We heard from more than 400 of you when we asked you for your stories about when you've felt your class status the most. Our listener Cat in Chicago told us it's a question she's been waiting "literally 20 years for someone to ask."
Cat wrote to us about her best friend, Christine. They met in college, and have stayed really close in the years since. But when they both struggled to get pregnant, Cat had a lot more options. She describes herself as upper-middle class—she and her husband own their own home, and bring in more than six figures per year. Christine comes from a working class background, and the incomes she and her husband make in the theater industry barely cover their bills. So as Cat was able to afford the expenses of adopting a child, Christine was told by her doctors to keep trying to get pregnant naturally. It didn't happen.
"I feel this sort of guilt about kids," Cat told us. "I know that she knows about that. We've we've talked about that before."
I talked with Cat and Christine together about how their class differences have impacted their friendship and the families they've been able to build. "Over the years I have just kind of let go of a lot of things let go of of trying to compare or keep up," Christine says. "You want your best friend to have this awesome life. Of course you do."
We asked the people we interviewed for this series to submit photos of things they felt represented their class status. Cat sent us this photo of her living room. She wrote, "It is a super over-the-top room, but it was the first thing we saw when we walked into the house with the realtor and I just love it. Rumor is that the house was built by a mob attorney (as if you could get more Chicago than that); evidence in this room is that there's actually a wall safe hidden behind one of the panels."
This episode is part of our collaborative series with BuzzFeed called Opportunity Costs: Money and Class in America. To hear more, go to deathsexmoney.org/class.