Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Case for Midwives at Birth and Death

Episode Four of Call the Midwife (see reviews of the other episodes below) was among the saddest yet, with a mother dying of eclampsia, not knowing her headaches were a classic sign of the affliction. Eclampsia remains one of the most confounding mysteries in childbirth. No one really knows why it occurs or how to prevent it. But the only way to end it is through delivering the baby before the mother’s life is threatened.  Unfortunately in this case, the baby was delivered and the mom still died. The midwife who first met the mother – but never had a chance to care for her – sat by her bedside as the woman lay dying, a reminder that historically, midwives ushered in new life and ushered it out as well. They typically cared for the ill and dying – not just pregnant women.  There are “midwives of death” – hospice workers and others  who help people pass peacefully at home. I think we need more midwives at both ends of the spectrum of life.



Mama V said...

sorry - not sure if my original comment went through? anyway, i wondered if you had seen or heard of the old bbc series called "william and mary," about an undertaker and a midwife who meet, date, and marry and compliment each other. it's mentioned there that midwives used to attend both events.

Tina Cassidy said...

HI Mama V- sounds interesting but I've never heard of it. Thanks for mentioning...Tina

Unknown said...

I whole heartedly agree that we need midwifery styled support at both "ends of the spectrum of life".

I worked as a doula for six years before becoming a mother. I also worked as a hospital chaplain and helped people through their dying.

I wrote a book about my experiences as I offered my heart to those entering and exiting our world.

It was released two months ago and is available on Amazon.

Unknown said...

I truly appreciate the need for midwifery style care to offer loving support as we enter and exit this world.

I worked as a doula and as a hospital chaplain. I've held the hands of birthing women and the hands of the dying. Right now, I stay-at-home with my son and write about these moving and transformative experiences.

In fact, my first book "Birth, Breath, and Death-- Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula" was published two months ago. I write directly to the powerful and beautiful points you make in your post Tina. Thank you for your insights. May my book offer further insight and reflection.

Available in print and on Kindle via Amazon.