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Hannah Blum is a 39-year-old corporate executive living in San Diego, California. Motherhood isn't her thing.

Sadly, she keeps encountering people who want to offer their sympathies to her — even during a routine trip to rent a movie at Redbox.


Hannah chooses not to have kids, and she's a very happy woman. All photos are from Hannah Blum and used with permission.

"After a bit of small talk with the guy in front of me in line, I told him that I didn't have any kids," Hannah said. "He was shocked that a woman like me didn't have kids and looked at me with pity to say he was 'so very sorry.' But actually, I just don't want kids."

You're a mom? Cool. We all love moms. But what about the women who choose not to be mothers?

It doesn't matter if its online or offline, it's almost impossible not to see imagery of motherhood at every turn.

America loves moms, as we should. GIF from "Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream."

Witnessing a woman caring and nurturing her children is a beautiful sight, and the world is undoubtedly a better place due to the great ladies who take motherhood seriously.

But more women than ever are choosing not to be mothers at all. In fact, the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey in 2014 noted that over 47% of women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 44 do not have children — the highest percent since the government began tracking that information.

Sadly, stigmas exist about what it means to be a child-free woman in America, so I asked Hannah to provide her thoughts on the situation.

1. She doesn't want any pity.

Experiences like the one at Redbox happen quite often, and when Hannah's child-free life is revealed to people, they react as if she revealed a terminal diagnosis or that she has a screw loose instead.

"Wait, you don't have kids? Sorry about that." GIF from "The Steve Harvey Show."

"It's not that I'm unable to have children or can't find a man," Hannah said. "I'm just extremely happy with my current lifestyle, and it's frustrating when society doesn't understand that."

2. It doesn't mean she hates kids.

Hannah grew up in a family with six children. Not only that, but by the time she was 15, she babysat her 2-year-old twin sisters and her 3-year-old brother while her parents enjoyed a their weekly Saturday night date. She loved it.

"I bathed them, sang to them, read to them, fed them, kissed their boo-boos, you name it, I did it," Hannah said. "And it was fun for me."

Even today, Hannah enjoys spending time with her friends' kids. She's even pretty good at soothing crying babies because she had plenty of experience when she was a teenager.

In other words, she loves kid time but doesn't want it all of the time.

Hannah enjoys spending time with her friends' kids, Sadie (left) and Dana.

Today, she enjoys coming and going as she pleases, sleeping in on weekends, and watching her beloved New England Patriots play football uninterrupted. "I'm thankful that I can enjoy my friends' kids as often as I'd like, but I also enjoy some me-time," Hannah said. "By not having kids of my own, I have that choice."

3. It doesn't mean she's selfish.

This is the big one.

Oftentimes Hannah and her child-free friends are labeled as selfish. Being a good parent means putting your kids' needs before your own, right?

Hannah looks at it a little differently.

"I'm the friend who will pick you up in the middle of the night because your boyfriend broke up with you," Hannah said. "I also volunteer many hours a week cleaning garbage from our oceans, working at homeless shelters, and raising money to find a cure for cancer. That doesn't seem all that selfish to me."

Hannah (center, red shirt) pictured at the national leadership conference for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2014. She's the chapter chairperson for the San Diego-Hawaii region.

Shouldn't we celebrate people who don't want to be parents?

Parenting is hard. People with and without kids know that. Moms and dads deserve all of the credit in the world for taking on such an important task.

But if an individual feels that he or she doesn't want to raise kids, shouldn't we be glad they realized that before trying to have a baby?

That alone makes the world a better place.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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