Welcome back! This week we are hearing from new midwife Kari Kohl.
What a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening: catching up with old friends. I was a regular follower of Call the Midwife until I started midwifery school myself, and other things took priority—studying, papers, tests, clinical practice, my abandoned family….. So it was a real joy to return to these friends, and with a new and different outlook. As a brand new midwife, I feel a little like Jenny on the first day she arrived at Nonnatus House: excited, confident, well prepared, and just a little terrified on the inside.
Tonight’s episode, as usual, was full of heartbreak and redemption. I admit I shed more than a few tears as I sympathized with the women on the screen. But I was also very happy realizing that there are some things that have changed in obstetrics over the years, many of them thanks to the efforts of midwives and the women who value the care we give. It was distressing to see a woman with an incompetent cervix and a history of multiple miscarriages waiting on a famous surgeon to decide if he felt she was a good candidate for a cervical cerclage. As he kept her waiting, I cringed as her baby, born extremely premature, was whisked away from her “for her own good.” We thankfully have a better understanding of the grieving process today, and know that women need to see and touch their babies, to have a chance to say goodbye. We also appreciate that women become attached to the little beings inside them at all different times. Each woman is different, and each must be treated individually. One might be grateful that this being she didn’t plan for, and wasn’t prepared to nurture, is gone—another might have already deeply attached herself to her unborn child, and may have imagined her child’s entire future. These two mothers’ grieving processes will be very different, and we will have to help each one go through this process in her own way.
I felt a deep sense of pride as I watched the midwives and their team care for a woman in deep financial distress facing the prospect of giving her child up for adoption. They showed true compassion for the woman and her situation, and went out of their way to help her find solutions. Although her sister (sister-in-law?) elicited much less sympathy, the professionals from Nonatus House also saw her distress and offered help to her family to alleviate it.
Call the midwife makes me feel proud of the path I have taken. Every day, I see other midwives showing the respect, concern, and compassion that is portrayed on screen, and am thankful to be able to call myself a midwife.