Can You Feel This?
by Julie Orringer
In the chaos of a maternity ward, memories of tragedy and grief come flooding back for an anxious mother-to-be as she struggles to balance her child’s needs with her own healing.
Rushed into an emergency cesarean section, a woman finds herself in the same hospital where her suicidal mother died. She’s buried the trauma of her mother’s last hours—and also the dread that she might be just as vulnerable to breaking. As the new mother relives one crisis in the midst of another, prize-winning author Julie Orringer turns the joyous event of birth into a harrowing, poignant short story.
Julie Orringer’s Can You Feel This? is part of Inheritance, a collection of five stories about secrets, unspoken desires, and dangerous revelations between loved ones. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single setting. By yourself, behind closed doors, or shared with someone you trust.
“Can You Feel This?” is probably the most emotional of the short stories in the Inheritance series by Amazon Originals. As I hadn’t read anything by this author before, I didn’t have any expectations going into this 32 page read but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be this profound.
This is a story of a pregnant woman and her partner Ky. She suffers from a condition called placenta previa and at the start of this book she is rushed to the hospital in an emergency. There’s no time to head to her preferred hospital and instead she is treated in a place that brings back terrible, traumatic memories for her.
Her baby is born prematurely, but he seems to be fine. The woman is then left to try and work out motherhood herself, struggling with her new baby and the memories that haunt her.
“No one’s treating him like a premature baby. You do not question this. Your first mistake.”
This is a powerful story, written in the second-person. I’m not the biggest fan of this writing style so I’m glad that this was short, but I completely understand why it was written in this way. The use of ‘you’ really meant that the reader is able to fully understand the worry, the anxiety, the pain, joy, frustration, exhaustion, everything.
Overall rating: “Can You Feel This?” is a raw and emotional story about the relationship between childhood and motherhood. This is a quick, well-written read which will stay with you. Personally I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, but this was still a powerful 4 stars for me.