Putting Reality On Hold

Thursday, February 24th, 2011 • 8 Comments on Putting Reality On Hold

There was a time when I followed politics and current events. Not so much anymore. Oh, I know what’s going on in Egypt and Libya, about the ridiculous vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood, about President Obama renouncing the definition of marriage, about the earthquake in New Zealand, about crazy politicians who want to criminalize miscarriage. I know the headlines, I suppose. The big stuff. Which (sad to say) is more than many people know. (True story: A Facebook friend posted as her status, “I don’t know what’s going on in Egypt, but it looks scary!”)

What I don’t know are the nuances, the details that can only be had by reading multiple news sources and gleaning information from different perspectives. Somewhere in the past two years I’ve let my political and current events reading fall by the wayside. I know what precipitated it—pregnancy. I stopped watching the news all together when I was pregnant with Patrick—too many tragic stories that would turn me into a weeping puddle of maternal mush—and reading newspapers and news sites quickly fell by the wayside with a newborn. Then I simply never returned to it.

I feel guilty sometimes, not knowing as much as I should about world events. I’m a parent now, I feel as if I should know what’s going on in the world so I can protect my child(ren). But knowledge doesn’t necessarily give me that kind of ability, does it?  No, sometimes knowledge is not power. Sometimes knowledge about the big scary world outside my front door only brings worry and fear. And as I find myself back in the realm of hormonal pregnant women, the last thing I need on my mind when I go to bed at night are the tragedies of the world. I’m a coward like that when my hormones are ricocheting about like pinballs in a game.

And though it pains me to admit it, parenthood has cracked my hard exterior and made me a marshmallow when it comes to tragedy. Stories about children, in particular, will leave me in tears. I just cannot take that raw, exposed nerve-ending feeling and so I hide from the bad stuff and gravitate toward laughter and sunshine. The same is true of fiction, as well. I nearly lost it just watching the trailer of Rabbit Hole. Making me sit through the movie would be cruel and unusual punishment.

By the end of summer, I will be responsible for two young lives in this world. I know at some point I will pick up the newspapers and news magazines again, add the news sites to my favorites again, watch the local news and national news on a regular basis again. It’s my responsibility as a parent to know what is going on so I can make the best decisions for my little ones. But for now, for the next six months or maybe even a year, I’m going to revel in laughter and sunshine and baby smiles and tummy flutters.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Pregnancy 2011, Pregnancy and Baby
  • Erobintica says:

    Over the years I’ve found that I’ve been more “into” the news at certain time than at others. Being a parent makes you narrow your priorities I think. Are my children fed, clothed, sheltered, happy? I remember not being able to handle certain news stories very well. As a parent it’s all to easy to insert yourself into someone else’s shoes. But I also think it’s silly to be the proverbial ostrich with it’s head in the sand. So, a balance is found. That balance changes over time, tilting one way then the other. I understand the guilt feelings (hell, my husband is a journalist and always knows what’s going on in the world). But try not to feel too guilty. wink  Methinks you won’t anyway. smile

  • Kristina says:

    The only time I feel guilty is when someone asks me my opinion about something and I don’t know enough to offer one. I hate that. But I know this is what I need for now, so I’m going with it. wink

  • You are wise to do a news fast while pregnant. I did the same, and I am a news junkie.
    Unfortunately our media uses scare tactics to keep us tuned in. That’s the least thing you need right now. You are going to have a healthy, beautiful baby this summer, and that’s all you need to be tuned into right now. If you really want to know what’s happening in the world – check out the BBC. They present the news factually without all the hype.
    (Thank you for your comment on my blog. I am praying for your healthy delivery and just KNOW that it’s going to be great! The baby I had in my forties is now five, he’s healthy, strong and unbelievably smart. Congratulations!)

  • Kristina says:

    Oh Hollye, thanks so much for your kind words. I truly am so sorry for your loss. I’m happy to have discovered your blog and your unique voice.

    Also glad I’m not the only one to avoid the news. I do like that phrase, “news fast.” Perfect.

  • Jo says:

    I am so with you on this. I hated that my daughter was born into a war. Watching new stories about ‘shecked and awed’ Iraqui women going into premature labour in ill equipped, bombed hospitals. Pah. Then 4 years later my son was born into the ongoing problems.

    I find I am always raw, still, these days. No more crime fiction, or drama for me. No weepy stories. Or news. I have no shell.

    The thing is, when I do know about the stuff, I dont’ do much other than get upset. not sure it makes much difference to the world if I know or don’t, but it means a lot to me.


  • Emerald says:

    For what it’s worth, taking a break from the news seems a potentially nourishing thing to me, and of course under the circumstances you describe it sounds called for from a practical standpoint.

    Hollye said,
    “Unfortunately our media uses scare tactics to keep us tuned in.”

    Indeed.  This is why it seems rejuvenating to me to do a news fast of a bit, just to take a break from that energy and allow our perspectives to orient or reorient in a different way or on a different level.  Some of us may feel less influenced by (what I see as) the energetic orientation of the general news industry in this country, but even if we engage with and react to it less, I do feel it affects us.

    Also for what it’s worth, I find feeling responsive to reports of suffering an indication of openness and understanding of Universal connection, even though it may feel painful (and of course that doesn’t mean I feel that we should deliberately expose ourselves to it, just that if we do find ourselves feeling resonance and compassion, I find what that indicates beautiful)—I feel much more concerned about the tendency or phenomenon of hearing the news and not particularly feeling much.  (Jo, I appreciate and feel moved by how you closed your comment.)

    I can also understand wanting to know things, Kris, as I have felt that way too and experienced the same situation of being asked about something and not knowing enough about it to feel solid about responding.  I appreciate Robin’s mention of balance—seems to be the (for me, historically often elusive!) key to almost everything.  smile 

    Hugs and health and love to you (and all)!

  • Kristina says:

    Thank you Jo and Em for your thoughtful words. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in my need for a break from the news, whether pregnant or not. I do wonder if I’m getting more sensitive as I get old(er). I was quite immune to things when I was younger and now… not so much. The 16 year old who could dissect a frog (dead upon arrival, but still) is long gone. Now I cry over a butterfly caught in a cold snap.

  • Emerald says:

    “I was quite immune to things when I was younger”

    I relate to this hugely.  I experienced myself as quite “hardened,” if you will, at least as related to people.  Of course I thought this made me “strong” and capable.  (To me it seems our society values these kinds of traits, even when they frankly are false, as they were in my case.)

    I see it now as the opposite, though I don’t blame myself for feeling that way or for the defense mechanisms I had in place (please know none of this is to imply anything about you at all—I am speaking solely of/for myself).  I could ramble at probably some length on the subject, so to spare your blog as such wink I’ll borrow one of my favorite quotes from A. H. Almaas that resonates deeply with me on the subject: “Being able to be vulnerable is the greatest strength.”

    I experienced the realization recently, for example, that crying for me means a singular, simple thing: that my heart is open.  I didn’t deduce this on purpose or find it by looking for an answer about it or anything like that…the insight simply came to me one time as I was brought to tears by something.  It became very obvious at that moment that crying was just an indication that my heart was open.  It has actually made me appreciate even more when I have felt brought to tears.

    American society, it seems to me, is uncomfortable with displays of emotion and does not nurture an open heart (related to what I said about our culture above).  But to me the sensitivity you described is something beautiful and indicative of wholeness and openness much more than what may seemed valued by our collective culture. 

    Two more quotes I love that seem related (and then I shall stop rambling for now, really!):

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -J. Krishnamurti

    “Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it.” -Albert Richard Smith

    Okay, sorry to ramble so much on your blog!  I’ve just found what you’ve said here so compelling.  Xoxox

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.