You Are a Warrior
“To the young it seems no door is closed and as if all hearts are open. Everything is possible. Love comes so easily. I loved my work and the freedom that it brought me. I loved the teeming streets, the families I encountered, and I thought the joy would last forever.”
Personal crisis, inner strength and resilience are amazing qualities that we see in the characters from Episode 4 of Call the Midwife. Shelagh struggles with seeing a way forward from her pain of infertility and works through this by reigniting the community choir. We witness a young woman who bravely faces her labor and with patience and perseverance to give birth to her gorgeous daughter. Sister Winifred moves from being unsteady without joy in her new role of midwifery to a position of inner calm, confidence and a true sense of purpose and happiness. Mrs. Reuben survived the horror of the Holocaust but then had to face an inner prison with her fear of leaving the safety of her home for 12 long years. She commented that being a midwife is truly a wonderful thing — bringing life into the world and seeing everything made new. The midwives and nuns noted her problems when they did their home visitation and connected her with help and provided psychological and emotional support. They truly addressed her mind, body and spirit. Mrs. Reuben witnessed the birth of her granddaughter. As her daughter, Leah, walked through a door to motherhood, Mrs. Reuben figuratively and literally walked through her personal pain and out her front door back into the community. Lastly, Jenny’s experienced intense emotional pain after the tragic accident and death of her boyfriend, Alec.
Early in the show Dr. Turner states, “It isn’t the end of the world. It is just the end of a road.” That comment made me think of challenges and the quality of human resilience! As a Modern Day Midwife we witness the same challenges, struggles and tragedies that we saw in this episode. We see poverty, fear, infertility, losses and abuse. But we also get to assist women and families to face these challenges and move forward.
What is the definition of resilience?
: the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
Often we can feel knocked down by life! But we can move from challenges and through our behaviors, thoughts and actions we can change course and move on — stronger than before. As a nurse-midwife we work to improve the health of our mothers, babies, families — and ultimately — our communities!! David Olds, the founder of the Nurse-Family Partnership stated, “There is a magic window during pregnancy … it’s a time when the desire to be a good mother and raise a healthy, happy child creates motivation to overcome incredible obstacles including poverty, instability or abuse with the help of a well-trained nurse.” In our show, Call the Midwife, and with modern day midwives and nurses — we can empower women, families and communities with knowledge and resources — and help them towards their short and long term goals. In the show, Sister Winifred states, “You are a WARRIOR — you can fight this … take my arm … take it.” Goals can seem really daunting or unreachable at times. As a nurse-midwife I try to help women take that first step that will lead to more and more movement forward!!
We can help build resilience by helping women make connections and having a loving support system, developing goals and then breaking them into achievable steps. This fosters that feeling of success and can lead you to the next step. Visualizing the positive goals — and realizing each day is a new opportunity for us to change. Change is part of life, and you can work on the goals that are attainable. Having open communication really assists to determine where someone is and where they want to go. Then you can work on problem-solving skills. Each small success can lead to a more positive view of yourself and your abilities. Helping women get involved in community groups for more social support can help. Addressing our care in a holistic sense — the mind, the body and the spirit. Strategies can take many forms from journaling, meditating, yoga, exercise, spiritual practices and many more. Connecting women to the resources that are needed! Each mother and each family are different — that is the excitement of being a nurse and being a midwife. The key is to identify the individual and aide them in their personal strategies to foster resilience.
“You will feel better. Maybe not yet, but you will. ... You just keep living, living until you are alive again.”
Katie Moriarty (CNM, PhD, CAFCI) is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Nurse Midwifery education program at the University of Michigan. She has been a nurse-midwife since 1992. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Windsor, and her Master’s and PhD degrees are from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Read More About Katie | Read All Posts by Katie