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The 'Girls' Finale Paints an Imperfect (and Totally Realistic) Picture of Motherhood

Lena Dunham's popular HBO series wraps up as character Hannah struggles with the challenges of new motherhood.

Being a mom is hard. Being a single mom is even harder. And I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you guys that this was the big takeaway from the much-anticipated series finale of the HBO hit show Girls.

The episode is called "Latching"—it takes place about five months after Hannah Horvath (played by Lena Dunham) has given birth to her baby boy named Grover—and it's all about her struggle to connect with the little guy and get him to breastfeed. "You think you're the first man who's rejected this?" she tells him after he turns away from her breast. "Well, think again!"

Pretty funny. Of course there are lots of darker moments, too. Like when Hannah's mom tells her bluntly that "Your son is not a temp job." Or when Hannah then melts down and storms out of the house, where she encounters a bratty, pantless teen girl on the lam after having a big fight with her own mother. "[Your mother] will take care of you forever," Hannah tells her in a dress down. "Even if it means endless, endless pain."

So true. Of course, when Hannah later returns home she tries once again to connect with Grover via breastfeeding, and the final image we see is a close-up of Hannah's face with something approximating joy. Life as a single mom may not be easy or perfect, but there's a chance our heroine may just succeed at this thing after all.

"I know that in many ways mine was a very traditional finale, and I'm so happy that it had this odd emotional coda," Dunham later told The New York Times. "And I really enjoyed wearing those fake lactation nipples."

Watch the episode over on HBO.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.