Oprah Talks to Christiane Amanpour
Oprah: Did the way you told the stories of children change after you had your son?
Christiane: It did. In Bosnia, seeing children victims of this genocide was more than I could tolerate. It was really painful to see children who'd deliberately been scoped through a sniper's sights and killed. It's a kind of horror that you don't believe is possible. I'm always moved by the plight of children because they're so defenseless. When I became a mother, it was a thousand times more emotional for me. I cry when I go into hospitals and see children.
Oprah: When you became pregnant, did you think twice about whether you'd continue as a war correspondent?
Christiane: I was very cavalier when I was pregnant. I was conscious of being a woman and not letting them say, "Now you're a mother and you can't do this anymore. Let the guys do it." I was a little over-the-top. I was like, "Nothing will change. I'll take my child with me. All I need is some bulletproof diapers." The minute my child was born, everything changed. There's a love inside you that you never knew existed. There's a protectiveness you never knew you were capable of. And there's no way in hell I would take my child to the places I go. That would be completely irresponsible. I'm also much more concerned about my own safety, about surviving.
Oprah: You weren't before?
Christiane: Not as much. I had a feeling of invulnerability.
Oprah: Not everybody has that.
Christiane: I couldn't have done the work I did if I'd been married or had a kid. All my energy, my emotion, my intellect went into my work. During the nineties, people would ask me, "When are you going to settle down?" and I'd say, "I don't think I'll ever have a child." But there came a moment where I flipped the switch and said, "Okay, self. You can be proud of the work you've done. You wanted to be a foreign correspondent, you're a foreign correspondent. Maybe now it's time to look for some personal happiness and fulfillment." It took me a couple of years, but I consciously changed myself.
Oprah: And then you met Jamie?
Christiane: Yes, about six months after that turning point.
Oprah: Before that you were fulfilled in giving all your energy to your work. I completely understand that. Now you still seem to be everywhere.
Christiane: I'm actually not. I still go to all of these places and try to shine the light on corners that need illuminating. But I can't spend months and months away from my child.
Oprah: What's the longest time you've been away?
Christiane: I try not to stay away longer than two weeks at a time. For me, 9/11 was a big challenge because I was away for three months. I did come home from Pakistan for a couple of long weekends. My child was just 18 months old. I have been so fortunate. Jamie is a true hero. He was in the Clinton administration, and when that ended in 2000, my husband, a Democrat, didn't have an administration to work for. So he, my son, Darius, and I benefited from the fact that Jamie didn't have to travel much. He moved to London with me and went into private work. That's rare. Jamie is the poster child for good husbands.