Like the main character Jenny Lee, I will never forget Nonnatus House and the stories of the lives that were touched by the midwives.
Watching the beautifully produced and well-written show has been a pleasure. It also makes me stop and remember all the wonderful stories I have been a part of as a nurse midwife in metro Detroit for the past 22 years. Taking this hour out of my Sunday night has reminded me that I am blessed to have a job that impacts others’ lives in such powerful ways. Pregnancy and childbirth is a normal part of life and like most things that are worthwhile, it can be really hard work. I have smiled and laughed watching new parents and their family shout with excitement and triumph when the new baby slides out onto my hands then up to their waiting arms. I have also felt the clutch of anxiety when I realize that something is wrong with the labor or pregnancy. I have rubbed the back of laboring women or the shoulder of a tired and worried father to be. I have cried with patients when there has been a miscarriage or stillbirth. I have squeezed the hand of a mother as she heads for a cesarean section. I have seen
women empowered when they figure out the have options for birth control.
I think Call the Midwife is so successful because pregnancy and childbirth touch everyone’s life. We have better medicine, safer operations, but the basic mechanics of pregnancy and childbirth are unchanged over the centuries. We will probably never cure all the challenges that make up childbirth. I don’t know that we will prevent toxemia or abruptions. I know we will always try to make childbearing safer for mothers and babies. There may be no grand dramatic finishes. I think it is like the character Fred tells Chummy, “Proximity is what counts most; being around to watch and help.” Midwife means with women.
(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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