Call the Midwife: The Fear

So, apparently I had things a bit wrong. I was under the impression that Trixie was taking some time away to go to a rehab clinic, or whatever the 1963 equivalent of that was. But no, apparently she’s going to spend several months hanging out with her godmother in Portofino.

Forgive me for seeming judgmental, but that just sounds like an extended holiday. And a resort in Italy sounds like possibly the worst place you could go to try and get control of a serious alcohol problem. It’s like going to France to try to learn to cope with your lactose intolerance.

Ok, fine, off she goes. And Christopher is at the door to take her to the airport and to promise to collect her again, so I guess her orders to basically get completely out of her life are being ignored. Which I’m actually ok with, because that whole thing seemed odd and unnecessary anyway.

Bye, Trixie! Enjoy your sunny holiday!

(On another note: did anyone else hear about people on Twitter FAT SHAMING Helen George? In the full knowledge that she’s pregnant? WTF is wrong with people?)

Anyway: here’s the fluff story–Violet has to plan a picnic. Seriously, that’s it. She arranges it with military precision, and it all goes off without a hitch. I really wish they’d give this character and Fred more to do than just arrange entertainment for the neighbourhood.

Mum of the Week is Eunice Dobson. She already has one little boy and is very uninterested in the forthcoming arrival of her second child. Her sweet husband seems keen, asking about due dates and how she’s doing, but she fobs him off with, basically, ‘it’ll get here when it gets here.’ He tries to surprise her at the clinic, only to find out (and accidentally flag up) that she hasn’t attended a single clinic since falling pregnant. Lucille offers to swing by the Dobson flat later to see her.

What Lucille finds is a woman who’s firmly dug in her heels and won’t have anything to do with anyone medical. She won’t even have her blood pressure checked. Lucille backs down, and she and Shelagh pull the woman’s file and find out her previous birth was a rough one, with forceps and everything.

Lucille goes back and gently asks Mrs D to open up to her. Mrs D gushes forth with a birth story so horrifying that I’m reconsidering having a second kid (though that ship has sailed–Hi, Bean!) The poor woman’s a wreck, and it’s not helping that her mother-in-law’s staying with her, knitting up little cardigans and impatiently telling Eunice to suck it up and calm the hell down. She’s not a mean woman, the elder Mrs D, it’s just that she’s of the generation that was giving birth during World War II, so talk about people who just soldiered on with life, no matter what was coming at them. And Eunice’s particular situation isn’t very well understood by the medical community in the early 60’s. Mental health, generally, wasn’t well dealt with back then (hell, we still struggle to deal with it now.)

But the thing is, no matter how much you say you won’t be having this baby, this baby’s gonna come at some point. Sure enough, Eunice goes into labour, and locks herself in the bathroom. Her husband calls in the reinforcements, and Lucille, Turner, and Shelagh all arrive. After several tense moments of Eunice eyeing her husband’s razors, Lucille finally manages to convince her to unlock the door. She and Shelagh attend her throughout the birth, and she gives birth (forceps free) to a baby girl. There is relief and happiness at last, but we learn in the closing voiceover that she had no more children. I’m guessing she looked into more reliable birth control, seeing as how it was a condom splitting that got her pregnant with her daughter in the first place.

And, the other A-plot: a sailor named Ade is forced off his ship in port because his shipmates are certain he has smallpox. Thanks for letting him loose in the East End of London, guys! He manages to cover his pock-marked face and get to the seamen’s mission, but after a day or two there a drunken jerk roommate sees the sores and raises the alarm. Ade goes into hiding, and Poplar starts to panic. People flood Turner’s office, demanding vaccines, as Shelagh tries to manage everyone and remind them that they’re not even sure this is smallpox.

With all the police and the medical community out looking for this man, it’s actually Reggie who finds him, which I think says a lot for a very sick man’s ability to hide. Reggie supplies him with food, and Violet notices that Dundee cakes and such are going missing and asks what’s up. Reg confesses to having given them to his friend, but won’t say where the man is hiding. Nurse Crane finally sits down with Reggie and persuades him to tell her.

She goes, alone, to see Ade and reassure him that she’s there to help. She has a look at him and starts to doubt this is smallpox they’re dealing with.

Turner confirms it: it’s not smallpox, but leprosy. Apparently leprosy is much better, if you have to choose between the two. He’ll be able to get treatment, and there’ll be a place for him at a specialist hospital in a couple of days. In the meantime, he gets to stay at Nonnatus, where he bonds with Sister MJ, who’s really sad when he has to leave (Ade is quite religious, so they have many a talk about faith). The poor man is so astonished to be shown kindness it kind of makes your heart bleed a little.

He gets his treatment, he gets better at the hospital. The picnic goes off, and Tom and Barbara return home for good.

All is right with the world again.



One thought on “Call the Midwife: The Fear

  1. Speaking as someone who has had traumatic experiences from something as ordinary as blood tests or dental procedures, and have never endured childbirth… I am appalled at how the MIL and husband were dismissive of her fears. Also by that context, I’m not talking about needlephobia or dental phobia in general. I’m talking about when the needle goes in incorrectly and I sit there for 15 min have them take a huge container of blood while feeling like my vein was gonna burst from the needle pain. I’m talking about having extreme neck pain after wisdom teeth removal that I thought death might not be a bad alternative. So people who tell Eunice and myself to get over it… that’s just insulting.

    I commend the midwives for helping her overcome her fear without being judgemental. Also it is interesting how Eunice’s husband asked about his wife having a c section this time around and the request was denied. Had this situation happened today..maybe..just maybe the request would be approved. Some people who had a traumatic birth experience are totally like.. nope I’m not pushing another kid out even if you pay me the amount of lotto 649 jackpot to do so and they would rather get cut open. For others would be like pouring salt on a wound and further their emotional trauma. It depends on the patient’s feelings I guess.

    Also, please don’t misinterpret this as a promotion for abortion ..but I am quite sad that Eunice had a traumatic birth experience, was 110% sure that she didn’t want another baby, had a condom split, and was denied an abortion. Forcing her to have another baby would be putting her on the road to death. Still in the 60s she had no choice, abortion was illegal . Nowadays, I would 110% support a woman who wanted an abortion given the past birth experience . In context of the past experience, having ” One and done” would be a wise decision, at least if I were in her shoes. Women should be given the chance to say no to anything they aren’t comfortable with.

    Additionally, this episode shows that mental health issues and severe phobias need to be taken seriously and dealt with. We could very much have had a pregnant mom who had committed suicide due to past birth trauma. In that case, the baby might be saved by c section, but that leaves a devastated father with two kids who will never experience maternal love.

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