So often, TV grossly oversimplifies/glorifies real life situations. The worst is giving birth/raising kids. How many TV shows have you seen when the pregnant lady suddenly stops, clutches her belly, and says “It’s time!” Yeah, in one second you were able to determine you were in labor? Yeah, sure.
Then there’s the portrayal of raising that baby. I think back to Friends when Rachel had her baby. No mention of sleepless nights, diapers, ANYTHING. She just lost all kinds of weight immediately, looked radiant, and had no issues raising her baby. And that’s not an uncommon portrayal. It’s like that pretty much everywhere.
My favorite TV show right now is How I Met Your Mother (although I swear to Jebus if we don’t see The Mother by the end of this season I will throw something through a window). At the end of last season, Lily gave birth to her son. They’ve addressed the sleepless nights, the separation anxiety when spending the first night away from the baby, and they’ve done it with humor. But last night’s episode hit me hard. And it hit the nail DIRECTLY on the head of motherhood, especially first time motherhood. Lily confessed to Ted that sometimes she doesn’t want to be a mom. She wants nothing more than to pack her bags and run away from everything.
Tears. Streaming tears.
Watching this brought me back to the early weeks and months with Aric. I remember feeling the EXACT same way. Part of it was due to the depression, I know. But another part really had to do with adjusting to a life that was no longer all about ME. No longer could I just quick run to the store to grab a box of noodles for dinner. Now I had to plan out exactly when I’d go based on someone else’s eating and pooping schedule. Not to mention the sheer amount of crap I’d have to take with just in case that other person needed to eat, poop, or be changed while we were running that errand. No longer could I stay out all night with friends unless lots of planning went into it. Once I went back to work, I couldn’t come home from a long day and just veg on the couch eating potato chips. I had another person who couldn’t fend for themselves to care for and was constantly running after them until bed time (and when that someone got older the potato chips had to be hidden until it was certain that someone was fast asleep otherwise they would have to be shared). Life was no longer about me, it was about someone else. And that is a HUGE adjustment to make.
No one warns you about that. Everyone talks about the lack of sleep and the crying and yadda yadda. No one ever tells you the grieving process of giving up a life that’s all about you. No one tells you that sometimes, no matter how much you love that someone, the only thing you want to do is just get in your car and drive. And keep driving until you just can’t drive any more.
Never before have I seen that portrayed on TV so realistically as Lily did on How I Met Your Mother last night. Even watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager do they address this. I’m almost done with season 2 and all Amy (the teen mom) can think of is dating and her parenting is rarely, if ever, addressed. But last night, when Lily confessed to Ted how she feels, I wanted to burst through the TV and give (the fictional) Lily a hug and promise her that it will get better. She’ll learn to adjust to a life of “we” instead of “me.” Life won’t ever be the same as it was when she was childless and carefree, and that’s OK.
Tip of the cap to you, writers of How I Met Your Mother. You nailed it last night. Thank you.
Now for the love of chocolate cake, SHOW ME THE MOTHER!!!