by Lily Amaral
ease myself towards the shower, afraid of disturbing their restful sleep— my
newest babe and my darling. Their faces mold into mirroring expressions as I
misstep, the floorboard suddenly creaking. My heart leaps. I anxiously watch
their breathing, almost rhythmically in sync. I just need a few more minutes of
tranquility. Postpartum is noisy.
I dread leaving the shower. I loath to use the damp towel I should’ve washed two days prior. I step out, surprised by the warmth of my towel—freshly cleaned. I beam with relief. He’s always thinking one step ahead of me. Postpartum is forgetful. He knows I’m still healing.
I recline on the couch, our new babe resting upon me. I’m tired, but more importantly, I’m thirsty. I cherish the look he gives me when he brings me my tea. He waits until I take a sip, with a grin spread across his lips. He asks, “What do you think?” As if he was bringing me some exotic drink. I smile and tell him it’s lovely. Postpartum is needy.
I examine the clutter I’ve neglected. Dirty laundry is strewn across the floor, empty bottles nest upon the open space of nightstands, wet nursing pads stack up in random places throughout the room. He watches as I glance around with anxiety. He shakes his head and chuckles about my worrying. He assures me that he’ll help keep things clean. Postpartum is messy.
He asks me what I want for dinner. I say spaghetti. He tells me with sympathy that we’re out of noodles. I struggle to change my made-up mind. He rolls his eyes and sighs. He gives me a kiss, slips his shoes on, and leaves. I know he’ll go to the store and an hour later we’ll be eating. Postpartum is picky.
I look in the mirror and see someone I no longer recognize. I feel empty after carrying something inside me for so many long weeks. My shoulders shake and my chest heaves as I mourn the loss of my body. He comes to my side. Postpartum is grieving. He knows I’m still healing.
I lay in bed unable to sleep. I know that this babe will wake any minute and be hungry. If only I could sleep more soundly between feedings. I look over at my peaceful husband with affinity. Postpartum is exhausting, but I know that he needs sleep.
Besides, tomorrow when I wake, he’ll bring me my tea.
There’ll be a smile on his face, and he’ll ask, “what do you think?”
He’ll beam with sensitivity.
Postpartum is loving.
* * * * *
Lily Amaral is currently an undergraduate student at California State University Stanislaus. Lily is an emerging writer, beginning her journey in introducing her work to publishers. Her latest work explores the unique dynamics present within various types of relationships. When not writing, she balances her time between being a mother, student, and substitute teacher.