Q&A With Lisa Ling
Lisa Ling, the globetrotting reporter famed for her curiosity about the plights and pursuits of everyday people, entered the fifth and final season of her investigative series "Our America" on Oprah's OWN network at the end of May. Look for the new mom (to daughter Jett, 1, with husband Dr. Paul Song) to explore the alarming spike in HIV rates within the African-American community, the foster care system in Los Angeles, and the increase in ADHD diagnoses in the U.S. Ling, 40, had herself tested and learned she showed symptoms of ADHD, an assessment that didn't surprise her. She talked with us about how becoming a mom changed how she views her work, herself, and the world.
Your daughter Jett turned 1 in March. Any major milestones to report?
"She's not walking yet, but she's crawling at a furious pace. She's hard to keep up with; she's pulling herself up all over the place! And she's such a hilarious dancer; the second you turn on music she starts dancing. She calls every stuffed animal 'Bear-Bear.'"
You say the world looked different to you as you drove home from the hospital with your newborn. How so?
"Life as I knew it was not the same. I had this life that I'd become responsible for. The way I drove, the billboards I was seeing with scantily clad women … everything was about her. And I felt this desire to protect her from the world. I hope I can do it well."
You had two miscarriages before having Jett. How did you cope?
"When I was pregnant with Jett I was terrified every time I went in for an ultrasound. I braced myself to hear the same words: 'There's no heartbeat.' Until the eighth month I never really calmed down. They were hard, the miscarriages. But the way I look at it is Jett is the baby we were supposed to have."
What has surprised you most about motherhood?
"That I would enjoy it so much, frankly. I never had a desire to be a mother. It just wasn't something important to me. I've always been career-driven; I felt like [my work] was my purpose. But having a child has changed my life. It's brought me incredible fulfillment, a new perspective and purpose. I love it."
What's the best health advice you ever received?
"To eat healthy. It's very simple, but it makes you feel better. When I eat unhealthy, I feel it. It makes me lethargic and slow. My vice is that I'm a coffee addict. All I need is one sizable cup in the morning, but I need to have it. It's the first thing that goes into my body in the morning. I practically have it intravenously! If I don't, I'm a mess."