Saturday, March 03, 2007

The News Blues

This past Wednesday I was talking to my mom on the phone. When we were hanging up, I admitted I really wanted to get back to watching America's Next Top Model.

"I can't believe you watch stuff like that," she said.

"Neither can I," I replied.

Here commenced a thoughtful reverie on why I was watching such vapid television, and what I came up with is that it's an antidote to seeing the "news."

For example, this week alone I saw:
  • Women's torso found in family home: Detroit has been consumed by this story. When it first broke, I said it was the husband but was secretly hoping this women went AWOL with some lover in the Caribbean; after all one can get a bit squirrely in Michigan at this point in the winter. Like about every new story lately, I couldn't help but think about the kids, who were probably in the house when this happened. It makes me feel sick.
  • Two boys killed: Shot in the head. 12 and 13. In their own home. By men who were not supposed to be out of jail, but apparently the system messed up and they got out and on their brief furlough, managed to kill two young kids.
  • Two and half year old tortured: This is the one that put me over the edge. The news station showed video stills from the video the mother found of her boyfriend torturing her two and half year old son. They showed stills because the video was so disturbing. I can't imagine it being worse. They didn't mute the sound though, and the cries of this young child haunt me. At the time I was watching this, I was nursing our Cricket and just started crying. I couldn't stop. I had to hold my baby very very tight and wonder just what the fuck is wrong with people. I can't imagine how the mother of this child is feeling-- The man's excuse? He said that was how they "play." I pray for this child every night.
  • Anything Anna Nicole: Look-- this is tragedy. A little girl has no mother and is surrounded by some pretty cagey people who seem to leave a trail of slime behind them. It's sad. She's dead. Stop already.
  • I swear I heard on the news this morning about a guy trying to get his 2 and 5 year old nephews to smoke pot. And then there's that bus that went over the guardrails. And men breaking into houses to steal people's dogs. And the tornadoes down south. The whole VA scandal.
  • ... and this is just the national news? Never mind the international scene.

At the brunch I was at a few weeks ago, one of the moms there talked about how she can't watch the same things she could watch before having children. I don't think there is anything innate about motherhood that makes someone feel more or less, but I do know that my hormones right now are w-h-a-c-k-e-d out, and that stories like the above are hitting me harder. At my six week check up with the midwives, they gave me a little questionnaire, not diagnostic they were quick to say, about post-partum. A woman is a risk, it was noted, if she scored 13 or above. I scored a 9, which prompted my midwife to say we should just be watchful.

Watching the local news may just push a person past thirteen.

I don't think I'm PPD, but I've definitely had the blues for a large part of this week. We're making some efforts around here to change that. One: I have to get out of the house, everyday, for at least 15 minutes. I have a hard time leaving Cricket. Two: We have "Katie-Saturdays" where I hand off responsibility for the kid any time I want. Somehow this makes my time with him even better. Just knowing I can ask Partner to take him helps. And well, that's it for now. I'd like to come up with some things I can do that aren't dependent on money, since, well frankly, it's in short supply lately. I'm so ready for spring. We walked on Wednesday-- all of us-- and the therapeutic benefits can't be denied. My threshold for taking Cricket out is forty degrees plus/minus 3.

The television, even Top Model, doesn't help. It's all vapid and noisy. (I do wish, however, there was network where I could watch continuous Grey's Anatomy, Coronation Street, and Rome.)

If I can plan it, which let's face it, isn't likely, I would never have a kid in winter again. I'd shoot for March-- Only one month of blech weather left, not much RSV season left, flu waning, spring sprouting, the sun returning... The weather itself more predictable and thus I'd probably watch far less local news (since really I'm watching for the extended weather forecast to see if we're going to be able to go for walks). And then in my dream of having a baby at this time, far far less TV in general since we'd be spending all our time in a hammock in the shade, on a blanket in the park, or strolling leisurely with a lemonade through town... Don't tell me it's not that way if you did have your baby in the summer. Let a girl dream. It's all I have. Oh. That and Top Model.


Blogger Suz said...

Thank goodness - someone else who watches ANTM. I almost laughed out loud at the "political" photo shoot and the poor girl who had no idea what it meant to be "anti-fur."

The twins were born in February. The sixth season of the Sopranos and Big Love got me through!

3:36 PM  
Blogger agoodlistener said...

It's all that and a bag of chips when you have a baby in summer. Our daughter was born in July and we took her everywhere. To be honest, Kathy was pretty uncomfortable in the Appalachian rainforest humidity where we lived at the time, but it was all worth it.

In re TV news: watch for a few days and you're afraid to leave your house.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Here's what I did post partum, skip the TV news and just read the paper or check online. No sound and you can stop reading if something gets to be too much. Go to input your zipcode and click the hour by hour tab.

I've found that I can watch most of the things that I watched before babies now, but in the months after giving birth it was a minefield. The hormones just wreak havoc!

9:13 AM  
Blogger frog said...

I love ANTM. And I miss you.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Michko said...

I don't want to dwell on the PPD stuff, but I had it BAD with No. 1. It was three weeks before any of us said, hey, maaaaayyyybe you should call the doctor about this. I think it's great that you're being proactive. It will make such a big, big difference.

Re: hormones, etc. I STILL cry at Disney movies, Hallmark commercials and anything even remotely heart-wrenching. Like the Johnson and Johnson commercial says, having a baby changing everything.

10:12 AM  

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