An interesting thing has happened: I can’t watch Grey’s Anatomy anymore. Silly to you, perhaps, but for this self-proclaimed TV junkie who has been following the show since its first season, this is crushing news.
I tried to watch the winter return episode last night while I was nursing Soph, but I should have known better. I forgot how the fall season ended — with Scott Foley’s death. How could I forget that, you ask? Because I didn’t actually watch it. I was SUPER pregnant and crying over commercials, nevermind the departure of an endearing character on one of my favourite shows. I figured I’d watch it later. Turns out, later means never. I just can’t do it, and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out why.
I started by examining my TV line-up over the seven weeks since Sophie’s arrival, and I realized I’ve avoided medical, cop and legal dramas at all costs. Give me re-runs of Say Yes to the Dress or Til Debt Do Us Part any day, but CSI or Law and Order? No, thank you. I didn’t even know this change was happening, and, honestly, this is not just a little seismic shift. This is a TV Land earthquake.
Now, why is it happening? Well, it’s sort of easy to figure out. Because a drama will always drag you through the muck in the name of entertainment. Because the underbelly of living is so much more interesting than the happy-shiny moments of our lives. Because in these shows, people get lost, in every sense of the word. Because people die. And I no longer want to be reminded so often that my girl is in a world where these things happen. Of course it’s TV — I’m not oblivious to the fact that TV shows bombard us with this situational stuff, much of which isn’t happening every day — but I just think about the fact that if these characters were real, they would have families, friends. Mothers. A bit ridiculous, maybe, but I’m not even two months post-partum and still just getting used to mommyhood.
I suppose I should have seen this coming, too. During my pregnancy, I couldn’t watch Private Practice because of the rare complications the writers dredged up to showcase Addison’s obstetrical skills (there’s probably some poor researcher on Shonda Rhimes’ payroll googling the bejesus out of medical anomalies). I thought it would go away once Sophie arrived, but apparently her birth has had the opposite effect and the feeling has infiltrated the rest of my shows.
Funny enough, my dad was the one to shed light on this, without even knowing how I was feeling (he’s amazingly astute this way). We were grocery shopping before Christmas and we’d stopped to have a cup of tea and he noticed that I was constantly glancing into the stroller to check on Sophie. He very gently, as is his way, said, “She’s OK, Katie. She’ll tell you if she isn’t.” I was a little embarrassed that I’d been caught out, but it gave me the opportunity to confess that I thought often about something happening to her (and now I realize that watching Dr. Karev doing surgery on an infant, or Benson and Stabler searching for a missing kid didn’t help). He told me that I was doing everything possible to look after her and that fretting wouldn’t change anything. It goes back to that blind faith and knowing that I can’t keep the kid from being out there (by the way, I was kidding about bubble wrapping her and taping her to the couch, obviously. Please don’t nominate me for that Bubble Wrap Kids show on TLC). He made me realize that hovering, checking on her a million times a day (okay, an hour), doesn’t make me a better parent. It will just make me crazy.
He’s right, of course, but the question still remains as to whether or not I’ll ever enjoy primetime TV again. It will take a while, I’m sure, but hopefully I’ll be able to hear my dad’s echo in my head whenever tragedy strikes at Seattle Grace (or, you know, in real life). For now, I’ll have to settle for watching on OnDemand and fast-forwarding through the sadness. It was a good thing I made it until the end last night, though — some happiness in the midst of all the trauma. I won’t spoil it for you, Grey’s fans, but it made this new mama bawl. In a good way.
Stay in touch
Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.