‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 13, Episode 5

Call the Midwife Epsidode 5 Season 13

There is nothing more heartbreaking than the sound of parents weeping with the fear of losing their child, and this week’s Call the Midwife episode showed how privilege and education are no shield for parental vulnerability. A major theme of the episode is that people have a choice in how they parent and Dr. Turner and Shelagh – as well as and young parents Lindy and Melvin – are clearly doing their best in uncharted waters.

The episode also highlights the role community support can play in strengthening families and preventing child neglect or abuse. Nurse home-visiting programs have long helped vulnerable parents receive the education, support, and health care they need to thrive; and such programs are still providing crucial services to families today. In the Nashville area, Nurses for Newborns, Nurture the Next, and the Nurse-Family Partnership are all home-visiting programs working to prevent infant deaths and child maltreatment, while also aiming to enhance parenting skills and school-readiness in children.

As a health care provider, I found a few scenes in this week’s episode particularly difficult to watch. For example, Lindy and Melvin were so clearly overwhelmed when they took their girls to the eye specialist. They kept asking the doctor to explain his observations, instead he barked at them and provided no information. I was so grateful when Sister Veronica showed up to advocate and translate for them (the Nonnatus House team is the best!), but it was a good reminder that providers should always use language that a layperson can understand, and, as much as possible, continually narrate what they are assessing and finding.

It was also devastating to watch Dr. Turner finally lay down the protective cloak and control of being a doctor and to experience the terror of being a parent worried about losing their child. I can’t imagine a better foster home than what the Turners provide, and it feels so unfair that they may lose May given that the scenario in which she was injured could happen to any family.

Lastly, Sir Matthew has a secret – I sure hope he can tell Trixie about it soon, to share the load and put everyone out of their misery!

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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