Going Beyond the Surface
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 8 Episode 3.
“Every birth begins as a mystery—an enterprise whose outcome cannot be foretold. We think it will all be well and all is well… almost always. But joys are only the beginning of the journey and we must move forward fueled by faith.”
This episode dealt with a baby born with a cleft lip and palette; the lingering emotional impacts from the loss of a couple’s first born son, Stephen, from sudden infant death syndrome; and, bringing the seaside or beach to Poplar. What this Modern Day Midwife wants to focus on is the level of care that we all witnessed within the episode.
Shelagh, Dr. Patrick Turner and our new character – Miss Higgins (the office manager) all show a depth and breadth of concern for Mrs. Hazel Becker that really made an impact. They displayed actions that tried to build community with inviting her to their play group (to meet other mothers and little ones). They showed empathy and concern by truly using their clinical and listening skills to hear what was going on beyond the surface or her spoken words. Dr. Turner offered to “chat about your worries” and Shelagh stopped by her home to follow up on concerns. They offered concrete resources and suggestions to assist. There were two actions that really touched me. First—Dr. Turner really showed that we need to say things directly to help our clients. When he stated “You are a wonderful mother…I have every confidence in you…and one day you will have confidence in yourself again because you deserve it.”
It is essential to really tell people that we believe in them.
Words are powerful!! It is essential to really tell people that we believe in them. And secondly, Miss Higgins showed such a high level of compassion by bringing the rosebush and sharing her family story. This action opened the door for Hazel to revisit her personal momentos that she had from Stephen. These simple actions were concrete ways to connect and get through so that Hazel could have a breakthrough on an emotional level.
The intensity of care and element of time that was shared—these are things that seem to be going by the wayside with the medicalization of birth within our society. We need to be able to talk about nutrition, exercise, sleep, work, relationships, and ways of handling the transitions they are being confronted with…all these things are connected to health. We need time to share information but we need time to LISTEN to what the priorities are for our client! We need to focus on what the concerns of women and their families are. As providers we need to push to have precious time with our clients.
“We can decide to be happy. Make much out of little – embrace the warmth of our ordinary days. Life unfolds as a mystery, an enterprise whose outcome cannot be foretold. We do not get what we expect. We stumble on cracks –are faced with imperfections. Bonds are tested and tightened. And our landscapes shift, in sunshine and in shade. There is light… there is! Look for it! Look for it shining over your shoulder on the pass. There was light where you went once. There is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again.”
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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