I became a fan of the HBO series, Girls, just a few short months ago. I wish that I had watched it when it first started, but then I wouldn’t have been able to obsessively binge-watch the first 5 seasons. I had seen previews for the final season and decided I wanted to see what this show was all about. So I started and then couldn’t stop. I think I watched Season 1 in a day. I think what appealed to me is, first, I love shows that are set in New York City. I have always wanted to live there so I like to vicariously live through a series. I was a Sex and the City fan for this reason as well. However, since I am not wealthy, I couldn’t really relate to the characters. It was fun seeing what life could be though. Then I watched Girls and these characters are in their 20s, with jobs that are just that, jobs. This is what your 20s are supposed to be like. You have your friends from college, your job that pays the rent, and of course, your dating life. Now, I met my husband while we were in high school so I didn’t exactly have that experience. But, nonetheless, this show became very relatable.
As the series went on, friendships started dissipating, jobs were started and ended, and the characters started thinking about what they really wanted to do with their life. Then, out of nowhere, the main character, Hannah, found out she was pregnant. Well this threw me for a loop. As with all shows that I watch, I become invested in the characters’ relationships and I knew that Hannah and Adam were officially over. I was very upset. I started making predictions of how the series would end. My guess was that Hannah would decide that she would be happiest being single with her baby, have her career, and everything would be wonderful. I assumed that the last episode would show her working as a teacher, maybe show her labor and delivery, and the last minute show a very cliche happy ending of her smiling at her new baby. Wrong!!!
I was surprised to see that 2 minutes in, she had already moved upstate and had her baby. I was even more surprised when she was discussing her breastfeeding issues. My first thought was, this poor woman. Aren’t there any IBCLC’s in her area? Maybe she doesn’t know what a postpartum doula is. Now, obviously, the breastfeeding issues are not just about breastfeeding. They are a metaphor for how frustrating and stressful it is to be a new parent. And on top of it, she is a single mom and her self-obsessed friend is living with her. I thought that the episode was such a perfect example of how quickly a new parent can start to lose it. Most shows and movies show this picture perfect scenario of how wonderful having a baby can be. Don’t get me wrong, it is the best thing that I ever did. I have no regrets having my children and wouldn’t change anything. But it is hard work, especially the newborn period. You are tired, you haven’t taken a shower, all you have eaten is a handful of cereal, yet you still haven’t lost your baby weight. If you are lucky enough to a have a partner, if they are actually helpful, it can be very stressful on them as well. Not just mothers get postpartum depression. The partner becomes the sole money maker, the errand person, the housecleaner, and still the other parent to this new baby and any other children. Anyone who is already a parent knows that when your partner walks through the door, you hand over the baby.
This brings us to Hannah’s mini freak out. We see her struggling with breastfeeding, with a different pediatrician who doesn’t seem to understand breastfeeding, a friend who is regretting her decision of offering to help, and a mother visiting that is in an awful place in her life as well. The most relatable scene is when Hannah is talking to the baby as if he is an adult, asking him to help her out. When a baby cries and you can’t figure out what they want, or you can’t, you can feel like a failure. Unfortunately this happens a lot, especially when they never get a break. If a parent is stressed, their baby can sense this and also become stressed. So, Hannah walking out of the house is the best thing that she could have done. Sometimes you just need an hour or two of alone time. She starts walking and sees a teenage girl run out of a house crying with no pants on. Hannah sees her vulnerability and offers to help, even giving the girl her pants and shoes. She comes to find out that this girl ran out of her house because her mother asked her to do her homework before she went to see her boyfriend. As a mother of four girls, this scene mildly terrifies me. But Hannah realizes that she can’t just storm out anymore. She is not a teenager with no responsibilities anymore. She is a mother. When she arrives home, her friend, Marnie, and her mother are sitting on the front steps. And they do exactly what she needs. Nothing. They don’t yell at her for leaving or ask where she has been. They tell her the baby took formula and he is okay. Cue baby crying and Hannah happily goes upstairs to attend to her son. And as her first stress free period in days is felt by her baby, the scene ends with her son latching and her visibly relaxing and smiling.
Well, I wasn’t completely wrong. The series ended with Hannah holding her child and smiling. But what led up to it was so moving and real and every new parent should see it. Ladies and gentleman of Girls, you will be missed. (P.S. I want to be best friends with Andrew Rannells!)
*I didn’t add a photo because, unfortunately, I do not have Lena Dunham on speed dial to ask permission