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Terrible, Thanks For Asking

199 EpisodesProduced by American Public MediaWebsite

You know how when someone asks "How are you?" you just say "Fine,” even if you’re totally dying inside, so everyone can go about their day? “Terrible, Thanks For Asking” is the opposite of that. Nora McInerny asks real people to share their complicated and honest feelings about how they really are.… read more

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Sad Nora and the Secret Baby

November 21st, 2016


Nora McInerny is in love with two men. With one man (who died two years ago this week), she has a child. And just last week, she had a child with the other. She didn’t tell many people about the new baby. Or her …

In Love and Memory

November 28th, 2016


Toddlers Ralphie and Bronson have lived most of their young lives with dead fathers. Their mothers — Nora and Moe — struggle to understand how to help their boys remember the dads they won’t know directly. As they worry …

I’ve Made a Huge Mistake

December 5th, 2016


Eva Hagberg is young, ambitious and about to get her Big Break — a byline in the New York Times! And then, she publishes an error. A big factual error. In the New York freaking Times! Cue the breakdown. If you've ever …

Happy(ish) Holidays

December 12th, 2016


Two days after Nora’s husband Aaron died, she celebrated Thanksgiving with her family. Well... maybe not “celebrated.” Every year, millions of people …

Me, Too

December 19th, 2016


Danni Starr had everything she wanted: a successful radio career, a husband and a new baby. But off the air, motherhood wasn't all that great. In …

Help Me Remember

December 26th, 2016


Dawn is a nurse. In June of 2015, she was injured on the job by one of her patients and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Dawn’s husband and their kids have been in deep, deep grief since that day in 2015. Not because …

A Henry Sky

January 2nd, 2017


Colleen is a pediatrician, a wife, and a mother to a beautiful son named Henry, who was stillborn.

After Henry's stillbirth, Colleen and her husband …


January 9th, 2017


Sarah Super is not broken. Sarah Super is a woman who is absolutely, 100% living up to her name. She’s is a rape survivor — a very outspoken rape …

The Middle Place

January 16th, 2017


For many of us, death is scary and mysterious. This episode is about the in-between, the middle place between life and death — and the people who are there to witness it. We talk with Heather, a hospice nurse, and …

Under a Cloud of Loss

January 23rd, 2017


Damon’s grandparents were murdered 18 months before he was born. He never knew them, but their deaths — and the trial for their killer — defined much of his childhood.

For nearly three decades, Damon’s mother has …

Semper Fi

January 30th, 2017


When Nora's dad died, she lost his stories — the ones that she’s not sure she can quite remember right, and the ones she never knew ... like the stories from his time as a Recon Marine in Vietnam. Nora decides to look …

Not The Bummer Olympics

March 6th, 2017


So many people start off their stories by saying that it doesn’t compare to what happened to someone else. But this isn’t a game of Who Has It Worse, so why do we act like there is some sort of imaginary yardstick for …

Are You Up?

March 14th, 2017


It’s 12:00. No, 1:00. No, 4:45 in the morning. You should be sleeping — we all should be — but you’re not. You’re laying there as the minutes tick …

#trypod with The Hilarious World of Depression

March 27th, 2017


March is #trypod month, where everyone should force their loved ones to listen to podcasts. Not sure which one to subscribe every family member to? …

Is It OK?

April 10th, 2017


Alysha-Aubrey sent us a story about both her parents falling seriously ill at the same time, and the toll it took on her as a teenager. And she ended …

To Michael

April 17th, 2017


When someone dies, you're supposed to say something. SOMEONE is supposed to say something. Someone is supposed to summarize this person, prove that they existed, that they mattered. But what do you say when a …

19 Hours Ago

April 25th, 2017


Grief is always fresh for someone, somewhere. Right now, someone is losing a friend. A partner. A parent. And they are entering a new role, a new …

Naomi + Khaleel

June 7th, 2017


Khaleel Thompson is an 18-year-old who loves music, reading, and his cat, Domino. Naomi is his mother, asking why four police officers fired more …

Dear Grown-ups

June 13th, 2017


Do you remember being a child? We sure do. Mostly, we remember being filled with piping hot feelings. And now, as adults, we worry … are saying the …

Love Hurts

July 19th, 2017


When Lea Thau’s fiancé left her, she felt all the feelings. Then she had their baby, and decided to start dating again. But, despite going out, nothing seemed to be clicking. Over and over. And eventually, she wanted to …

The Ending Matters

September 6th, 2017


In 2014, Brittany Maynard exercised her right to an assisted death under Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. She'd been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer less than a year earlier. Her death at age 29 — and her advocacy …

Horrible and Wonderful and Figuring it Out

September 11th, 2017


Harris Wittels was the executive producer of "Parks and Recreation," the coiner of the word "humblebrag," a Phish enthusiast, and the funniest person in any room he walked into. He died of a heroin overdose in 2015, …


September 18th, 2017


Nora is back from her honeymoon with a special announcement – TTFA is doing a live show!! (Plus this week's episode will be out on Wednesday – so stay tuned!) TTFA LIVE!!! In person!! Hear us perform an episode right in …

Baby Huey

September 20th, 2017


Courtney and Jay are parents to 9-year-old Bruce, who they affectionately call Baby Huey. Bruce has never had a friend. Never had a playdate. Never …

Best Friends Forever

September 25th, 2017


America has a garbage attitude toward grief — we know this. Bereavement leave generally means you get 2-3 business days to mourn a partner, a child, a parent, a sibling.

But what about when your very best friend in the …

Forever Alone? (Part 1)

October 3rd, 2017


As the saying goes, "There’s a lid for every pot." There’s someone for everyone. Chelsea has been looking for her lid — her someone — since high …

Forever Alone? (Part 2)

October 10th, 2017


In our last episode, we met chronically single Chelsea, who was looking for love in all the same places we all look for love ... and coming up empty-handed. Now, we meet Chelsea's new boyfriend (!!!!) and explore what …

Esther Perel Live at Now Hear This Festival

October 17th, 2017


If you are or ever plan to be in a relationship, you need to know Esther Perel, The Patron Saint of Relationships. Known for her TED Talks, her brilliant book, Mating in Captivity, and her captivating podcast, Where …

Unbroken (#metoo)

October 24th, 2017


Sexual violence thrives in silence, and it's hard to talk about... so we don't. But rape survivor Sarah Super refuses to be quiet, and has dedicated …

Chapter 2

October 31st, 2017


Hope and Aaron died on the exact same day. Each leaving behind their spouse, their child, and all the love their small families had created. Nearly three years later, their spouses have remarried. But don't you dare say …

What Does All This Loss Mean?

November 7th, 2017


Dead sister. Dead grandma. Dead grandpa. Dead uncle. Dead mom. Dead dad. Dead brother. The list of loss goes on and on for Jaamil, and so does his …

The Truth We Live

November 14th, 2017


Amee doesn’t have a dad. But she used to. He was the best. He was the worst. And he claims that he doesn’t remember any of it.

Introducing Childhood

November 21st, 2017


Malena is 10 years old, and she worries a lot. About her grades. About her procrastination. About her dad. Especially about her dad. Kids are the …

Happy(ish) Holidays II

November 28th, 2017


Lauren’s brother died at Thanksgiving. And her mother at Christmas. So… this time of year it’s not all Ho Ho Ho for her. Or for a lot of other …

Live with Dessa, Alyssa Limperis and Geoffrey Wilson

December 5th, 2017


TTFA is live from the historic Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, MN! Featuring conversation with writer/rapper/entrepreneur Dessa, who took to …

Incompatible With Life

December 12th, 2017


At 32 weeks pregnant, Cat and Jim find themselves planning for their son’s death while hoping for his birth. This is a story of a life and a death, extraordinary in every way.

The Broken Places

February 6th, 2018


The Achilli siblings would like you to know that if there was a Dead Parent Contest (there's not), they would win the gold medal. In 2008, their dad …


February 13th, 2018


Megan and Clark have a good life with a lot of perfect moments. They’re also both medical professionals — Clark a radiologist, Megan a physician. So …

The Use of These Memories

February 20th, 2018


When Taz’s mother dies, Taz begins to give a long, hard look at her religious and spiritual beliefs. Many of us believe that there’s a thin space between life and death, and that this veil is lifted when we are near …

Revenge of the Porn

February 27th, 2018


Stacy made a decision when she was 17 years old that felt crappy at the time but also like the right thing to do. She didn't know then that sending …


March 6th, 2018


Charlotte’s career is built on theoreticals. As an operating room nurse, she has a protocol for every tragedy — a “then” for every “if.” That all …

Route 91

March 13th, 2018


On the eve of Kelli's 25th birthday in 2017, she and her boyfriend find themselves running for their lives in a dystopian nightmare.

They'd planned to spend the weekend in Las Vegas at the Route 91 country music …


March 20th, 2018


Sometimes change happens organically, by an external driving force or through no choice of our own. And some transformations happen as a matter of …

Bryson’s Purpose

March 27th, 2018


Chelsey and Kevin's 3-month-old son, Bryson, was in his second week of daycare when he died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

When a baby …


May 1st, 2018


Religion often gives people a sense of belonging. It tells them who’s in and sometimes (depending on the faith, or depending on the microcosm of the faith they're raised in) who's out.

That's how Patricia grew up — in …


May 8th, 2018


Karen tried for years to get pregnant before she and her husband Dave decided to give up on the idea. When Karen goes go the doctor to have a small lump checked out, she learns that — surprise! — she’s three months …

The Gold And The Broken Bits

May 15th, 2018


Chris was born with cerebral palsy. Growing up, his parents taught him he can be anything he wants to be. They raised Chris to stay positive — to get on with it no matter what.

But “getting on with it” isn't always so …

Rose Tulip

May 22nd, 2018


The difference between a love story and a military love story is just one word, but that word represents a huge scheduling issue: the military. …

Fairy Dust

May 29th, 2018


Lesly is a mother of three and a three-time cancer haver living on borrowed time. All of her treatment options have been exhausted, and the only thing that might save her is a bone marrow transplant ... which she can't …

About Bob

June 5th, 2018


When Laura gets a call from the hospital telling her that her dad has severe frostbite and could die, Laura is shocked. Not because of the whole …


June 12th, 2018


The world is a hard place when you’re a Black woman. It’s even harder when you are a Black woman who has survived domestic violence. It’s even harder …

Expect Good Things

June 19th, 2018


Justin is living in a sort of limbo that’s hard for us to really try to imagine. He’s 27 years old. He’s a handsome dude. He’s married. And he’s got …

The Stories We Tell

June 26th, 2018


The stories we hear about our parents and grandparents are often an intergenerational game of telephone. Even the ones we think we know by heart, …

Listen to This: Reply All — An Ad for the Worst Day of Your Life

July 10th, 2018


Matt's wife died a decade ago. Now, everywhere he goes on the internet, he can't escape advertisements for clickbait sites with her picture on it. This week, Super Tech Support tries to help out.

Further reading:

Matt's …

Listen to This: Forever35 – Just Say No with Nora McInerny

July 18th, 2018


This week Nora wants you to listen to an amazing podcast called Forever35. Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir talk about self-care and how to get some in their (and your) lives. On this episode, they also talk to an …

Listen to This: Borrowed Interest — Difficult Women

July 26th, 2018


Borrowed Interest is a podcast hosted by three ad-women of color -- Leeya Jackson, Shareina Chandler, and Amalia Nicholson - kicking it in the …

Listen to This: TBTL — What The Hell Is An Orange Julius?

August 1st, 2018


Nora steps in to guest host the podcast that just might be Too Beautiful To Live -- a delightful daily show about life, current events, pop culture, …


August 7th, 2018


You only live once … unless you're Leilani, because Leilani has died five times. FIVE! She was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy when she …

So Many Things At Once

August 14th, 2018


Cancer is rude. We know this. And it’s been very rude to Rachel. Every time her life and career are going in the direction she wants them to … BAM. The cancer’s back.

When you’re a young woman, and when your life plans …

Ripped From The Headlines

August 21st, 2018


Jamie Hahn was 29 years old when she was murdered by Jonathan Broyhill — the guy who had been the best man in her wedding to her husband, Nation.

How Are You?

August 28th, 2018


No, like, really. We ask this question of all of our guests, but we asked you, too. And you answered! You're...all over the place. And that's okay. PS-- please help Nora make #fansofhans happen.

You can catch up with …

Two Letters

September 4th, 2018


Annie's husband Jim died by suicide. After his death, she got into a bad space of her own. Then came the letters.

You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast.

Check out our sponsors …


September 11th, 2018


Nathan grew up knowing he was different. And what scared him more than who he is, was the idea that who he is was at odds with God, and his family, and the world he belonged to. provides crises …

What Do You Say About Suicide? (Part 1)

September 18th, 2018


You know what people hate talking about? Dreams. Politics. Religion. Also: suicide. But it's important that we talk about the hard stuff (and it's …

What Do You Say About Suicide? (Part 2)

September 25th, 2018


We're *still* not done talking about suicide. And neither are you.

If you're looking for resources on suicide, here are some good places to start:

Be The One To -

National Alliance on Mental …

Soooo OCD

October 2nd, 2018


OCD is one of those acronyms we use to say, "I'm a little quirky" or "I like my room to be VERY clean." But what does it mean to actually live with OCD? I have no idea, so we asked people who do.

You can catch up with …


October 9th, 2018


Talia grew up in a small Orthodox Jewish community with lots of rules and expectations, many of them surrounding dating and courtship. If you aren’t …

Update on Nebach

October 17th, 2018


A quick update and clarification on our recent “Nebach” episode.


October 17th, 2018


It's winter in Kansas, and Heather is back in her hometown, facing her abuser for the first time.

You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis.

The Beautiful Ones

October 23rd, 2018


If we're lucky, we can learn to love ourselves. But if we love the way we look? Well, people tend to look down on that. But not Gigi. Gigi loves herself. And how she looks. And you know what? YOU SHOULD, TOO.

You can …

The Skydiving Belle And The Butterfly

October 30th, 2018


People say there are nine circles of hell. If so, Ashley's been to at least six of them. When she wakes up in an Intensive Care Unit, Ashley learns that she was in a house fire. She learns that her boyfriend was also in …

T-T-T-Today, Junior!

November 6th, 2018


“I’m sorry, did I stutter?” No, you didn’t. But Erin did. Erin does. And in this episode, she tells us what it’s like to live with a speech impediment that people still use as a comeback and make jokes about.

Can’t get …


November 13th, 2018


Sheridan's dad died by suicide when she was 6 years old. Growing up, she feared suicide was her legacy. This fear worsened as she got older and began …

Don’t Should Yourself

November 20th, 2018


Two things that grief brings you: Kleenex and hotdish. Two other things? Anger and people telling you what you should or shouldn't do.

Grandma Ruth …

Happy(ish) Holidays III

November 27th, 2018


In our final episode of the season we are talking about... The Holidays. Which are a time of reflection and anticipation. Of looking back at what we …

Listen to This: The Slowdown

January 23rd, 2019


Need a slight daily readjustment of your point of view? A moment to focus and meditate on something besides your to-do list?

We want to introduce you to The Slowdown. It's a podcast we love where every weekday, U.S. …

Where Are They Now?

January 29th, 2019


Our episodes end. Obviously. But the lives whose stories we tell… they keep going. So today we are going to get back in touch with some old friends …

The Treatment

February 5th, 2019


Rachel Haines is really good at gymnastics. And when you're really good at a really demanding sport, you eventually deal with injuries. At age 12, Rachel hurts her hamstring. At age 15, she fractures her spine.

Both …

A Bailey Moment

February 12th, 2019


Parenting is never what we expect it to be. But most of us don’t expect to be afraid of our 9-year-old child … or to have to hide from him to protect …

The Bride Price

February 19th, 2019


Every wedding has a at least a little bit of drama. For Mai Neng Moua and her mother, Yer Vu, their mother/daughter wedding drama was about who they were, and who they wanted to be.

You can catch up with TTFA on

The Intended Outcome

February 26th, 2019


After fertility treatments fail, Deya and Sandra decide to adopt a child through the foster system. They have a lot of love to give. They also know the intended outcome of foster care is for the child to reunite with …


March 5th, 2019


Jenny and Michelle are the kind of twin sisters you see in movies. They’ve got the twin telepathy. They’ve done the switching places shenanigans. The sisters are so connected, so in sync, that Michelle feels like she …

Sad and Lucky

March 12th, 2019


Sad! And Lucky! Those are things you can be! Includes an essay from Nora's book, No Happy Endings, available where books are sold except like, …

Concentric Circles

March 19th, 2019


Six weeks after 11 people were murdered by a mass shooter at the Tree of Life mass shooting in Pittsburgh, we traveled to Pennsylvania to hear from …

Their Day

March 26th, 2019


October 27, 2018 was a big day for a lot of people in Pittsburgh for a lot of different reasons. For Nate, it was the day of his bar mitzvah. For Matthew and Adam, it was the day of the naming ceremony for their two …

A Way of Seeing The World

April 2nd, 2019


"Stronger Than Hate" is what everyone said in response to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. But what does that mean? In this third and final episode in our series from Pittsburgh, we talk to all types of …

Listen To This: TED Talks Daily

April 16th, 2019


While we are away for a few weeks we want to make sure you are listening to what we're listening to. And what we're doing.

So today, an episode of the podcast TED Talks Daily, where hear a new TED talk every day. And …

Listen to This: Hope Chest

April 30th, 2019


We love this podcast, and we want you to hear it.

Hope Chest is a personal essay audio series written, produced, edited, and sound-designed by Stacia Brown. It tackles motherhood, single- and co-parenting, raising a …

Happy Friggin’ Mother’s Day

May 7th, 2019


It's that special time of year when we look long and hard at our own mothers and at ourselves as mothers. So, how do we all measure up? In this TTFA listener-submitted episode, we hear from you, the Terrible community, …

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

May 21st, 2019


As a new psychotherapist, Lori Gottlieb has a lot of ideas about what a therapist is supposed to be and how a therapist is supposed to act. Therapists are here to help us, of course, but they aren’t supposed to become …


May 28th, 2019


Cane Roberts has lived in a number of places, but which places can he actually call home?

You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis.

You can …


June 11th, 2019


In the very first episode of TTFA, you met Nora’s friend Moe. Nora and Moe are both widows, and in the summer of 2019 they went on a mini road trip to promote Nora’s newest book about widowhood and grief. At each stop …


June 18th, 2019


When most people meet Aiko, they think she’s just a really picky eater. But it’s much more complicated than that. Aiko has avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, or ARFID. She gets extremely anxious and panicked if …

A Face In The Crowd

June 25th, 2019


In August 2017, members of the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist groups descended on Charlottesville, VA to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee as part of the Unite the Right rally. Constance was …

Listen to This: Brains On!

August 13th, 2019


Feelings! We all have them! So what are they and where do they come from?

The amazing show Brains On! has a new series that explores the science of feelings. We love this and want you to listen, so we're giving you a …

It Just Happens

August 27th, 2019


In 2015, Jayson and Stacy's 2-year-old daughter, Greta, was killed while she was sitting on a bench in New York City. A loose brick from the building …

Ryan + Tiffany

September 3rd, 2019


In high school and college, Ryan was … kind of a jerk. He didn’t treat his girlfriends well and had warped ideas of what it meant to “be a man.” As …

Love, Babs

September 10th, 2019


Maynard travels a lot for his job. His wife, Barbara, often goes with him so they can make a mini vacation out of it. If she can’t tag along, they keep in touch via phone calls and little love notes.

When Maynard heads …

An Update on Horrible and Wonderful and Figuring It Out

September 17th, 2019


Harris Wittels was the executive producer of "Parks and Recreation," the coiner of the word "humblebrag," a Phish enthusiast, and the funniest person in any room he walked into. He died of a heroin overdose in 2015, …

Former Life

September 24th, 2019


Kelsey and Louie’s life is blessedly boring in the best kind of way. They have good jobs. They live in the suburbs. They have a kid.

When Kelsey gets pregnant again, everything changes. Not just because they’re about …

The Americans

October 1st, 2019


Siblings Syeda and Syed are 16 and 17 years old when their father tells them that more than half of their little American family unit are …

Emily + Brian

October 8th, 2019


Emily and Brian, like many couples, have had both ups and downs during their relationship. About a week before their third wedding anniversary, Emily gets the sense that things are down again.

It’s just a feeling. …

The Gift of Time

October 15th, 2019


Karen grew up with two sick parents — two sick but incredibly loving parents. Her mom died when Karen was just 10 years old, and her dad has dealt …

Our Parents' Debts

October 22nd, 2019


When Cortney's dad dies, her mother grieves the way a lot of people do: by buying things to fill the void, sometimes things she can't afford. By age 15, Cortney is helping her mom pay the bills. By her 20s, when her mom …

God's Plan

October 29th, 2019


Caleb Campbell knew growing up that God’s plan for his life was sports. And when you believe that God himself is responsible for your football career, you feel a LOT of pressure to succeed.

By the time he makes it to …

What Happened to You? (Part 1)

November 5th, 2019


We all kind of understand that what happens to us as a child affects us as an adult, but there is recent evidence that the way our childhoods affect …

What Happened to You? (Part 2)

November 12th, 2019


If the terrible things that happened to you during childhood can affect your physical health later in life, how do you NOT live out the worst possibilities for yourself? Is that even possible? In this second episode of …

What Happened to You? (Part 3)

November 19th, 2019


In our third and final episode in our series on childhood trauma, we take a look at the bigger picture — as in, what the heck are we supposed to do with the knowledge that what happened to us as kids can affect our …

Happy Podiversary (We’re 3!)

November 26th, 2019


If you’ve listened to this podcast since the beginning, or since the middle, or even if you’ve only listened to a few episodes, we want to say thank …

Listen to This: Fading Minds

December 11th, 2019


It's something we all dread. It's also something most of us probably don't understand too well: Alzheimer's Disease. Drug companies have spent …


December 23rd, 2019


In life, the only thing that remains constant is change. As TTFA goes through our own major changes, we explore what change really means to us.

You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using …

Listen to This: Tremendous Upside

February 6th, 2020


What happens when an athlete’s body is in peak condition but the mind is throwing flags? On Tremendous Upside, Women's Basketball Hall of Famer …

The Happiness Equation

February 18th, 2020


Neil Pasricha’s life is falling apart. His marriage, which gave him a sense of purpose and value, is over. His best friend has died by suicide. Therapy helps, but he still struggles with all of the negativity swirling …

I See Big Things For You

February 25th, 2020


Pam and Steve have just gotten married and are getting ready to celebrate with friends and family at their upcoming wedding reception in just a few days … but first, they gotta head to the north woods of Minnesota to …

It Hurts

March 2nd, 2020


Jessica’s sobriety story is like a lot of other sobriety stories you’ve heard. She put in the work and did what she had to do to stop doing the thing that was going to kill her. At the same time, Jessica’s sobriety …

Man’s Best Friend

March 10th, 2020


Dan and Darren have been friends for decades. They hit all of their major adult milestones together — jobs, marriage, kids. They planned on becoming …

9 Things

March 17th, 2020


Laura McKowen is sober. Drinking used to be her "thing," and what she's learned in sobriety is that we all have a thing — something we'd be better …

For The Next Ten Minutes

March 24th, 2020


When you believe that love will never, could never happen to you, it feels like a miracle when it finally does. This is the story of a young man …

Emily and Chanel

March 31st, 2020


In 2015, a young woman was sexually assaulted on the Stanford University campus. The crime (and specifically, the man who committed it) dominated …

Welcome To The Club

April 14th, 2020


Stuff is hard right now. Like, really hard. If you feel like you're hanging onto a rapidly fraying rope? You are not alone. Not by a long shot.

The bad news about the Terrible Club? Your membership is non-negotiable. …

How's It Going In There?

April 21st, 2020


It can be hard to be honest with ourselves, especially when something terrible is happening EVERYWHERE and to EVERYONE and we don’t want to call too …

Bad Moms

April 28th, 2020


Do you need to laugh? Do you need to laugh REALLY HARD? Well, good. Because Nora turned the hilarious movie Bad Moms into a novel. It’s fun and funny and a perfect escape for right now, and you get the first three …

Life After Certainty

May 5th, 2020


Kate Bowler grew up in a Mennonite church and has spent her academic career studying the prosperity gospel, aka the belief that God wants you to do well in life. Ever heard the phrase, "Everything happens for a reason"? …


May 12th, 2020


This isn’t *technically* our 100th episode but rather the episode we made as soon as we’d learned that we’d already well surpassed 100 episodes (thanks, Jon in fundraising)! It’s an episodes about milestones and …


May 19th, 2020


Layoffs. Redundancies. Furloughs. Right-sizing. There are so many ways to say, “Whoops, sorry, you don’t have a job here anymore,” and Sarah Hagi has …

The Other Side Of Belonging

May 26th, 2020


Jen was a perfect prototype of evangelical woman subculture. She followed the rules close enough to not be problematic but had just the right amount …

Policing and Racial Trauma with Angela Davis

June 9th, 2020


For many people, the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was the latest graphic instance of a Black American being killed by the police -- and his …

Salome's Choice

June 16th, 2020


Salome and Isaiah can't wait to become parents to Isaac and Joy, children they've come to love after multiple visits to Isaiah's home country of …

Untying Knots

June 23rd, 2020


Sometimes our parental relationships are a little tangly. We’re wrapped up in big, old knots from strings that were already jumbled up before we were …

What's Gonna Happen To Me?

August 18th, 2020


When we left Britt, she finally had a good relationship with her biological dad for the first time in 33 years. She has her own solid family unit …

David’s Excellently Sad Adventure

August 25th, 2020


Here's the thing: We do not like describing grief as a "journey." But when your grief involves a literal road trip across the country, what other …

Ride Through It

September 1st, 2020


Lyndsey and her mother have a shared love of horses. They both compete in dressage (Google it). They ride together after their daily farm chores are finished. But Lyndsey is more naturally gifted in the saddle than her …

Come Meet Drayden

September 8th, 2020


Drayden is a Black boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His mother, Dana, has been consistently fighting and pushing to get him the diagnosis and …

Black Widow

September 15th, 2020


Leslie is a Black widow. No, not the spider — a Black human woman whose husband died. Because eventually, when she least expected it, she DID finally find a guy (whom she had already found once before). This episode is …


September 22nd, 2020


Jennell's home life was difficult growing up, and the Pentecostal church she attended was the only place she truly felt safe. A talented vocalist, …

Are You Tenants Of This Building?

September 29th, 2020


In May 2020, a viral video filmed by two young men pushed them to the top of everyone’s news feed. Suddenly, it seemed the whole world knew what had …

Fine, I Guess?

October 6th, 2020


A typical arc for stories on this podcast is that things are bad, very bad. And then, they’re ... not great, but are at least a little better. For author and comedian Samantha Irby, life is all good and all bad all at …

Addiction, Language and Education

October 13th, 2020


How do we talk about addiction in more productive ways? How do we hold empathy and boundaries together? What does it mean to "recover"? Nora has no …

What About Your Friends?

October 20th, 2020


We know that romantic and familial relationships are work, and we respect the time it takes to maintain healthy relationships with our partners and …

Miss North Dakota

October 27th, 2020


In 2012, Rosie became the first Black woman to win the Miss North Dakota pageant. She got to do what she loves most — play music and perform! — and …

Deep Dive w/ Kate Kennedy

November 3rd, 2020


Something to get your mind off of the craziness of this 2020 Election Day, featuring friend of the pod Kate Kennedy, host of “Be There in Five.”

Our twice-monthly newsletter features behind-the-scenes content, previews …

Rebecca Black is Back

November 10th, 2020


Ten years ago, Rebecca Black was a 13-year-old girl who made a music video with her friends honoring everyone's favorite day of the week (you know …


November 17th, 2020


We all have to find our way to our adult selves. As an author, filmmaker and co-founder of a mass movement --  the Women’s March -- Paola’s adult …

Happyish Holidays 2020

November 24th, 2020


This episode features conversations with people doing the best they can in difficult circumstances. Like Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, whose husband Dr. Paul …

What's Negative About Positivity?

December 1st, 2020


Good vibes only? Not on this podcast, and not when Susan David is in the room. For years, Susan has been leading the conversation about the value of *all our feelings* and how no emotion is bad or good. Here is the …

The Milkman's Baby

December 8th, 2020


Morgan Jerkins spent many months piecing together the patchwork of her own family history, and many weeks literally wandering in the lands they had been rooted to so many years before. Hers is a story about the …

Just Like Us

January 5th, 2021


Are stars just like us? After a conversation with Busy Philipps… you will 100% think so. Hers is a story of finding and owning your weirdness, using revenge as a fuel source to drive you to success, and what to do when …

Update: Chelsea from Forever Alone?

January 12th, 2021


Way back in 2017, we did two episodes with Nora’s friend Chelsea, who was sure she was going to be alone FOREVER...and then met Brian. Their …

A Simple Choice (Part 1)

January 19th, 2021


There are (many) crossroads in a relationship, but Mark is at a big one: his girlfriend Melissa wants kids, and he doesn’t. In part 1 of this story, …

A Simple Choice (Part 2)

January 26th, 2021


After losing his mother and his first wife Karen, Mark found new love with Melissa, one of the nurses who took care of Karen in her final days. They’re working together to overcome Mark’s fear of more loss, more death. …

Fairplay at Home

February 2nd, 2021


America is in a care crisis. Women, especially mothers, are leaving the workforce in staggering numbers in this pandemic era. They're buckling under …

That Good Night

February 9th, 2021


It’s not just dying that is hard. It's not just the prospect of death. It's the recognition of it. It’s the conversation around it... which is often no conversation at all. In this episode, we talk with Dr. Sunita Puri …

When You Care for a Living, Who Cares for You?

February 16th, 2021


Care connects all of us. In this episode, we talk to Jonny, a domestic worker, and Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance about the people who take care of our homes, our families and our communities — the …

For All the Caregivers

February 23rd, 2021


Caregiving has always been hard work … and heart work. It has always been challenging, rewarding, grueling and life-giving. It has always been work worth doing, and work whose worth is challenged or hard to quantify. …

Don't You Want Somebody to Take Care of You?

March 2nd, 2021


Gina became a caregiver at a young age. By age 6, she was emotionally responsible for her mother, her brothers and herself, and she learned to mute …

Tiny & Snail

March 9th, 2021


Leah loves to make things. Growing up, she loved to draw and paint. In college, she started her own comic. As an adult, she’s built tiny homes from …

Data Points

March 16th, 2021


Teresa fantasized about falling in love as much as any other teenager growing up. But because Teresa never saw people like her on TV or in movies — …


March 23rd, 2021


Cynthia is a Latina adult woman living with autism. In this episode, she lets us in on her world, what her life was like growing up, and what she …

Big Comfort

March 30th, 2021


Gaby Dunn is a podcaster, a YouTuber, a writer, an actor and a bi-con. She’s bi-sexual and bi-polar, and in this episode, she talks to us about all …

That's So Chad

April 6th, 2021


Many of us have been forced to adopt a new way of grieving over the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our ability to properly mourn the way we need to when a loved one dies. We can’t safely gather by the …

The Gift

April 13th, 2021


Edith Eger was 16 years old when the Nazis invaded Hungary during World War II. She was imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp with her family.

Checky Listy

April 20th, 2021


Maggie has always been a planner. The kind of person who enjoys planning a thing almost as much as she loves doing the thing. The kind of person who adds something they’ve already completed to a checklist just for the …

A Good Death

April 27th, 2021


We all want a good death — a death where we’re surrounded by the people we love and don’t feel any fear or pain. A good death is what Ron Deprez wanted when his body became ravaged by ALS… and thanks to his daughter, …

Don't Ask Nora

May 4th, 2021


Nora loves giving advice, especially when the questions are really easy and really low stakes. In this episode, she answers a few of your frequently …

Leticia & Anthony (Part 1)

May 11th, 2021


Leticia was 16 years old when she got pregnant with her son, Anthony. As you might imagine, raising a child more or less on your own when you’re only …

Leticia & Anthony (Part 2)

May 18th, 2021


In our last episode, you met Leticia and her son Anthony. At the end of part one, things were finally looking good for both mother and son: Anthony had just welcomed his own daughter into the world; Leticia had married …

Name It

May 25th, 2021


Ryan’s life often feels like a Venn diagram. Ryan the person loves listening to metal and The Grateful Dead. Ryan the person is a sneakerhead who …

Mailbag #1 - TTFA PREMIUM

May 25th, 2021


Our weekly TTFA episodes are and always will be free to all listeners.

For folks who want *even more* Terrible in their lives, we created TTFA …

Bread, Sweat and Tears

June 1st, 2021


At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of folks got really into bread baking. Banana bread! Biscuits! Sourdough! (So much sourdough.) …

From The Edge

June 8th, 2021


If you know what it feels like to be on the brink of an emotional meltdown, you’re not alone. Many of us feel like we’re at the end of a rapidly …

Therapy 101 With Dr. Anna Roth - TTFA PREMIUM

June 22nd, 2021


Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll get when you join us on TTFA Premium. For $8 a month, you can support our show AND get ad-free episodes and bonus content — including mailbag episodes like this one. Sign up today at

Mailbag #2 - TTFA PREMIUM

July 13th, 2021


Our weekly TTFA episodes are and always will be free to all listeners.

For folks who want *even more* Terrible in their lives, we created TTFA …

"An Ordinary Age" With Rainesford Stauffer - TTFA PREMIUM

August 6th, 2021


Our weekly TTFA episodes are and always will be free to all listeners.

For folks who want *even more* Terrible in their lives, we created TTFA …


August 10th, 2021


Adoption is often viewed as a happy ending, and sometimes it is! But for Thenedra, her experiences as a child in the foster care system and later as a trans-racial adoptee were — and still are — much more complicated …


August 17th, 2021


Children are often taught to respect and honor their parents. For Elissa, this is complicated by the fact that her mother has narcissistic …

Sh*tty First Drafts with Anne Lamott

August 19th, 2021


Welcome to the Terrible Reading Club, sponsored by Betterhelp Online Therapy. Think of it as our book club for truly terrible times. Haven’t read the …

Friends To The End

August 24th, 2021


It’s rare to have a friendship that actually lasts forever, but that’s what Josie and Miles have. When Miles’s cancer comes back after years of remission, Josie is there for him every step of the way … until there are …

Her Name Was Heather

August 31st, 2021


Melissa is the epitome of responsible. She loves following rules and has spent her whole life trying to be the best person possible. But accidents …

Ghost Kingdom

September 7th, 2021


High school is a miserable time for Hannah for all of the usual reasons that our teen years are awful … but also for an extra reason. Hannah is …

The Grudge Book

September 14th, 2021


About six years ago, Nora took a notebook and wrote down all of the grudges she was holding against people ... and then, she left that notebook in a …

The Grudge Book Continued - TTFA PREMIUM

September 16th, 2021


Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll get when you join us on TTFA Premium. For $8 a month, you can support our show AND get ad-free episodes and bonus content — including mailbag episodes like this one.

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Kari (Part 1): Aaron

September 21st, 2021


Kari and Aaron had vastly different childhoods. Kari’s was filled with adventures, laughter and silliness. Aaron grew up in a complicated religious …

5/5 Stars with John Green

September 23rd, 2021


We’re back with another Terrible Reading Club episode, sponsored by Betterhelp Online Therapy. Think of it as our book club for truly terrible times. …

Kari (Part 2): Sloan

September 28th, 2021


You learn to expect the unexpected when you’re a new parent — and for Kari and Aaron, the list of unexpected things is long when it comes to their …

So Beautiful and Awful

October 5th, 2021


Lynda and her daughter, Sophia, have a busy day ahead of them. First, a bike ride to train for an upcoming sprint triathlon. That evening, a dinner party. In between, a funeral to honor a friend. When Lynda wakes up in …

Saving Us

October 12th, 2021


If you’re sent into an anxiety spiral every time you hear the words “climate change,” you’re not alone. Everything we read these days tells us that the clock is ticking down, and there is nothing we as individuals can …

“No Cure for Being Human” With Kate Bowler - TTFA Premium

October 14th, 2021


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Why Are You Up?

October 19th, 2021


Sleep experts the world over seem to have countless tips and tricks for getting those eight hours of Zzzs each night. But sometimes our brains just … can’t shut down, no matter what we do. Nora recently asked you, the …

A Life Interrupted with Suleika Jaouad

October 21st, 2021


Welcome to the Terrible Reading Club, sponsored by Betterhelp Online Therapy. Think of it as our book club for truly terrible times. Haven’t read the …

Toothless Little Wonders

October 26th, 2021


Sometimes the humans we need love and support from the most just aren’t able to give it to us. When that happens, who do you have? If you’re Adrienne, you have Luke, a giant German Shepherd.  

The Luke Legacy Fund is a …

A Dog Named Rogue - TTFA Premium

October 29th, 2021


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Independent Woman

November 2nd, 2021


Grief doesn’t always mean the loss of a person. It can also mean the loss of who you used to be. The loss of the life you thought you were going to …

War Stories

November 9th, 2021


When one of the people in a relationship is dead, the relationship becomes a bit one-sided. Your version of who that person is and was is obscured by all of your own biases, your commitment to your version of the truth, …


November 16th, 2021


Angela and Jeff have an awesome marriage. They share the same life goals, the same ideologies. Their life together is peaceful and easy, and they …

Her Best Wasn’t Good Enough with Danielle Henderson

November 18th, 2021


We’re back with another Terrible Reading Club episode, sponsored by Betterhelp Online Therapy. Think of it as our book club for truly terrible times. …

Becoming Jolie

November 23rd, 2021


The internet and social media are a huge way for us to be seen as individuals. We share our lives online because it gives us connection … and because it gives us attention. But that attention isn’t always positive. …

(Romy and Michele and) Nora’s High School Reunion - TTFA Premium

November 26th, 2021


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Meet Amanda

November 30th, 2021


When you introduce yourself to someone for the first time, you start by telling them your name and (maybe!) a few facts about you. The other person takes the information at face value. There’s no judgment, no opinion …

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