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Health & Baby

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Q&A With Lisa Ling


"She understands quite a bit of Chinese. If you tell her to pat her nose or head in Chinese, she does it. We have a nanny who only speaks to her in Chinese, and my mom only speaks to her in Chinese. But it's funny; my mother-in-law only speaks to her in Korean, so Jett's getting immersion in three languages [counting English]. I'm hoping it doesn't totally confuse her! I want to expose her to as many languages as I can while she's young. Travel changed my life, and I'd love for her to be able to communicate in as many languages as she can. I also think it really helps cognitive abilities when [children] are able to comprehend different languages. My biggest regret in life is that I never really got the chance to be immersed in another language."

Your reporting -- on bride burning, sex trafficking, rape in the Congo -- reveals just how brutal the world can be to girls. Any reservations about having one?

"I was so excited because I'm hoping to raise a little feminist. I'm looking forward to girls truly being able to change the world. I think my husband initially wanted a boy. But now he is so madly in love with her! My relationship with my husband has grown so deeply, and part of it is because of the way he is with her. It makes me fall in love with him even more."

Are you consciously taking fewer risks, now that you're a mother?

"I've always done a pretty intensive risk assessment before any shoot that could become contentious. Now that I'm a mother I'm certainly even more diligent about trying to make sure that things are not too perilous."

Does it bother you that male reporters, who happen to be fathers, are rarely if ever asked the same question?

"Oh, yeah! And not just male reporters: Even when I was pregnant I can't tell you how many people asked me, 'Are you going to change your life?' But nobody asked my husband. Not a single person! I think it's unfortunate that women are held to a different standard. But, by the same token, I've made changes in my life because I want to make them. Right now, being a present mother to my daughter is really, really important, and so while I'm still as passionate about my work as ever, I'm just as excited about getting home after a productive shoot."

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