Baby Makes Three
by Evelyn Ellis
When John woke he didn't open his eyes but lay for a while wondering what day it was. It felt like Saturday but then he realised it was Friday. Better get up and get ready for work. Turning over he reached for Sarah but the bed next to him was empty and cold. Damn! He hadn't heard the baby cry. Poor Sarah was exhausted and he'd promised to get up and do the five am feed.
The baby, he thought. When am I going to start thinking of it as Lucy, not "the baby"? Lucy was three months old and John didn't know what to feel about her. When she was born it felt like the most wonderful thing that ever happened to him. He felt warm and tender towards this tiny, marvellous being he and Sarah had created. Now, he realised that, at times, he just longed to be alone with Sarah, for things to be more as they used to be. Lucy changed everything. He and Sarah had only made love once since the birth. Sarah seemed reluctant and barely participated at all, leaving him feeling heartless and selfish.
Going into the nursery he saw Lucy fast asleep in her crib. Sarah was sitting in the rocking chair by the window, one of Lucy's teddy bears on her lap.
"Sarah," he said softly, not wanting to make her jump. "Darling, are you alright?"
He knelt by the chair and took her hands in his. Her cheeks were wet with tears and she was trembling.
"Darling, what is it? What's wrong? Is it the baby?" Lucy, he said to himself, turning towards the crib.
"No it's me," Sarah said between sobs. "Oh John, I'm so sorry."
"Shhh," he pulled her up and embraced her before sitting back in the rocker with her on his lap. "Now what's all this? You have nothing to be sorry about."
"I just feel so tired, so hopeless." The words spilled out of Sarah. "I wonder if I'm doing the right things for Lucy. Nothing seems to come naturally. What sort of a Mother am I? Sometimes I look at her and it's like she doesn't really belong to me."
"Darling, you're going to be a wonderful Mother," John kissed her, "but it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. Don't be so hard on yourself," he kissed her again, "I promise I'll try to help out more. Now dry your eyes and look at our beautiful daughter."
They rocked together and watched Lucy sleeping. Gradually Sarah's breathing slowed. He kissed her and held her close until she fell asleep. "I love you," he whispered.
Evelyn: I'm 69, retired, and live with my husband in the northern tropics of Australia. We moved here from New Zealand in 1987. Contact Evelyn.