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    "Call the Midwife," Season 2, Episode 5

    By Corrie Shattenkirk, Student Midwife

    Episode 5 of “Call the Midwife” once again showcases the program’s ability to treat even the most provocative issues in a thoughtful and honest way.  We see the characters this week face hot-button topics that continue to inspire emotional debate and news headlines today.
     
    First, Jenny Lee cares for an exhausted and impoverished mother of eight, who Jenny determines to be 17 weeks pregnant with number nine.  Desperate to not be “in the family way”, Nora tries several methods at home before finally resorting to an illegal abortion, a procedure that ultimately leaves her septic and near death.  The abortion scene is heart-rending and vivid, and forces viewers to confront a question that is often overshadowed in the abortion debate.  What fate awaits the women who are determined for a result that they don’t have safe and healthy access to acquire?
     
    I always enjoy the aspect of the show that bears witness to the changing and slowly revolutionizing period in time for women--the nuns remark in disbelief as the vicar’s wife arrives to the church wearing slacks, and Trixie chides Jenny that “girls do give men their phone numbers nowadays”.  While this episode does give us some light reminder of the progress and change that has been made since then, it even more powerfully demonstrates injustices that persist unchanged.  When Trixie’s date with the famous actor ends abruptly after she frees herself from his forceful advances, he justifies his actions by blaming her for “being playful”.  She returns in tears to Jenny and Cynthia, voicing her shame and contemplating the ways she may have brought the assault on herself.  It is all too familiar reasoning still repeated today.
     
    On a lighter note, the discouraged Sister Monica Joan is honored at the end of the baby show when she is nominated to judge the most beautiful baby.  The act recognizes her lifetime of service to mothers and their babies, and gives her an important role in the events of the day (something she had struggled so unsuccessfully to find).  It was a wonderful way to wind down the episode.
     
    This week showed a bold commentary on important social issues, complemented perfectly with tender humanity.  I look forward to more of the same next week!

    Writers wanted! To post your reactions to the next episode of Call The Midwife, write us at newyorkmidwives@gmail.com or post on our Facebook.

    Posted 5/2/2013 8:44:01 AM
     

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