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The Handmaid's Tale: Will Offred Keep the Baby?

Is a pro-choice narrative even possible in Gilead?

Lindsay MacDonald

The Handmaid's Tale left us with quite a few twists to dwell on when its shocking Season 1 finale came to a close, but the biggest among them was the fact that Offred, a.k.a. June (Elisabeth Moss), was pregnant.

The father of that unborn child is still unknown, considering the fact that while she was being continually raped by Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) as his handmaiden, she was also carrying on a consensual sexual relationship with Nick (Max Minghell), the family chauffeur (and also an Eye). Without a DNA test, there's no telling which one of these two men got her pregnant.


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It was implied many times that Waterford could be sterile, but the fact remains that this child could have been conceived from rape instead of love -- or whatever June and Nick have -- meaning that June may not actually want to have this baby. Her options to terminate may be limited in Gilead, but does that mean the thought won't cross her mind in Season 2?

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"Coming to terms with being a mother to that child that's growing inside her is its own journey. It's very complicated," Elisabeth Moss told TV Guide at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "Like does she accept this child? Does she want this child to be born in this world? Does she want this child to be raised in Gilead? This child is also going to get taken away from her regardless, if she can't get the baby out. So that's very, very complicated. Then again, does she love Nick? Is that something that might actually be her future and so this would be their child together? That's very complicated as well."

The concept of a pro-choice narrative seems like something that would go hand-in-hand with the key themes The Handmaid's Tale, almost all of which deal with the oppression of women and how they suffer under a religious regime that seeks to dehumanize and control them. Even in the real world today, the topic of a rape victim terminating a child conceived from an assault is a hot topic of discussion.

Additional reporting by Kaitlin Thomas

Elisabeth Moss and Max Minghella, The Handmaid's Tale

George Kraychyk, Hulu

According to executive producer Bruce Miller, that issue is something they considered for Season 2, but it doesn't sound like it will be fully explored in Season 2.

"We talked about it a ton," Miller told TV Guide. "Offred is a product mostly of our world, but also a world where fertility dropped precipitously beforehand. So you have to take into account that backstory and how it would affect the way she thinks about things. We certainly had many, many, many discussions about that, but also thinking about how would it change someone's mindset or how they think about these things having lived through a period where the birth rate went to two percent."

Even if this baby is Commander Waterford's instead of Nick's, June may still want to move forward with the pregnancy simply because of how rare children are. Not to mention, she's already had one child ripped away from her, and willfully giving up a chance for another -- especially in a time and place where children are so incredibly uncommon -- might not be something she's able to go through with.

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As for her relationship with Nick, it sounds like the baby might end up making their relationship stronger, even if it's way more complicated too. He is an Eye, after all, and that makes their affair even more dangerous.

"I think that just like June has to find a different way to resist, Nick always has to find different ways to save June and to be the person that she needs him to be," Moss says. "There is a great love there, I think, but it's also very, very complicated... I always knew Nick was a good guy. I never thought of it any other way. And Max didn't either. He always knew he was a good guy. So we never thought of it any other way. I always knew he was going to show up."

Season 2 of of The Handmaid's Tale debuts on Hulu on April 25.