For the third season in-a-row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog 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. Check in here every Monday morning for the next eight weeks for historical and contemporary context on the show, and some fun discussion. Plus, this year we’ll have the occasional bonus blog from across the pond to get the British perspective. So be sure to check the blog TWICE on Mondays. SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.
By Margaret Buxton MSN CNM
The last episode was a “good death” as we were told. It was full of love and remembrance, knowledge, hellos, and good-byes. I couldn’t help but think of the recent celebration of Mother’s Day and the themes of the mother-child relationships in this episode. The bond of mother and child is more powerful than most, and how it comes to be or what shapes it has ripples in our lives forever. The arc between the terrible ending Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) experiences with her mother and that of Chummy (Miranda Hart) with the mother at the end of her life reminded us of the power of forgiveness and the sweetness of redemption. Both of these daughters were able to find peace in “getting it right” at the end of life. Sheila’s adoption experienced as “birth” was a touching reminder that Mothers and children can be united in many different ways.
I wrote in a previous season about the connection between midwifery and hospice care. It is as if the beginning and the end are so far apart that they come full circle to touch each other. In both settings, the presence that is created by the midwife, nurse, and/or families is what creates the beautiful space to let life take its first breath or breathe its last. The “space” is not only physical but can be an emotional and spiritual one: a reverent silence, a washcloth at just the right moment, a soothing sound of comfort, or a gentle hand for help. These environments are not easily created in the busy healthcare settings we are familiar with in the US, but they are still something that I aspire to every time I am with a laboring mother and will be inspired to create when I am called to be with someone at the end of their life. Jenny’s desire to pursue hospice nursing seemed a perfect fit for her, but it was sad to say good-bye to this beloved character and this amazing season.
I have so loved this show and am thankful to the creators and the artists who brought it alive. Thank you Call the Midwife!
Margaret Buxton, MSN CNM, is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, Instructor of Nursing, Vanderbilt School of Nursing and Clinical Practice Director, West End Women’s Health Center.
Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.