I had already had two children without experiencing any pregnancy or infant losses, so I was shocked and completely blindsided when I lost my first pregnancy. Quite honestly, binge-watching Netflix shows got me through my pregnancy losses. I'd say it's the only thing that got me through, actually. That's how powerful a salve it was. My best friend flying in from Wisconsin so someone could play with my kids while I binge-watched and my partner taking care of everything else? Yeah, that was pretty awesome, too.
I am a gal that has had my fair share of mind-ravaging depression in my lifetime. So, fortunately, I knew instinctually that sometimes the pain is too great and numbing out is the best possible self-care I can do. In particularly emotionally grueling periods of grad school, I would binge-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. During my clinical internship, for some inexplicable reason, it was Roswell. For perinatal depression? Battlestar Galactica. For perinatal anxiety? Bring on 16 & Pregnant. During my college-era break up, I spent time with Friends. During every early-20s existential crisis, I broke out Law & Order SVU. I have got binge-watching down to an emotional-savior-science.
So as bizarre as this may sound, when I had my first miscarriage the only thing that seemed reasonable, or doable, was to curl up under the covers in the dark and worship Netflix on my iPad. Anything was better than the sickening ruminating mantra of "dead baby in my uterus, dead baby in my uterus, dead baby in my uterus" going through my head prior to the dilation and curettage (D&C) and "empty, empty, empty" after the D&C. When you're facing the indescribably pain that is a pregnancy loss, give my list of sanity-saving, binge-tastic Netflix shows that got me through my miscarriages a try.
"Pretty Little Liars"
As a former actor, some of my TV show choices should cause me to blush with the embarrassment of a fallen elitist. But they don't.
Pretty Little Liars was my saving grace during my first miscarriage. I had never seen the show before I came home from the D&C. I crawled in my rumpled bed covers, in my darkened room, and mindlessly scrolled through the titles. A show about four teenagers being stalked through high school via text message? Sign me up!
I'm totally lying. What got me was Lucy Hale. That face! I developed a mad high school-type crush that took my mind off other things and gave me something to obsess over. By the time my best friend left, he'd even sat through several episodes with me and bought me her country music CD. (Spoiler: I hate country music.)
Lucy, you're magic.
"Buffy The Vampire Slayer"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS) is going to make every binge-watching list from here to eternity. The first time I saw BTVS was a DVD-hosted binge-watching fest after I had deviated septum surgery in 2005. Since then, it's a go-to fave. Here are the three take-aways I want to be clear about:
1) Joss Whedon is perfect in every way.
2) Ditto Alyson Hannigan.
3) Team Spike forever! From a place of evil he chose to get a soul back! Angel never had that kind of evil-self-control.
High school social drama, actual representation of sexual diversity, and a Journey episode?! The early years were a perfect escape.
Friends is an old fallback. If I was seeing it for the first time I'd probably no longer like it. The jokes follow a familiar trope of sexism, transphobia, and bullying. However, since Chandler's quirky neurosis got me through so many college break ups it holds a special place in my binge-watching heart.
"21 Jump Street"
OK, so technically, 21 Jump Street is not on Netflix. But, come on. If ever there was a lose-yourself-in-really-overdramatic-bad-but-endearing-acting binge-worthy show? It's this one.
"16 & Pregnant"
In fairness, I'm pretty sure 16 & Pregnant was on Hulu. Why, you ask, would a recently bereaved, formerly pregnant person want to watch pregnant teenagers complain their way through unplanned pregnancies? There is no logical explanation. Somehow it just worked.
"How I Met Your Mother"
Alyson Hannigan! You guys!
Plus, huge props to Neil Patrick Harris (NPH ) for making us love a disgusting, misogynist-rapist, joke of a human in Barney Stinson. NPH gave him a humanity, but also a ridiculousness that highlighted all the problematic behaviors in modern-straight-men's attachment to toxic masculinity. Not too shabby for what could've easily been nothing more than your typical sitcom.
I discovered Scandal after my third, and final, miscarriage. You're probably noticing a theme here of dramatic, complex-yet-unrealistic story lines. With ill-fated love. Yep. When I am in emotional turmoil I totally regress to the mindset of a 13 year old.
And Tony Goldwyn. You guys. Squeeeeeee!
"La Femme Nikita"
La Femme Nikita. Not that new one, mind you.
Again, the original USA show isn't exactly on Netflix. However, this show (specifically Peta Wilson) has gotten me through more than I can even adequately explain. And as an oldish millennial I had to live a long time without Netflix-aided binge watching.
Why I'm original Nikita forever?
- Strong badass woman? Check!
- Passionate-yet-doomed love story? Check!
- Questionable plot lines and low budget sets? Check!
What's not to love about getting lost in this classic?
"Pretty Little Liars"
Pretty Little Liars again?! Yes. Because let's be honest, this is really the show that pulled me through. Thank you, Lucy Hale.