I have always been a bit of a softy. I have a hard time watching some sitcoms, because I don't like to see people (even fictional ones) embarrassed. I cry at all the sappy, predictable times in movies.
Motherhood has only amplified this tendency, particularly when it comes to the suffering of children around the world. The piece on CNN.com about Youssif, a little boy who was attacked and burned while playing outside his home in Iraq, made me cry, really just sit there and cry, when I read it. I kept checking back and was so relieved when I read that he would be getting help. Clearly, this was a dramatic story that touched a lot of people. However, the strength of my reaction surprised me, particularly since I was out of the early "cry at car commercials" phase of motherhood. I remember asking my doctor at my 6 week check up about when my emotions would go back to normal, and not really believing him when he said that they never would, at least not if by "normal" I meant "how I was before I got pregnant". He said something about how parenthood changes your outlook, and I thought "sure, whatever". But now I think he is right. It is not like I had a complete change in outlook, but things that always bothered me now bother me even more.
And of course, there are children suffering all over the world. Just today, I came across a story at the Economist about new research on that shows that giving away bed nets can dramatically decrease the incidence of malaria. One quote really stuck out:
Based on the new results, Dr Kochi reckons that a five-year campaign costing about $10 billion would be enough to bring malaria under control in most of Africa, reducing the death rate to a matter of thousands a year.
$10 billion. Surely we can do that? I think I need to add The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to my charities list for 2008.
The problem, of course, is that there are so many worthy causes.