Short Stories

Can You Feel This? – Julie Orringer

9 February 2020
Can You Feel This Book Cover Can You Feel This
Inheritance Collection
Julie Orringer
Short Stories
Amazon Original Stories
19 December 2019

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.


Can You Feel This? is a tense emotional story of a woman during childbirth and her psychological turmoil with what happened her own mother, haunts her and ignites the fear that she won’t be the dependable mother her child needs.

Emily is a young pregnant woman diagnosed with placenta previa and at thirty-six weeks she starts bleeding. In the emergency dash to the hospital, they decide to go to the nearest one and not the hospital they’d booked – the hospital Emily’s mother’s body was brought to after she committed suicide. The trauma of the emergency birth, the haunting of her mother’s death and the fear that she has the mental fortitude to handle being a new mother are all vividly portrayed in this short story with natural ease. The drama is taut and Emily’s mind, twists with thoughts that …

“… there was something wrong with you? Not that you were crazy, maybe. You knew you weren’t your mother. But what might happen once the baby was born? New mothers lost it all the time. Ordinary ones, who didn’t carry what you carried.”

After the baby is born the first steps of being a new mother are tentative and the writing holds this drama wonderfully. Julie Orringer writes in second person a masterful short story with an apprehensive atmosphere that will resonate with many mothers, and fathers. A new family, with a new future and a new set of challenges.

“A family at home. You, Ky, the baby. Everything else still unknown. Somehow you have to do it. Somehow you have to survive.”

Our first child was born prematurely by C-Section, and we were young, inexperienced and caught up in the drama and shock of a new baby, instructions flying from every angle, advice abound often conflicting, and fear that our lack of knowledge would inhibit us doing the absolute best for our daughter. What a responsibility. This story brought those raw memories back and our belief that every morsel of concern was life-threatening. I would recommend reading this short story and within the Inheritance Collection, it is one of the 5-star reads.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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