“Call the Midwife” Season Two: Still Hitting the Mark

Call the Midwife - Season 2 - JennyI have been anticipating Season Two of “Call the Midwife.” Would it be as good as Season One? Would it still be a wonderful look back at childbirth and the way it touches families and communities? Would it still somehow manage to remain pertinent to the lives of women and their families today?  Yes, yes and yes again. The midwives and their patients in 1959 East End London struggle with issues of pain relief in labor, exploitation of women, and domestic violence. All these issues are still part of the lives of women in Metro Detroit 2013 and something I help women work through as part of my job as a certified nurse midwife at Henry Ford Hospital.

Chummy and Dr. Turner demonstrate nitrous oxide for pain relief in labor. The pregnant women at the clinic are told they have to go to the maternity home to use it. One of the reasons childbirth moved from the patient’s home to medical settings was the demand by women to have better pain relief in labor. I love how the patient hollers and yells till Chummy and Cynthia summon Dr. Turner with the “gas and air.” It is my experience as a nurse midwife for 22 years, that laboring women will find a way to get the pain relief they want.  It is also ironic that nitrous oxide has been reintroduced in some hospitals in the USA as a pain relief option today. What goes around comes around.

This episode also brings to light that domestic violence and sexual exploitation of women is still as much with us in 2013 as it was in 1959.  I find myself empathizing with Trixie and Jenny Lee. I have never been in a violent or exploitive relationship so it is hard for me to understand how woman can stay. I intellectually understand the cycle of domestic violence. The research shows that an abuser is not always violent, but usually very controlling, isolating the woman – this was poignantly depicted in the case of the patient Molly Brignall. My brain understands how hard financially, and emotionally it is for a woman to leave but my gut says, “Go, now, anything is better than this.”  The same can be said of the character Kirsten, the daughter if the Swedish ship captain. Trixie and Sister Evangeline are summoned to the ship for a girl in labor, a girl who has been kept on the ship as a sex slave for the sailors.  Trixie and Sister Evangeline guide her through labor and a delivery and help her to see her own self-worth by showing that they value her and her baby. Trixie faces her own fears by climbing up the side of a huge ocean freighter; and successfully preventing a cord prolapse –incredibly brave task to do in one lifetime let alone all on the same delivery call. Sister Evangaline and Trixie show the Kirsten’s father how contemptible they find him but still preserve Kirsten’s dignity.

Promoting  self-worth, standing up for your rights and needs are something at which midwives excel. Guiding women through labor and helping them to realize they are strong powerful women is at the heart of midwifery and why I come back to this show and my job time after time.


RAINN – Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network National Hotline
24hr Phone: (800) 656-4673 HOPE
Office on Violence Against Women
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1532 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 745-1211
Fax: (202) 745-0088

National Domestic Violence Hotline
(800) 799-7233 (SAFE)

Macomb County

Turning Point
P.O Box 1123
Mount Clemens, MI 48146
Administration: (586) 463-4430
24 hr crisis line: (586) 463-6990
*Hotline offers foreign language services
*Food and counseling for adult victims of domestic violence and their children. Can call shelter collect

Oakland County

H.A.V.E.N (Help Against Violent Encounters Now)

P.O. Box 431045
Pontiac, MI 48343
(248) 334-1284
24 hour crisis line: (248) 334-1274 or (877) 922-1274
*Food and counseling for adult victims of domestic violence and their children

Women’s Survival Center
43097 Woodward Ave, Suite 102
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
(248) 335-2685

Washtenaw County

Domestic Violence Project/SAFE House
PO Box 7052
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
Office: (734) 973-0242
Crisis Hotline: (734) 995-5444 (24 hours)
*Hotline offers foreign language services

Wayne County

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) Domestic Violence Phone:  (313) 216-2226 http://www.accesscommunity.org Adult Protective Services Phone: (313) 396-5050 Catholic Social Services of Wayne County 9851 Hamilton Detroit, MI 48202 (313) 883-2100 ext. 217 *Sponsors support groups for women involved in domestic violence. Weekly meetings provide opportunity for confidential discussions and for developing skills to deal with destructive situations. Baby sitting services are available. http://www.csswayne.org

First Step (Westside)
44567 Pinetree Drive
Plymouth, MI 48170
(734) 416-1111
24 hour crisis line: (888) 453-5900 or (734) 459-5900
*Spanish speaking counselor available
*Food and counseling for adult victims of domestic violence and their children
*Assist battered women in Out-Wayne County.
*Accompanies clients to court and divorce trials

YWCA Interim House (Downtown)
PO Box 21904
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 861-5300
*Food and counseling for adult victims of domestic violence and their children*

Personal Protection Orders
211 Coleman A. Young
Municipal Center
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 224-6292

Wayne County Adult Protective Services
(877) 963-0300

Wayne County Prosecutors Office
Child and Family Abuse Bureau
(313) 224-5857

2 thoughts on ““Call the Midwife” Season Two: Still Hitting the Mark

  1. I love this show. I love Chummy! Last night was a great statement for compassionate action; tho it wasn’t as intimate a portrait as those of last season. It was missing the previous rhythm, the depth of quietness.. Don’t rush through as you film!

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