tell her, but who also plays an important role in keeping the “odd
mom out” grounded by embracing the authentic elements of her
personality and behavior. Throughout the first season of the series,
Jill wavers between her desire for a friendship with her queen bee
of a sister-in-law and her preference for sticking to the close
friendship she has always maintained with Vanessa. A true test of
friendship occurs in “Midwife Crisis” when Jill must assist Brooke
in giving birth because her water breaks a week before her
scheduled C-section. Not surprisingly, the last thing Brooke wants
is to have it be known that she had a natural, vaginal birth. Brooke
must maintain her image, and part of that image is to remain as un-
natural and dreamlike as possible. This simultaneously horrific and
heroic moment when Jill is literally elbow deep in childbirth and
subsequent events that test Jill’s friendship with Vanessa. Although
Vanessa is a doctor, she does not have a child of her own child,
which Jill perceives as lack of personal experience. When a hectic
and challenging situation unfolds with the birth, Jill resorts to
Google rather than her closest (and greatly qualified) friend for
assistance.
During the dramatic process of childbirth, “the female only
space is celebrated in prioritizing and panicking over the intimate
sphere of pregnancy and motherhood” (Winch Ch.4). Vanessa is
out of this loop, and therefore outside of the “private sphere” of
female friendship, despite the fact that she grounds Jill and pulls
her toward the authentic pole of her experience and herself.
Because Vanessa is on the outside of this situation and figures as
an afterthought in one of Jill’s most terrifying experiences, Brooke
and Jill bond in one of the most intimate ways two people can. The
conflict of interest is clear, and while it is depicted through two
women Vanessa and Brooke they represent two parts of Jill
herself authenticity and aspiration. Jill works to have both
friendships, even though she seems to despise the women who
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