In addition to the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing guest blogging for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife — airing on Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7:00 p.m. Central, March 30-May 18 — we are thrilled to have a bonus blogger. Rachel Sykes, who did a practicum at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing in the summer 0f 2013, is a registered midwife and graduate from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. She’s watched the show on the BBC and will provide a unique UK-perspective. She currently practices in a busy maternity unit in the Northwest of England. SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.
By Rachel Sykes
It’s always sad to see the end of this popular series. I really love the great acting, story lines and adventures of the Nonnatus midwives. I will miss curling up on the sofa on a Sunday night, getting lost in the nostalgia and romance of Call the Midwife. This final week is a mixture of drama, sadness, hope and new beginnings. Jenny (Jessica Raine) is doubtful of her future as a midwife and rethinks what she is truly passionate about. I have been here many times. I spent my twenties doing various things but always had midwifery in the forefront of my mind. After much soul searching, a fashion degree, some overseas travel and various interesting jobs later, I began my midwifery training at age 29. It takes some people time to realise what they really want to do with their lives; some know from an early age and some never truly know. It is helpful to remember that life is not a race but an interesting journey with endless corridors, of which we have freedom to choose. It is difficult to know which road to take but over the years I have learned to listen to my gut instinct and it has never let me down.
This episode demonstrates life’s continuous changeability. Jenny meets her husband to be and goes on to a new way of caring. Chummy cares for her dying mother who moves from this world to a new one and Dr Turner and his wife Shelagh welcome a new baby into their family. Jenny decides to move into palliative care of the dying, a career which no doubt takes a certain type of person. This is a stark contrast to working as a midwife, but in essence, the same kind of compassion and sensitivity is required. Midwives rarely deal with death, but are not completely immune. When it happens, it does shake staff to the core and the person sadly involved is always remembered.
It is so funny to see how men are ‘banned’ from being with their partners whilst giving birth during the 1950s. This would be unheard of nowadays and it shows how things have changed dramatically. I sometimes feel a bit sorry for the birth partners (particularly the men) as they often say they feel helpless whilst their ladies are in labour. It is quite normal for a father to be quivering in the corner not knowing what to do with himself or turning a whitish, green colour when the baby finally makes an appearance (obviously being British we ask them if they would like a cup of tea). One of the nicest things about my job is that you get to see a lot of men cry! It is such a touching moment when their baby comes into the world and I have seen the biggest and toughest of men weep buckets! Being at the birth of a new life is wonderful, it never ‘gets old’ and I hope I will never become bláze or complacent as my career progresses. I am already looking forward to the 2015 series, until then I will have to make do with all the excitement and challenges of midwifery in the real world!
Rachel Sykes is a registered midwife and graduate from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.