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“The months of May comes differently in cities. Not for us: white blossom on the hedge rows, bluebells in the woods….instead the sun’s rays burnish bricks and mellow pavements. Seeds burst into flower in the cracks between the stones, bead well and bindweed, bloom among the rubble.”
As a Modern Day midwife, what I took away from this episode was adaptation. We need and can adapt to our situation. Lucile really was a strong and confidant example of this as she faced a difficult encounter with a patient. She was professional, exuded a calm demeanor, and truly showed her compassionate nature. What she displayed was strength and leadership. She knew that she had to stay calm, think through the crisis/problem, asked for essential supplies; but, she also knew to use herself as an instrument. She engaged. She was her authentic self—and in this crisis situation she bridged the relationship with connecting. She really just did what came naturally to her—she was “with woman”.
In the face of COVID-19, midwives are being faced with challenges and we are adapting. This adaptation is all in the face of emerging data and evidence. Just like Lucille -- we adapt as we learn more. Issues that we face -- scheduling, from staff to clients, all while we try to think about choice and the support for that woman/ client. The situation in NYC has shed light on the balance of safety for staff along with support of laboring women. The World Health Organization came out with a statement that “All women have the right to a safe and positive childbirth experience, whether or not they have a confirmed COVID-19 infection.” They state those rights entail: respect and dignity; clear communication by maternity staff; pain relief strategies: mobility in labor where possible and birth position of choice: and a companion of choice. Governor Andrew Cuomo reversed the decision of isolation for laboring women and instead they will be screened for COVID-19 along with 12 hour temperature checks. These are hard decisions and hard times. Things adapt and change as we learn more.
When I re-read the opening lines that I transcribed from the episode— the bead well and bind weed that grow amongst the cracks between the stones and concrete. It spoke to me of two things—those that can be cast by the side or those that can live in the shadows of poverty. Often people have a “they” and “us” dichotomy. But, hopefully individuals will realize it must be WE. We are all in this together. The other thing that these lines spoke to me of--was strength and resilience.
Pope Francis talked about poverty during his Palm Sunday homily. He talked of those that can be victims of economic and financial systems. He talked of the hidden poor. He talked about prisoners. He talked about the overcrowding. He noted that there can be an indifference to these situations. With overcrowding –there is the danger in this pandemic that it winds up being a grave tragedy. He implored to not ignore these individuals. He prayed for those who need to make decisions—to find a correct and creative ways to resolve the problem.
As a Modern Day Midwife here in Detroit, I think of the poverty, the overcrowding, and the water that was turned off for ages ….yes they are restarting ….but that takes time. How can people wash their hands when they don’t have access to clean water? There are issues along the Detroit River with industry and the knowledge of the impact on respiratory illness and asthma in those zip codes/ geocodes—they are at increased vulnerability. We are an international entry point. We were one of the 13 airports or sites chosen when people were re-entering the United States from around the globe. We have MANY universities and colleges—and all the March breakers revelers have returned and are in the community. Our issues are multifaceted; however, these factors have played on my mind heavily.
These are difficult time. Queen Elizabeth II summed it up so eloquently. “A time of disruption …..A disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all…I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.”
“The thing that matters is never the thing itself; but rather what we make of it. What we do with our patience and our imagination. What we allow to thrive. Nothing is ever beyond repair. We break, we bleed, and we begin again. Trust can be mended. Love can be restored. New shoots can flourish among the broken stone.”
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