Abigail slept much in those months of confinement. Partly because she was more fatigued than usual, but also because there wasn’t much else to do. It was too dark to read, and she was warned that reading would ruin her eyesight and upset the baby. Her mother sat by her bed, reading aloud by candlelight, but Abigail often drifted off to sleep while her mother’s voice droned on.
Any time Abigail tried to converse on anything of importance – even matters relating to the household – she was told not to worry about it and to think only of the baby.
She did take comfort in the baby. Any time she felt lonely or forgotten, she would press her hands against her stomach to remind herself she was never alone. The baby responded by kicking her and moving about the womb. It was safe and warm and happy and loved. Abigail already loved this little being so much and she didn’t even know its sex yet. It didn’t matter.
Well, it did matter. She knew it did. She just found it hard to remember why it was so important while she was stuffed in this dark room with only her mother and the occasional maid for company.
Her husband was thrilled at the prospect of becoming a father. He visited her often in the early days of her confinement and always brought lavish gifts. As her confinement dragged on and her belly quickly grew, he visited less frequently and Abigail was almost glad. She missed him, but she hated the thought of him seeing her so swollen and misshapen.
Even in his absence, her husband continued to send gifts. As the winter melted and turned to spring, he had her favorite flowers sent up to her from the garden, but instead of cheering her up, it only reminded her of what she was missing. Without sunlight, the cuttings quickly shriveled. Abigail told herself it didn’t matter, since she couldn’t truly enjoy their colors anyway, but she did enjoy their scent while it lasted. She would have her maid open one of the windows (just a crack), then she would close her eyes and imagine she was outside, in her favorite seat in the garden, as she greedily sucked in what little fresh air wafted through the windows and mingled with the scent of the flowers.
To be continued…