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I always look forward to my time each week to watch Call the Midwife, and this week was no exception. Sitting down to watch the show is generally my time to unwind, but this week, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how Barbara was doing. By now, I feel like the midwives are my friends, and it was hard to wait for this week’s episode for an update. I breathed a sigh of relief when Barbara woke up, and seeing her visit with Tom and her friends brought tears to my eyes.
When Barbara’s fingers started to become black, and she was losing sensation in them, my heart broke for her. If Barbara can’t use her hands, she can’t do her job. She mentioned that she has always wanted to be a midwife, since she was very small. While I can’t say that I’ve always known what a midwife was, I completely understand what Barbara was saying. I’ve always been interested in pregnancy and birth, and as soon as I learned about midwifery, I knew that midwifery was my calling.
Midwifery is a special, sacred job. We provide care in the most sensitive of times, and watch and guide women through the transformative process of becoming a mother. I’ve never met a midwife that doesn’t consider this to be their calling. I can’t imagine the overwhelming sadness that comes with realizing that you can’t do this work anymore. Our hands are our tools; from the technical skills of delivery and suturing to the act of gently wiping the brow of a laboring mother, or applying counter pressure on her lower back, the use of our hands is vital to our profession.
The other amazing thing about midwifery is that our colleagues often become like family. There is nothing like the relationship that forms with others who do birth work. I’m even having a hard time putting it into words right now; there’s something about that calling that we all share, that no matter how different our personalities might be, we can relate on so many levels. The passion that draws us to midwifery is a the common thread that holds us together, and creates such a special bond between us. I love that Call the Midwife has been able to capture this special side of midwifery, shown to us this week especially through the bond between Phyllis and Barbara.
My heart is broken after saying goodbye to Barbara on this week’s episode, and I hope I can recover in time for the season finale next week. After seven seasons, I feel like a member of Nonnatus house. I’ve never felt so deeply connected to a television show before! Despite the emotional highs and lows that have come along through all of these seasons, I know I’ll keep coming back to Call the Midwife.
Andrea Altomaro (MS, RN, CNM) has been nurse-midwife for the past three years and is currently working for the Henry Ford Health System. Before becoming a midwife, she worked as a nurse in the emergency department and also in labor and delivery.
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