Endings and Beginnings

20140519-170613-61573354.jpgJenny Lee ends her career as a midwife. Chummy’s Mater, Lady Brown finds herself at the end of her life. The Turners successfully end their search for a baby. So season 3 ends. Jeez. Sigh. Hiccup. Excuse me. Harrumph. Cough. Endings. Can. Be. Sad.

How do I explain that Jenny Lee’s transition of interest from birth to death seems so natural to me? Hospice care stems from the same philosophy in which midwives approach pregnancy and birth. Both birth and death are natural processes. By normalizing , eliminating unnecessary interventions, the transitions of birth and death become more personal, less mysterious, less scary and  smoother. Hospice care brings the process home, offers choices, involves the family. Sound familiar? All the skills a midwife develops to assist a woman through childbirth easily applies to all sorts of human transitions including birth, first day of school, adolescence, marriage, pregnancy, birth, menopause, death. Really. Think about it. It’s true. Being a midwife is like attending the school of life day in and day out. You can’t help but pick up a plenty of tricks about getting through it.   Jenny is not the last midwife to use her skills at the other end of the cycle of life.  There is a whole Death Midwife movement today.  Goggle it if you’re interested.

Which brings me back to Chummy. Tentatively at first but with incredible grace, Chummy transformed into what she needed to be for her dying mother.  I argue that this also is a midwife’s skill. She became the daughter her mother needed even though her mother was never the mother that Chummy needed.  “The mother-daughter bond is a precious thing”, Sister Evangelina declares at the beginning of the episode and that bond shattered through the years of estrangement and hurt between Chummy and her Mater.

As Chummy gave her dying mother a manicure, I thought of my own Mother.  She had a close call a couple of years ago but thankfully is still very much alive and well today.  My mother happens to be very different from Lady Brown. From the day my mother birthed me on her very own birthday we have had mutual admiration for each other. We took great comfort in our precious bond as each of my 4 younger brothers arrived in our home to join my father in front of the TV to watch football, eat ravenously and rough house incessantly. She took being a mother very seriously and showed me every day how important mothering is.  She continues to be an inspiration to me and tells me often how proud she is of me.  Below is a photo of  my mother, age 86 after I took her for her very first manicure before my daughter’s wedding last year. But I digress.

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Time to begin again. Jenny Lee will be beginning a new career, albeit off camera. Shelagh will begin her journey as a mother and Chummy begins a new life as the daughter loved and loving, leaving behind the tumultuous relationship with her mother. But we still have to wait until Christmas time for another CTM episode and another year until season 4 begins. What to do?  Well, I’m not just a fan, I’m also a midwife, right?  Drama happens all the time in the life of a midwife. I certainly don’t need a TV show for stories.  I have so enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you this season. I hope you have enjoyed reading them.  Please check back here from time to time through this summer, fall and winter. I would love to introduce you to my midwife partners, share our adventures and continue to compare CTM with modern-day midwives.  I don’t want to wait until Christmas or next year.  I am beginning to like being a writer. I welcome your comments and feedback.

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3 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings

  1. God in his own way loves and appreciate everything everyone who helps in the midfery family.God bless you all.we look up.

    • Life begins in ecstacy as true followerers of Jesus Christ would say, and it is a fact that the “world” would have you believe otherwise. We were meant to procreate for a time and then God closes up the womb. Similarly, He provides an escape from our Labors of Love and we are not forgotten once we hang up our Pinards or fetascopes. It is both a pleasure and privelege to have welcomed into the world so many babies I want to never stop crying, never truly ceasing to love our “Families”, isn’t it so?

  2. Dear Deb: Thank you so much for your post. Once I was an aspiring midwife, but life got in the way. So I changed direction and became a certified Doula and can honestly say it “fit” me better. I have found, as you stated, that my Doula training and mind set have a multipurpose function. When my parents both became older and in need of care, I realized I was “Doula-ing” them out of this life as I had Doula’d mothers and babies into this life. As I got more deeply involved in the Violence Against Women movement, it was clear to me that I was utilizing my Doula skills and philosophy to again “Doula” women during their painful realizations and journey to wellness. When I became the Leader of our local Rape Crisis Center, it was clear to me that my “calling” had indeed truly been that of a Doula as I absolutely knew that being “in service to women” was supposed to be and is my life’s work. As I age, I will always be grateful to spirit for the guidance given about what it was that I was supposed to do on this earth. And – for the generosity of spirit I always received from Midwives as I explored my options. I knew I was supposed to be a healer, but wasn’t certain what kind until I discovered midwifery and the practices of wellness. Thank you to all who helped me on my way and may you all find fulfillment in the work——-Sincerely, Birthlady2

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