A Time to Reflect
Katie Moriarty uses the end of Season 7 to slow down and reflect on life, loves, losses, pains and true joys.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.
Spoiler Alert: This post discusses events in Call the Midwife Season 7 Episode 8.
We speak of a dawn of a new day as if it is a holy welcome thing;
but, there are times when dawn breaks into darkness
forcing us to face the things we never knew we would see.
We recount old stories;
we retrace our steps,
take refuge in echoes of that which is familiar.
We follow custom and ritual because we have no map.
We reach out blindly.
We cannot see the past and far from home we cling to the way these things are always done.
Episode 8 — it is sad as it is our last one of this season.
The death of Midwife Barbara Hereward, played by Charlotte Ritchie, was so hard last week (Episode 7)!! It made me reflect on my own losses—both personal and professional—and it is amazing how your emotions flood back in an instant. It also made me reflect on my friends and colleagues and tragedies that they have had to endure that had an impact on their ability to be a practicing midwife. There is an intense sense of loss that can unfold and a lot of processing of what it means to be a midwife. There is an unbelievable joy of being able to help someone through this powerful life event – BIRTH. We stand witness to the world changing in an instant. The moment is mixed with pain, joy and an intensity that is hard to describe. In the flash of a moment—that woman walks through a door or passageway that her mother, grandmother, great grandmother has also walked through—you are somehow eternally connected to something more than just yourself. The blood, sweat and tears are so real—and it reaffirms something within yourself—you bear witness to what is important in this world: love, friends, children and family.
It is a gift to help someone slowdown in this fast paced crazy world and a bigger gift to help people really stop and feel joy and gratitude for what they have had, what they have, and what the future will bring.
What I find powerful is that this also true of death. I have often felt that birth and death are so powerful and similar—both a transition. You can help someone to have a peaceful and honored birth and you can help someone have a peaceful and honored death. The scene with Tom and Phyllis and when they read the passage or prayer as Barbara took her last breathes truly moved me. I felt that peace and that honoring.
With episode 8 we knew we would be in for sadness with the funeral; but, in the end it was just like a scene from my own life—emotions all mixed together—joy and pain! That is what true reality is—pain and joys often mixed together. The person that I connected with was Reggie and the carousel. He found the perfect thing that symbolized that one moment in time where everything stood still and felt perfect for Tom and Barbara. It brought a sense of peace to the current storm.
Just like in my own experiences of intense pain or experiencing a loss or death — there is that moment where everything S L O W S …. it actually feels like time stands still or contracts …. there is a moment where there is a cocoon of protection surrounding you with family and friends …you do go by braille and ritual and it leads the dark way. It is hard when those moments actually don’t last for long –in our society they can feel too short!! Because life speeds up again — the silence starts to lift and the noise of life begins to return and it can feel like it is blaringly loud. At times, it can feel like it is just flying past you—you can just feel like you are standing still or possibly stuck. But, then one day you do notice the crisp feeling of fresh air and appreciate it. You see the daffodils out the window and find you have a smile on your face. And, you can think of memories and they feel sweet and you can embrace them.
Thank you Call the Midwife—you made me slow down and reflect on my own life, loves, losses, pains and true joys. It is a gift to help someone slowdown in this fast paced crazy world and a bigger gift to help people really stop and feel joy and gratitude for what they have had, what they have, and what the future will bring.
I look forward to the Christmas special and to next season.
We flicker on a screen.
We fold and unfold on the mind’s eye.
Ritual as wings,
eternal as a heartbeat and even when the heart falls silent
we do not cease to be, because in the end
we all become memories.
Katie Moriarty, PhD, CNM, CAFCI, FACNM, RN is a professor on faculty at Frontier Nursing University and a Certified Nurse-Midwife with WSUPG CNM Service at Hutzel Women’s Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Katie serves on the Board of Directors for the American College of Nurse-Midwives as the Region IV Representative. Previously she was the Associate Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at the University of Michigan.
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