“Call the Midwife” delivered what we in the business call “pearls of wisdom” yet again. This week the line “you make them feel safe” resonates with me.
In the episode, the obstetrician is describing to the new midwife, Chummy, a patient’s tragic obstetric history in very clinical terms while the patient is present. Chummy recognizes that the woman is becoming more and more frightened, anticipating yet another stillbirth due to an abnormal pelvis. It is the nurse midwife who finds the way to take the clinical and scientific and put them into terms that gives the woman hope that a cesarean delivery will give her a chance at a healthy baby.
The nurse midwife knows the way to make the patient feel safe. Labor is hard work. As a midwife, it is my job to find ways to make the women I care for feel safe and empowered. I can’t promise women painless births or deliveries free of all complications. I can promise that I will help them and care for them.
Another powerful message of this week’s episode is safety as it relates to teenage pregnancy and prostitution. Sometimes as a midwife we need to help girls manage the changes in their bodies during pregnancy. Sometimes the harder task is to provide resources to help them be safe in their everyday lives. As in the series, the need for food, shelter and freedom from exploitation are still challenges today. Often times the job of the midwife is to make a girl understand she is valued and respected.
Whether it’s in 1950s East End London or Detroit, MI., in 2012, the role of the nurse midwife is about helping women give birth while empowering women and making them feel safe.
Tish Roeske, CNM
Staff Nurse Midwife, Henry Ford Health System