Story 32

She was cleaning the room when he stepped in and asked her why she was not doing anything about their child who was crying in the crib. She put down the pillow she had just put the cover on and walked towards the crib. She picked up the baby and walked back to the bed. Sitting on the bed she opened the top button of her shirt and started to breast-feed. 



He had just returned from the office and was very tired. He removed his coat, tie and unbuttoned his shirt. He walked out onto the balcony and took a deep breath. 
He then turned around to look at her. He did not understand how she could not be bothered by the crying baby. How she could continue working in the same room while the baby was crying out so loud when he could not tolerate the crying the moment he had returned from the office and stepped into the house. 
Now, as he watched her breastfeeding their child he was hurt to see that she did not seem happy about it.



He had heard that a few women suffered from a condition called postpartum depression. He had searched the internet for the same:

1. Sadness – yes she was often sad
2. Hopelessness – yes that too
3. Low self-esteem – indeed
4. Guilt – maybe
5. A feeling of being overwhelmed - always
6. Sleep and eating disturbances – eating disturbances he did not know, sleeping disturbances he noticed.
7. Inability to be comforted - true
8. Exhaustion - yes
9. Emptiness - perhaps
10. Inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable - maybe
11. Social withdrawal – definitely
12. Low or no energy -yes
13. Becoming easily frustrated - definitely
14. Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby – in fact she was ignorant
15. Decreased sex drive - yes
16. Occasional or frequent anxiety – yes.


He was convinced that she suffered from postpartum depression. He had visited a professional who had told him that she would snap out of it and he needed to worry only if it lasted too long. How long was too long? 
Wikipedia mentioned that postpartum depression usually began between two weeks to a month after delivery. Recent studies showed that fifty percent of postpartum depressive episodes actually began prior to delivery. "Depressive disorder with peripartum onset" in which "peripartum onset" was defined as anytime either during pregnancy or within the four weeks following delivery. PPD may last several months or even a year. 


He closed his eyes. Was he prepared to wait? No. He decided consulting another professional who would treat his wife.
When he opened his eyes to look at her, he saw that she had left the room. The baby was back in the crib but it was not crying anymore. He walked to the bathroom and washed his hands with soap. He walked towards the crib and looked at the baby. He brought his thumb near the baby’s mouth and the baby started to suck at his thumb. The baby was still hungry. She had not given the baby enough milk. 
What was wrong with her! He thought in anger.


He remembered the words of the doctor he was seeking help from. The doctor had asked him not to lose his temper on her and give her some time. He walked out of the room to look for her. He heard her in the kitchen; the soft cries turned to loud sobs. He stood helplessly outside the kitchen, hidden from her as she continued crying. He wanted to calm down before he came face to face with her.


A minute later he entered the kitchen. She was still sobbing, sitting on the floor, her back resting against the kitchen platform. He walked towards her and sat next to her. He put his hand on her shoulder but she did not look up at him. He lifted her chin with his hand and made her look into his eyes, hoping that she could see his suffering, too. Their eyes met and fresh tears appeared in her eyes. He moved his face closer to hers and after a moment’s hesitation he kissed her on the lips.
She did not respond immediately but when she responded it was with fervor. They were breathless when they stopped. He stood up and extended his hand which she took into hers and stood up.


He carried her to the bedroom and put her down on the bed. Before getting undressed he checked the crib, the baby was asleep. He undressed and slid into bed next to her. She had not undressed yet. He was not sure whether she wanted him or not. He looked into her eyes. Desire running through his body. He saw a flicker of desire in her eyes too and he grabbed the opportunity - undressed her and made love to her.


...


She watched him as he lay next to her in bed; satiated and asleep. She collected her clothes from the floor and got dressed. She then walked towards the crib and looked at the baby – the baby made of plastic; a doll.
She could not control her sobs and covered her mouth to avoid waking him up. She turned around to look at him, he was still asleep.


She rushed out of the bedroom, ran through the living room and out of the door. She stopped when she reached the porch and gave out a heart-wrenching cry and fell down on her knees. 


She had never gotten the chance to mourn her stillborn child because the child’s father was not ready to accept that the baby was dead. She had felt it towards the end of her pregnancy – the stillness … the nothingness. She feared to get her fears confirmed. She could not tell him because he would not listen.
When it was time, she told him that she needed to get hospitalized. It was then, that the stillbirth was made official. The truth she had been avoiding to accept had finally jumped out on her. She had cried her lungs out only until she had been told that her husband had created a scene outside the hospital nursery where they kept the newborns. 

They told her that he insisted that the baby he was holding was his. They had tried to take the baby from him but he had become violent. They had called in the security and managed to sedate him. He was now lying with his limbs tied, in a room next to hers.
She had managed to get up from her bed and walked towards his room with the help of a nurse. She stared at his face from a distance. He looked so vulnerable. That moment she had made up her mind; she had taken a decision.


It seemed like a long time now, the decision she had taken at the spur of the moment after seeing his vulnerability was now choking her. It had started becoming unbearable.


He was seeing a doctor, supposedly to help her with postpartum depression but the doctor was actually counselling him and trying to determine the mode of treatment for him. 


It was agonizing for her to breastfeed a doll but she did it for his sake. Because the doctor told her; breaking the news to him suddenly would prove devastating.
She had lost her child, now she did not want to lose her husband.

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