Postpartum is the twelfth episode of the second season of The Handmaid's Tale.


After June is recovered, she is kept at the Red Center to have her breasts pumped, but is brought back to the Waterford household to induce lactation when she doesn't produce enough breast milk. Meanwhile, Nick returns to duty and Eden chooses to escape Gilead with her lover, Isaac.


Serena Joy is seen bathing Holly/Nicole as she calls her. Offred is seen using a breast pump when Aunt Lydia arrives. She commends Offred on her surviving and giving birth on her own. Aunt Elizabeth mentions that Offred's milk is less than yesterday. Aunt Lydia says she knows this already. Apparently, Mrs. Waterford wants the milk. Aunt Lydia tells Offred that other families have made offers for her to be in their households, and she holds out a basket of muffins that one of the households has sent as a gift. Offred believes she deserves a whole cake, to which Aunt Lydia says that "prideful girls don't get anything". Offred takes one of the muffins, seeing that it's a bran one.

Commander Fred is seen setting up his office when Nick walks in. Apparently, there was a misunderstanding with some overzealous Guardians but he's been returned safely to work. Commander Fred tells him opportunities are going to open up for Nick and Nick says he appreciates that. Nick hangs up a picture on the wall and it's of Serena, Fred, and the new baby.

Eden is seen holding the baby. Rita walks in with a bottle and Serena takes the baby to feed her. Rita tells Serena that they are running low on breast milk because Offred is drying up. Serena says that they can't have that. Aunt Lydia leads Offred to meet with the Commander and Nick who have brought Nicole. Offred refuses to see the baby but Aunt Lydia tells her that it'll help her produce more milk. It's true because no sooner does she say this that her breasts start to leak. Fred turns to leave by Offred offers to nurse Nicole. Fred says no but Aunt Lydia convinces him to take Offred back to the house so that she can pump there. Offred returns with Fred but this upsets Serena. She says that Offred can't touch the baby and that she pumps in the room.

Emily is being led by Aunt Lydia to Commander Lawrence's house. He turns out to be different than the other commanders. He has a Martha, Cora, with only one eye. His house is littered with books and artifacts. Emily is caught looking at a book by the Commander. He asks her what the penalty is for being caught reading and she says a finger. He tells her it used to be a hand.

Offred is using the breast pump when she hears Nicole gurgling. She walks downstairs with the milk and runs into Eden in the kitchen. Eden asks her if she agrees that a baby should be raised by two people who love each other. Offred tells her that she thinks they should grab love wherever they can. The next day, Nick is looking for Eden but can't find her. Nick tells her that their baby is so beautiful and that he wishes he could hold her. Offred says me too. Offred tells him that she wants to name her Holly after her Mom. Nick tells her it sounds right. He suggests to Offred that they could run away together and get a fresh start.

Commander Fred walks in telling him that Isaac never showed up for his shift this morning. Nick puts two and two together and realizes that they must've run off together. Serena is dealing with a crying Nicole. She gets the idea to try and breastfeed her but of course it doesn't work. Offred is in the kitchen helping clean the kitchen when Rita is called by Serena. Offred takes the chance to smell some of Nicole's clothes. Commander Fred walks in and asks her why Eden would run away. Offred says she doesn't know and he asks where she was hiding when they went searching for her in the house. She says the attic and he says that she was avoiding going home with him. Offred tells him that she wanted to spend more time with Hannah and he asks how was her reunion. Offred says she was surprised to see her. Fred says that he was glad he made it happen for her. She thanks him and he asks if that's all the thanks he gets. She offers to play Scrabble with him, saying they hadn't played in a long time and that it would be fun to do so.

Emily is getting ready for bed when Commander Lawrence's wife arrives. She tells her that he is responsible for the Colonies. Lawrence comes to take her away but she tells him that she hates him. He locks her back in her room and tells Emily to come with him. She follows him into his study where he serves her a glass of beer. He asks her about her past but she tells him that God has called her to a higher purpose. He says that she doesn't believe that. He asks if she has a wife and a son and she says yes. He says that she must miss them.

Rita wakes up Offred and tells her that they brought Isaac and Eden back. Nick tries to convince Eden to lie on the stand but she won't. She asks him to forgive her but he asks her to forgive him because he wasn't kind to her. Eden and Isaac are led to a pool. They are both chained on the diving tower, standing accused of the sin of infidelity. They ask them to renounce their sins and plead for mercy but the two of them don't. They are pushed into the pool and the both of them drown. Eden's mother and sister are devastated, while Offred and Serena watch tearfully.

Offred goes downstairs and finds Nick sitting at the table. She tries to offer comfort but he just gets up and walks away. As she's going back upstairs, she spots Serena in the baby's room. She asks Serena if she's okay, as she was obviously affected emotionally by Eden's execution. The baby starts to cry, and Offred offers to get a bottle for her. Serena stops her and places the baby in Offred's arms. The baby calms down as a smiling Offred nurses her while Serena watches.








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