comment for public consumption — I just want Hilary to read it & hopefully take it seriously. As someone in a position to reject this STUPID trendiness of vocal fry, & to speak in a normal, non-abusive manner, I mean. Heaven knows what the outcome of this abuse of one’s vocal structures will lead to in 30 or 40 years, but it’s horrible enough to listen to right now. And that it’s trendy & people like the Kardashians do it is no excuse! They are not people to emulate & most people like Hilary would reject them as role models — so why copy them in this one manner? It’s inexplicable to me — unless people truly don’t understand it’s what they are doing. Hence this heartfelt (really!) plea. Not for the public, just for Hilary. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🤗💖✨🙁

    1. Hi Margaret – I know you think you’re doing Hilary a favor with your comments, but I urge you to consider how starkly your criticism of her voice contrasts with the mission of this podcast. Week after week, Hilary asks her listeners to embrace a broad spectrum of parenting – across genders, colors, creeds, cultures, sexuality, and parenting styles. She sets an example for us all with her honesty and vulnerability, with her ability to seek compassion over judgment. Given the wealth of medical research that has concluded vocal fry is not harmful to ones voice, your adamant request for conformity to what is essentially a personal preference comes across as sexist and flies in the face of everything Hilary stands for. I genuinely don’t believe that to be your intention and I do hope you’re able to find a way past your aversion so you can continue to listen to the podcast.

    2. Maybe you should just not listen to the podcast if you are so focused on the host’s voice rather than the overall message.

    3. There have been many responses to this comment already, but I wanted to add one more link. Using glottal fry in everyday speech is NOT considered abuse by medical professionals. In fact, in some languages (including Mandarin and many other dialects of Chinese), certain syllables/words are nearly always spoken in that register.

      Some folks may dislike glottal fry, but it is NOT the same as vocal abuse.

      (Link from the American Speech and Hearing Association)

  3. I had a somewhat similar experience though I found out that I was pregnant around 12 weeks (not 30!!). I have PCOS which means that I only get my period naturally once or twice a year. My OB told me at one point that it would be very difficult for me to get pregnant and that my husband and I would probably have to undergo fertility treatments. For that reason, I was admittedly lax about birth control (meaning I hadn’t taken it in the 2+ years that we’d been married). I was in the midst of training for a marathon and, like Hannah, did not have any obvious symptoms. I probably would have gone on for quite some time without knowing except I got pink eye and was bored at the pharmacy and wandering the aisles while waiting for my prescription to be filled. To this day I have no idea what prompted me to buy a pregnancy test as I had absolutely no intuition that I was pregnant. Nevertheless, I went home, took the test (again, inexplicably), and walked away. An hour or two later I went into the bathroom to shower, looked down at the test still sitting on the counter, and saw that tell tale extra pink line. I was shocked. I immediately called my husband who went out and bought 4 more tests. I took them all and they all came back positive. I am now mom to a 7-month old little boy who is the absolute light of our lives.

    1. So glad you shared your story! Was hoping to hear from other folks who have lived similar experiences to mine!!

  4. Not to downplay Hannah’s concerns about fetal development issues, but there are babies born all the time to women who don’t get the amount of oversight that women in the US do and the majority of them are fine. To that point – we have a family friend who didn’t know she was pregnant until she after she went into labor and was in the midst of delivering the baby. That baby is now a married mother of two and she never had any issues related to her mom never having a check up or exam during her pregnancy.

    1. Such a valid point and something that actually makes me feel good to hear. I’ve said many times since having Everleigh how amazing the female body is and that sometimes it just knows what to do! Whether we think so or not. I appreciate you listening and your feedback!

  5. I do like surprises (though I’m always trying to ruin them for myself with sneaky research). But I relate in a different way. I too found out I was pregnant very late into the process (26 weeks). In my case, it was because all of the pregnancy tests I took came up negative, so I kept coming up with other reasons for my (very mild) symptoms, whether it was ‘tired because of extra work hours’ or ‘I guess this is early menopause’.

    Also, Margaret: Cut it with the ‘vocal fry’ bs. It’s an incredibly sexist complaint about something perfectly natural that both men and women do: https://www.dailydot.com/via/vocal-fry-99-percent-invisible-womens-voices/

  6. As I listened to Hannah’s story, it reminded me a lot of how we found out about our daughter and when she was born. Several years ago we began the adoption process. It begins with several months of paperwork and home studies, and then there is the waiting period to be matched with a birth mother. Well, we had wrapped up the home study/paperwork part of the process and were ready to begin the other part of the process. It was mid-November, my husband and I were bother teachers, so we figured we had timed everything perfectly and that hopefully we would be matched with a birth mother who was due during the summer or next fall. Well, of course things don’t go according to plan and we got the best surprise when we were matched with a birth mother who was due December 10th! We had less than three weeks to prepare for the baby. Our families and friends were all surprised, but extremely supportive. And then we got one more surprise- our daughter we born two weeks early! We had only been able to legally adopt for about two weeks before we were flying across the country to meet our beautiful baby. Although we had planned to adopt, we were surprised with how fast the process went. Everything went smoothly and our daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to us. Just like Hannah said in her story, when we held her for the first time, we just knew she was the missing piece. We hadn’t known her for those 9 months, but it felt like she was always meant to be a part of our family. Life is certainly full of wonderful surprises, you just never know what is going to happen next! Thanks for sharing your story Hannah!

  7. The biggest surprise my family gave me was when my husband and I went into the OB/GYN office to confirm my pregnancy. We already had one child, and we felt like we had it all together – we knew what to expect, we knew the drill. We felt bad for the nervous “first timers” sitting in the waiting room. Then, we went into the doctor’s office and the ultrasound showed us that we were having twins. TWINS. What???

    The first few weeks were so scary. We were told about “disappearing twin syndrome” and advised not to get “too attached” in case one didn’t make it (to which I asked, Which one I should choose to get attached to? Also, stress makes me sarcastic). We were also told that it was too early to tell if there was a membrane between the babies, and if it turned out that there wasn’t one, they would be “mono-mono” twins, which is very high risk and usually resulted in complete bedrest, sometimes hospitalization, and almost always premature birth.

    In spite of our shock and the scary first few weeks, my pregnancy went amazingly smoothly. Enough time passed to confirm that the membrane was there, separating the babies. All was good. As time went on, the twins were monitored for possible TTFS, since they shared a placenta (the last thing they ever shared, BTW). It never developed.

    I found out I was carrying identical twin boys, and I felt a new connection to my grandfather, who had been an identical twin himself, and had died when I was fourteen.

    I was able to carry the babies 37 weeks and 2 days. Then, because of toxemia, they were delivered early. I was able to work until the week before they were born.

    That all seems so long ago, but it really wasn’t. At the end of this month, my twin baby boys will turn two. The journey they have taken us on these past two years has been the most difficult, craziest, best thing that has ever happened to our family. Not only have I watched them learn to love each other, I have watched my daughter develop into an amazing older sister.

    The journey for us started at the doctor’s office that day, but kicked into high gear the day my boys were born. It was the best surprise ever.

  8. My story isn’t nearly as dramatic as Hannah’s story, but I found out I was a month more pregnant than I thought I was during my second pregnancy. It was a bit shocking because I had what I was convinced was a period. Also, I had been pregnant before so I thought I knew my body!

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