When I was pregnant for the first time, I didn't think about life after I brought my baby home, or that I would need to find something to preoccupy my time. But between early-morning wake-ups, endless afternoons, and late night feedings, I learned an undeniable fact about newborns: they are boring. So, after a few minutes of staring at my baby while they slept, I decided to catch up on my favorite shows. The bad news? There are some downright dangerous shows to watch when you have a newborn.
For instance, some of your old favorites won't be so appealing, especially when you notice just how violent and scary they are or if they feature a child in danger. There's something about becoming a mom that makes seeing children get hurt, sick, or worse, simply unbearable. So I shouldn't have watched shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead when I was home on maternity leave. I may never recover. And, of course, there are the shows that will make you cry. This Is Us, for example, is a sob fest when you have postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation to contend with. And what's with Shonda Rhimes killing my favorite doctors on Grey's Anatomy? That's emotional terrorism, my friends.
So, before you sit down to watch your favorite show while you're snuggling your newborn, you might want to consider whether or not they are still safe to watch.
'Jane The Virgin'
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love Jane the Virgin — the CW's quirky, melodramatic take on pregnancy, parenthood, and relationships. When I was watching it for the first time with my newborn, however, it made me laugh and cry simultaneously. It was funny because it was funny, but it was also sad because it hit way too close to home.
'Game Of Thrones'
Game of Thrones is addictive, there's no doubt about it. Unfortunately, it’s also complex and violent. So, not only will it make your sensitive postpartum self cry, but if you fall asleep in the middle of it you will have no idea what’s happening. Before you know it you're re-watching an episode... and regretting it.
I absolutely love The Letdown on Netflix. Creators Sarah Scheller and Alison Bell (who also stars) totally get me and were able to capture new motherhood in a raw, bittersweet way. The trouble is that it sort of feels like a personal attack. Like they are hiding in my house watching me trying to survive the brutal newborn months.
'13 Reasons Why'
I honestly wish I had never watched 13 Reasons Why, especially not when I was postpartum. On one hand, it was a tremendously powerful take on issues like high school bullying, rape, and school shootings. But the series ought to come with a content warning, specifically for moms. I am terrified of what the future might hold for my kids.
Ali Wong's Netflix Comedy Special 'Hard Knock Wife'
I love Ali Wong’s hilarious take on pregnancy, new motherhood, and marriage. But watching her comedy special while postpartum made me laugh so hard I peed my pants. It also made me a little afraid for my future sex life. I’m happy to note that my vulva and my sex life both recovered from childbirth, though. And now I am totally able to laugh at her jokes... without also wanting to cry.
'The Walking Dead'
I tried watching The Walking Dead until I was pregnant at the same time as Lori. Watching what her fight off zombies and give birth, then seeing her newborn daughter in peril, was too much for my sensitive postpartum emotions to handle. Besides, a show about zombies is really no fun to watch when you are basically a zombie yourself.
I have watched and re-watched every episode of Grey’s Anatomy at least five times. On the bright side, I know how to stay calm in an emergency. The downside, however, is that at least every other episode involves a kid, a baby, or a pregnant woman getting hurt or a beloved character dying. It was too much for my postpartum emotions to handle.
Gilmore Girls is my happy place. Whenever I’m feeling sad, I watch a few episodes because it feels like home. I learned the hard way, though, that watching a show about motherhood, when you are still new at it and think you totally suck, might not be a great idea.
'This Is Us'
Every time I watch This is Us I regret it, especially when I am postpartum. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes me wish I never started it, and now I can't stop watching because I have so many questions and am way too invested in the characters for my own good.