Photo: Alice Plati
Like any other twenty-four year old female with the means to procure an HBO subscription, I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of “Girls”. The program had already been heralded as the younger and more raw version of “Sex and the City”, whose entire DVD collection is housed in pink suede casing under my television.
After the pilot episode, I was shocked at how well writer and director Lena Dunham had captured the youthful awkwardness and exuberance that comes with finding yourself in your early twenties. But it wasn’t until the second episode that I became a stalwart believer that “Girls” is going to change the discourse about sex and women, the way Carrie Bradshaw and co. did.
In that particular episode, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is being questioned by Hannah (Dunham) about her feelings regarding her unplanned pregnancy and impending abortion appointment. Jessa denies feeling sad or angry but instead proclaims, “you know I want to have children…I’m gonna be amazing at it.” I felt a hitch in my breathing as a fictional character identified the emotion I had been struggling to identify.
Only a few weeks earlier, I had miscarried. Like Jessa, I was positive I didn’t want to have the child of a thirty-seven year old transient musician, whose inability to communicate was staggering, but that didn’t make the loss any less painful. The small handful of confidants I told all assured me of the same thing- “it’s for the better.” I agree wholeheartedly. Irony of all ironies, I work as a nanny (like Jessa in “Girls”) so I know first-hand how difficult and life changing it is to have a baby. Despite all these reassurances, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss.
It wasn’t until after that episode of “Girls” that I could identify the hole in my heart. The recognition that more than anything I want to be a mother and have children. The anger that my first brush with achieving this goal was met with the fear and loneliness of being twenty four, single and pregnant. The realization that when I do decide to start a family, hopefully with a willing and loving partner, this experience will be my frame of reference.
It’s hard to put into words the feeling that comes with watching your body fail you because truth be told, that’s what a miscarriage is. Your body’s inability to support another life; the one thing on this planet that I want to do more than anything else.
If I ever see the ex-almost baby daddy again, I know that I’ll have a deep urge to punch him in the testicles. Not because he refused to answer my texts and calls. Please, I am a girl of twenty-first century dating- that’s a daily occurrence. But because he made me fearful of the one thing I want out of life. And despite being a college educated East Coast intellectual, it took an HBO program to put me in touch with my deepest emotions.
HBO: it’s not just television – it’s therapy.