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Why Wasn’t Hannah Horvath’s Pregnancy on “Girls” Exactly Like My Own?

When “Girls” came to an end, I found myself doing something I rarely did in earlier seasons. To cool the hot rage boiling in my stomach, I vocally judged the verisimilitude of the show – or rather, to be specific, of Hannah’s pregnancy. And by verisimilitude, I am naturally referring to how similar her experience was to mine.


I mean, isn’t the truth only the truth if it is what I experienced? We agree, yes?

So, why the hell wasn’t Hannah puking in those first three months? WHY DID WE NEVER SEE HER VOMIT OR SAY SHE WANTED TO VOMIT? Why wasn’t she at least burping from all the acid reflux? Why wasn’t she sleeping at odd times, unable to keep her eyes open at inopportune times? Why wasn’t she talking about how much she didn’t like being pregnant?

In other words, why wasn’t she me right now?

 

 

Dear Hannah (and Lena, too) have endured years of this sort of artless, narcissistic criticism, and here I was, joining in the myopic pack. But if there is anything a woman enduring an unpleasant pregnancy wants, it’s affirmations of awfulness from as many other pregnant people (real or fictional, DOESN’T MATTER) as possible. And if there is anything such a woman will not get, it is likely just that.

I’m pregnant for the second time, and I wish I felt happier about it. I understand that being able to share such a thing publicly is evidence of my profound privilege, so I’ll add that I am happy that, in approximately five months, I will have a second child.

The idea of holding a newborn, of raising two kids to (fingers crossed) care for each other or at least tolerate each other, of persuading the older one to babysit for the younger one, of weird, loud, amusing family dinners, of bumbling around a four-person household in an awe-filled daze…. All of that sounds like the sort of stuff I got into this baby business for in the first place.

And sure, I don’t doubt a sea of new hiccups and headaches awaits me, too. But I feel the same way I did the first time I was pregnant more than three years ago: There is nothing I can’t handle once this baby gets the hell out of my body. (And even that, I know, is just wishful thinking.)

It is uncouth to complain about pregnancy when so many women struggle to get there. This, I know, and try to remind myself of. But we’re hard on ourselves, we women. We humans. So, as nervous as I am to publicly kvetch about my pregnancy complaints, I’m just as anxious to not pretend to be a blissful vision of grace during this strange time.

No one needs to pretend – not those entrenched in a fertility battle, not those whose embryonic journey has had them retching over the toilet at all hours, at odds with their capable, if exhausted, newly changed body.

When I think about it this way, I feel less disappointed in Hannah for not having EXACTLY my experience. When I consider it for more than a moment, I’m relieved that there’s a television show that features an ill-prepared pregnant woman, one who is technically a grown-up, a self-sufficient individual, but not a bastion of obvious maternal energy, not married or attached to a man, and not, it seems, ready for a baby.

Of course, the laughable and universal thing is that no matter how prepared you seem or believe yourself to be, birthing and raising a child involves some element of surprise and moments (if not hours, weeks, months, years…decades, oh my god) of self-doubt. It’s also a comfort to see a woman who has made a decision for reasons that might not be entirely clear to her or explainable to other people – people who audibly have little faith in her.

I felt this way about my first pregnancy and also about this second one. It has been, for me, a course of action that defies logic. There is joy in it, yes, but there is also pain, of every sort. It is a path riddled with uncertainty, the kind that freelancers like Hannah (formerly) and like me (still!) may be both energized and crippled by.

You could say, well, that’s what life is, isn’t it? Life is love and sorrow and fear and horror and a Sisyphean effort to avoid the unknown. If you’re game, why not bring a baby into it? Why not be, ultimately, a romantic, defying financial prudence, our modern ideas of self-care accidentally cracking open the hardened clay with which we’ve spent years walling off our still tender hearts?

Hannah Horvath’s story has ended, or at least has stopped airing on television. But there are millions of happily and unhappily pregnant women whose stories are not stories yet, whose everyday highs and lows are just moments being strung together into crowns they’ll all someday call their lives.

I am one of them and am, I know, lucky to be.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

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If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.


The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

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