Hannah Horvath is considered the most immature, most self-centered woman (girl) on modern television. Pregnant and walking into the final episode of “Girls,” people asked breathlessly: With her own baby, will she finally grow up? Will she realize it’s not all about her?
In this finale, as in life, the answer is right there. She is still Hannah, just like any new mother is still herself. Hannah yells at her mother, who is there to help. Berates her best friend, Marnie, for doing a poor job with the baby, yet Marnie’s doing night feedings, reading baby books and showing Hannah how to baby burrito her kid. She deals with her son’s struggle to latch as she would with an ex-boyfriend’s rejection.
In other words: Hannah is all of us.
Sure motherhood changes you. But it also just puts a microscope on your true self.
Hannah is the mother who struggled to have a child after miscarriages, IVF. Hannah is the new mom, so blissfully happy her baby is here, and adorable, and still yearns for a quiet morning alone in the cafe with a latte. Or simply a shower. She’s the mom with a chosen partner rather than help in the form of a co-dependent Marnie. Because in the end, these mothers are still themselves. Mothers are human, and that’s not a bad thing. And if there’s a mother around who says she didn’t want to run away for an afternoon, complain about the bleeding, nipples, confusion and heartache (because that’s what it is), that mother is lying.
When Hannah’s mother tells her this time will pass, that it’s a blip, and then says it will only get worse, Hannah is relieved. That’s because she feels like if she can get through this day, she’ll be okay. She can worry about the next difficult period later. It’s like friends who tell me “bigger kids, bigger problems.”
Hannah’s trigger in this episode seems to be the breast-feeding issue. Right, I know. I get it, too. But this episode is not a statement on fed is best, breast is best. Because pop any other issue in instead of latching (sleep, colic, growth issues, physical issues, whatever), and the story line remains the same. This is about being a person and being a mother. Being someone flawed who has to now take care of another human being, who will, despite what looks like complete perfect babyness, also be flawed.
So no, Hannah is not going to magically become a wonderfully selfless, fully realized person, as much as we wish not just she will, but we will. And yet, like many parents, there were hints that she’ll learn how to deal with those personality traits. Many people have commented that the final latching scene was their “aha” moment in this series. Not me. Mine was when Hannah got up, still pantsless, to answer her crying baby, mumbling to her equally flawed mother and BFF: “No, no guys. I got it.”