When I settled in to watch season 3 of You, I expected 10 episodes of Joe Goldberg chronicling his and Love Quinn’s marriage and the violence that accompanied it. I wasn’t wrong, but I have to admit I was totally blindsided when I found myself genuinely relating to Love and a lot of her behaviors throughout the season.
Unlike seasons 1 and 2, which mainly focused on Joe and his latest obsession, the theme throughout season 3 is parenthood. And, as a mom myself, I’d say the portrayal of Love’s transition into new motherhood is kind of spot-on.
Everyone knows that becoming a parent is hard, but it’s one of those things that you can’t really, truly prepare for because, once you’re in it, it’s a metamorphosis unlike anything you’ve ever been through before. And that’s very much what we see in Love.
It’s clear from the very first episode that motherhood is hard on Love. She and Joe move to the suburbs in an attempt to start fresh and give their baby, Henry, the idyllic childhood that neither of them had.
While this move opened up all of these opportunities for Henry, it left much to be desired for Love. She’s suddenly surrounded by judgy, fake parents (including one of the more toxic things to ever happen to parents — a mom influencer), struggling to feel like she belongs, and embarrassed that she doesn’t really have an answer when someone asks her what she does outside of motherhood. Her response is a flustered, “I’m a trained chef.”
It’s easy to understand why Love feels so out of place in this new world of hers. I know I’m not alone in totally seeing myself in her here. For me, sometimes life in the suburbs is exactly how Love and Joe describe it: my own personal Groundhog’s Day where I struggle to see where I fit into it all outside of being “mommy.”
What makes it even more difficult for Love is that, since she left her friends back in LA, all she really has is Joe. It’s incredibly difficult to make friends as an adult, let alone when you also have a new baby, so she’s in a spot where she pretty much has to take what she can get in terms of support.
Unfortunately, in order to build a community beyond her husband, she’s forced to bond with people who introduce themselves by not-so-subtly telling her that she needs to lose weight.
When I first became a mom, my friends were my saving grace. They validated my feelings when I felt broken, they offered advice and assured me I was doing a good job, and they even nodded their heads in understanding when I admitted to them that, at 3 AM the night before, I threw a snot-sucker at my husband’s head in a moment of sleep-deprivation-induced rage.
Love’s “friends”, on the other hand, seem to want to push her down rather than build her back up.
Adjusting to the whiplash of moving from LA to the suburbs is just the beginning for Love. The season kicks off with Love killing Joe’s neighbor/latest stalking victim Natalie in a fit of jealous rage.
While she had good reasons to be suspicious of Joe and Natalie, her reasons for killing Natalie go far deeper than just feeling threatened. Love is so triggered by the almost-affair because she had convinced herself that Joe didn’t find her attractive anymore, long before Natalie was in the picture.
Love’s insecurity is something that many birthing parents experience, for a multitude of reasons. As soon as you become pregnant, your body is no longer your own, and if you’re breastfeeding (which Love is), that feeling continues long after the baby has arrived.
Not to mention, pregnancy and childbirth truly transform your body, sometimes to the point where it seems unrecognizable. Plus, by the end of any given day with a newborn, your breasts are sore and you’ve been spit up on so many times you’ve lost count, so the last thing you feel is attractive or in the mood for sex.
This is why Love continues to question if Joe was still attracted to her, even after she’s eliminated the threat of Natalie. Her insecurity continues to nag at her so much that she went to great lengths to try to keep him happy and interested in her sexually (like swinging with their friends).
Then, as their marriage fell apart, she internalizes everything and convinces herself that she’s the problem. She’s undergone the metamorphosis into motherhood and, in her mind, it cost her her marriage.
Honestly, if I were Love, I’d have felt pretty murdery too.
Love’s identity crisis unfolds over the course of the season. In the end, she finally confesses that, even though she was so excited to become a mother, she doesn’t even recognize herself anymore. And sadly, it’s a feeling most new parents can relate to.
You can watch You season 3 on Netflix.