One night, after Jack and Mary had left me alone in the dark with Kate and the Hackett brothers, I dozed and woke to find not Joe and Brian and Sandpiper Air but Susan Smith, the mother convicted of rolling her car with her two young sons strapped into their car seats into a lake, on my television. Where only one year before the story of Susan Smith horrified me, now, in the dark with my tiny child nestled in my arm, I was nauseated. Motherhood changed me, the idea of being responsible for the death of my children was more than my exhausted self could take and I immediately turned off the television and headed back to bed, keeping Kate close to me for the rest of the night.
My curious self had watched much of the original programming when the Susan Smith story first made news. By all accounts hers was a truly horrible childhood, full of the kind of things that create really destructive adults. She lied, she deceived her community, she placed blame on an anonymous black man and in the end, she killed her children. And eight years ago I could watch it all on television, with a odd curiosity as to how could this really happen.
Not anymore. Motherhood changed me, it's more than I can even consider, and it's unconscionable.