I’m Petrified Of Watching The News Since Becoming A Mom
I first noticed something was wrong about two months after my first child was born. We were on the sofa popping in a film: Children of Men, the Clive Owen/Julianne Moore thriller. What could possibly be cooler than a Clive Owen/Julianne Moore thriller, I thought to myself. And then the plot began to unfurl â€“ a dead child, another dead child, a pregnant woman in peril â€“ and I realized, quite a lot, actually.
â€œTurn it off. Off. Turn it off,â€ I told my husband before curling into the fetal position. Movie night was over.
Movies â€“ and TV for that matter â€“ have never been the same since. It rarely takes more than two scenes before a baby goes missing, a mother is murdered, a father leaves home. Then, like Pavlovâ€™s dog, I reach for the remote. The news? Forget it. Kidnappings, abductions, school shootings and siegesâ€¦ even the healthcare wars in the U.S. reduced me to a hot, snivelling mess. Not a good look for a journalist. Itâ€™s got so my husband knows the only way to keep me from bursting into tears is to turn on ESPN, in which I have no emotional investment. That or a Friends rerun, and those start to grate after the sixth viewing.
I never expected motherhood would turn me into one of those sensitive viewers who networks warn to look away before a violent program. Iâ€™m the girl who used to host slasher-flick parties and followed the trials of serial killers like they were the World Cup. I made up drinking games around CSI: take a shot every time Gil Grissom makes a cryptic remark, and every time Marg acts like a bitch. Today I need a half-litre of vodka just to get through to the first commercial break â€“ and itâ€™s not nearly as entertaining.
Like someone with a wheat allergy, Iâ€™ve eventually learned to recognize, then avoid, hazardous material and live a fairly normal life. Then August ended and the 9/11 anniversary loomed. Suddenly every station was airing a news magazine program, documentary or dramatization about that horrid day, and everywhere I looked was a grieving child, parent or spouse. Iâ€™m not proud to say I checked out entirely, days before the actual memorial. I would have had to commit myself otherwise.
Sure, easy for me to say. Still, my weakness shows no signs of abating, and soon enough Iâ€™m bound to turn into one of those dramas Iâ€™m so put off by. Is this a common affliction? And when, my husband would like to know, will it start to ease? Will I grow up with my children and, perhaps by graduation day, be able to sit down with them as a family to a showing of Breaking Dawn?
I hope so, â€™cause Iâ€™m dying to hear what happens.