The Good Bits

Posted by Tish Roeske on
Neal Street Productions

There is something especially right about watching Call the Midwife on Mothers’ Day, especially as I am about to head into the hospital to help deliver the baby of a colleague and soon-to-be first-time mom.

Fans of Call the Midwife rave about how good the show is, how accurate it is from a historical perspective. There is another wonderful characteristic about the show that only some of its viewers get to experience. Those of us who are midwives get that special thrill when a character or plot line stirs our own special memories. As the oppressed wife Annie tells her son, we have “the good bits” to help us through the hard times.

I remember a text I read in midwifery school that said the only thing more stressful than pregnancy and childbirth was dying. I have been there when a woman amazed herself and her family when she finds that last bit of energy to push the baby out even though she is exhausted. I have seen women revel in the power of breast feeding their babies. I love the energy and joy in a labor room when everyone works together — the mother-to-be, the nurses, the family. I remember thinking myself that I could not make it through labor while I was in middle of it. I was already a midwife when my first was born. Afterwards, I felt I needed to call about two hundred women to say I might have underestimated how much work they had all gone through. My midwives helped me, my husband and mom helped me, my nurses helped me. Looking back I can describe what happened in the labor, but mostly I remember the funny stories as the pivotal moments; the pains are just part of the narrative. It’s the good bits I remember.

The good bits may be learning to ride a moped or having friends return from a journey. Then for a special few of us the good bits are a baby coming into this world into our hands then up to the loving arms of a waiting mother.


Tish_Roeske.jpg(Elizabeth) Tish Roeske (CNM, MS, BSN, RN) is a nurse-midwife and has been practicing in Metro Detroit as a certified nurse-midwife for 20 years. Roeske graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science and from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a Master’s Degree in Science for Nurse-Midwife.
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About the Modern Day Midwives

PBS and Detroit Public Television have partnered with experienced midwives to discuss their role in modern obstetrics and how things have changed in relation to Call the Midwife, which takes place in the 1950s and 1960s. Learn More