I will miss work. I'll still read the paper every day, as I have since at least high school, and I will certainly miss my colleagues. But it's definitely time for me to stop.
Last night, we had a discussion over whether to use a rather graphic image of an emaciated, naked African child at a hospital, to illustrate a story about famine. The worst thing is that it's basically a man-fueled famine. According to The NYT, an Islamist group is blocking starving people from fleeing Somalia, as well as forcing out Western aid organizations trying to bring in food.
The majority sentiment at work was that we should not pull our punches if we're going to report bad news -- famine happens; this is what it really looks like; and our job is to choose the most impactful presentation to force people to think outside their complacent daily lives.
A few of us balked briefly at the image, though nobody suggested pulling it outright. The division was not along lines of background, age or gender -- but along parental lines. The one person who said something is a parent. As for me, I'm an expectant mother. (But I didn't say much since I wasn't on page 1 duty and it wasn't my call to make).
Warning: The image below is probably not one you want to look at over your morning Corn Flakes. I kept the file small on purpose. (Click to enlarge)
I wonder if there is something to Gweipo's comment below, that becoming a parent makes you look at tragedy in a different way. That's not to say that those who are not parents are heartless or numb to the news -- all of us are rightfully upset when we see something terrible. But maybe going home to your own children every night makes you look at other people's children differently.
I had a strange experience last night. My right hand was on the mouse, clicking through images of other people's starving babies on my computer screen, while my left hand rested on my belly, where I could feel my own baby, healthy and moving and kicking. Half of my mind was on the technicalities of getting the paper out, and the other half was thinking about the fact that, within a few weeks, I would be feeding and loving my own child, who would have a far better life than the one I was looking at.
For all my love of work, it is definitely time to go. I need rest and more hours dedicated to sleeping, eating healthy food, stretching and gentle exercise. I need to do something about this edema. I have to prepare for a big physical challenge -- hopefully, natural birth. Sorry to go all New Age-y on you, but it's a problem of both body and mind. There's no way anyone can look at the news all day and not be affected or stressed. I need to clear that away and focus on my new life as a mother. Starting tomorrow...
Do you think parenthood changes the way you look at the news?
It might be interesting hearing from the many moms and dads who make their living as reporters, editors and journalists. Or from mothers and fathers in general.