‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 13, Episode 3

Call the Midwife Season 13 Episode 3

I don’t know about you, but this week’s Call the Midwife episode got me a little weepy over the power of community. Various plot elements showed neighbors caring for each other, performing all the little kindnesses that truly make a difference to the social fabric of a community. These actions were amplified in times of crisis – friends keeping vigil while Fred battled tetanus, for example – but were apparent in everyday, unremarkable ways, too. Sometimes neighbors simply encouraged, supported, or cheered each other on, like when Phyllis stopped by to visit Millicent.

Postpartum mood disturbances such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive thoughts worsen in the absence of community. The cocktail of hormones, sleep deprivation, and isolation prime new parents for mental health struggles. Add health concerns or what Phyllis calls a “tricky birth” to the mix, and red flags start going off. In this episode, Gillian struggled with baby Stephanie’s diagnosis and the midwives were kind and encouraging at a time when harsh words or criticism might have changed the whole trajectory of this new mother’s journey.

Nowadays, antidepressant/antianxiety medications and counseling can be a godsend, but nothing can replace the power of a supportive community – family, friends, a “new mom’s group” – to uplift new parents and keep them going.

Lastly, thank goodness for the advent of penicillin and tetanus shots; there is really something to be said for modern medicine! If you haven’t had a tetanus booster in the last 10 years, go get one!

Kathleen Danhausen Vanderbilt School of Nursing

Kathleen Danhausen, CNM, attends births at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Vanderbilt Birth Center. She is also on the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing Nurse-Midwifery program.

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