I’ve made an executive decision to stop watching the news. This is for my own mental health and the health of my four month old baby.
Prior to having a baby, I never watched the news. At 6pm most nights I was at work slaving away or at the pub drinking away (oh how I miss the later!). I have never felt the urgency to watch the news because I’m a facebook junkie. I usually find out about global disasters via facebook. For example, the NZ earth quakes were reported straight to my news feed by a cousin in Christchurch, ‘wow that was definitely a 6.3 aftershock’. I found out about Osama Bin Laden’s death’s because many of my friends status updates showed they ‘liked’ a page called ‘Osama Bin Laden’s dead’.
I never felt the urgent need to rush home for Peter Overton to tell me the days news because my facey friends always kept me in the loop via my iPhone whilst I sat at the pub having a vino or two. On the odd occasion it could have been 10 vinos but that’s a whole other story.
Since my baby entered my life 4 months ago, I have found I watch the news A LOT. This is no doubt because all the news bulletins seem to coincide with sitting down to feed the baby. There is the 7:30am feed = news with the today show team, the 11:30am feed = news with Kelly (don’t know her surname but I like her bulletin- she’s got great newsreader hair). There is the 3:00pm feed = Oprah (there is no news at 3:00pm but Oprah repeats are very informative… Did you know self sabotage is an addiction?) and then there is the 6:00pm feed = news with Pete. Yep the same Peter mentioned above, the guy I never felt the need to rush home and see. I now call him Pete. I feel we are close enough for nicknames now. Sometimes I feel I see more of him than I do of my hard working hubby. My poor daughter probably thinks Pete Overton is her Dad. Come to think of it she is smiling and giggling at the TV when the news comes on. Oh goodness my daughter thinks her Dad is the Anchorman! Paternity of my child aside, the reason I am no longer watching the news is because it makes me a) Anxious and paranoid and b) Increases my level of Mother Guilt.
You see every single bulletin has a health epidemic story. This week alone Australia has reached an all time high of whooping cough, a 7 year old boy is in hospital with meningococcal and an outbreak of swine flu has occurred at a school of 600 kids. So as a first time Mum whose bub is not fully vaccinated yet, stories like this are enough for me not to leave the house. I do venture out (I’d go mad if I didn’t as there are only so many times in a day you can wipe your kitchen bench down). After the 29th time, it’s time to get out!
Unfortunately it’s only when you’re aware of something that you start to look out for signs or you notice it more. It’s like when you find a car you like and think you might buy it, then you see that car everywhere! Or when you hear/ learn a new word and then all of a sudden that word is in every book, menu or on every sign you pass and you think ” How did I not know that word?”.
As soon as I hear a story that something has reached epidemic proportions, I am suddenly aware, way too aware, that everyone is coughing, sneezing and looking like they have a stiff neck! As soon as anyone coughs or sneezes my poor child gets thrown under a blanket like Michael Jacksons child Blanket! Then I’ll be bathing my bub and a red rash appears. I TOTALLY freak out. So I take photos of the rash, email them to my Mum and Sister with the subject line: URGENT- Is this meningococcal? I quickly get an email back from one of them “No it’s just a heat rash! How hot are you making her bath?”. My daughter is only 4 months old and she has been to the doctor 8 times. She has only once needed something from the pharmacy once (some moisturizer for her dry skin due to the hot bloody bath!).
I’m no longer going to watch the news because it makes me a hypochondriac. The news makes me paranoid. Good bye Pete, Kelly and Whooping cough symptoms and hello facebook friends! I’m just hoping my friends don’t start writing status like “my sons school has had a swine flu outbreak… Check your kids for fevers, dehydration and rashes” otherwise hypochondria will take over again!