‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 13, Episode 7

Call the Midwife Epsidode 7 Season 13

We’ve almost reached the end of another season of Call the Midwife and this episode was a doozy. I was teary-eyed in the first few minutes when the newly minted midwives took their place at the Nonnatus House table. Joyce and Rosalind both had a big first week as “real” midwives and were stretched to their limits. Midwifery, and caring for families, can be the best of times and the worst of times, as the new midwives experienced in this episode. I was struck by what the narrator said at the end of the episode, “there is never only darkness, but never only light.”

Rosalind became involved in the care of a young girl molested by her stepfather and now having a baby. The situation was further complicated by syphilis that was passed in-utero to the infant. In Tennessee, syphilis has risen 311% from 2018 to 2022, and congenital syphilis (infants born with syphilis) has risen over 400%. These are staggering statistics, and one of the many reasons why prenatal care — and access to health care in general — is so important.

In the end, Alison chose a fresh start and a safe place for her and her child. I hope the same can be said for her mother and siblings as Mrs. Casey comes to terms with the ways she had failed to protect her oldest daughter.

Meanwhile, Joyce not only competently managed a true obstetric emergency, a placental abruption, but had an unpleasant visitor – her estranged and abusive husband, who busy being creepy all over Poplar (shout-out to Nancy for being an excellent judge of character). Joyce left Sylvester four years prior, moved to England, and changed her name, “Joyce is the name of a woman who has had enough,” she tells him. Now Sylvester is threatening to expose her subterfuge, but so far, she has not given an inch. I hope she realizes how much support and compassion she has at Nonnatus House, and that she can let folks into her life.

Speaking of letting your loved ones into your life, Sir Matthew has frozen Trixie out, and now finds she is not dutifully coming along with his unilateral plans to make a fresh start in New York City. At the end of the episode Matthew was leaving for NYC while Trixie was left with her insomnia and a big decision.

May Sister Julianne’s wise words to Sir Matthew be true for all of us in our hardest times: “You will find your way out of this, and you will learn things.” Encouraging words are so important and really are part of the midwifery model of care. We saw both Joyce and Rosalind encouraging their clients, highlighting their strength and their capacity as mothers, and we saw the effect those words had on their clients’ self-image. These scenes were crucial reminders that helping people appreciate what they are doing well can be a powerful driver of positive action.

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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