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Call The Midwife Asks: Is Breast Always Best?

Just in case you haven't gotten in enough internet fights, lately, here's one about 'the right way' for women to feed babies.

  • Previously

    Birth defects have become a sad reality in Poplar, where the truth about Thalidomide is soon to dawn. Trixie is noticing that lean and hungry look in Tom's eyes, for Barbara. A distinct lack of Chummy continues to assert itself.

  • Character Study
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    High Expectations Lead To High Blood Pressure

    Name: Mrs. Beckett.
    Age: Mid 20s.
    Occupation: Wife. Expectant Mother. Shrew.
    Goal: To take her anxiety about her husband's decline in dock work opportunities out on everyone she meets, including Barbara. To harangue her husband Johnny about not providing for his family.
    Sample Dialogue: "That's the tip, is it? 'Breathin'?'"
  • Awkward
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    Flipping the 'Scrip

    Situation: Barbara is trying to help Mrs. Beckett avoid stroking out before her baby is even born.

    What makes it awkward? She recommends that this very testy woman think of God and try some deep breathing in order to relax.

    How is order restored? Instead of telling her where she can stick it, Barbara extends herself even more for Mrs. Beckett and her family, above and far beyond the call of duty, hearkening perhaps to a higher calling.

  • And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor
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    Marlowe's Baby Formula!

    Look, if you want to feed your baby the old-fashioned way like some fishmonger's wife from the last century...that's fine, I guess. Or you can have a perfectly healthy, happy, attractive baby. Up to you!

  • Awkward
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    Breastie Bestie

    Situation: Sister Evangelina is utterly offended at the very notion of anyone feeding formula to a baby, rather than breastfeeding.

    What makes it awkward? Some of her patients, hello, cannot breastfeed.

    How is order restored? Sister Evangelina realizes that she's being insane after a baby almost dies. Related: you know what's best for babies? Food. And when you see a mother feeding a baby, HOWEVER SHE IS DOING IT, you should smile and think to yourself, "How sweet," and get your ass moving on down the line. Oh, yeah, I said it! P.S. Every article you read about the "Mommy Wars" on this subject is a clickbait construct of Facebook journalism and you should chalk it up as nonsense and keep living your life like nobody cares because, ultimately, nobody does!

  • Health
    From the desk of

    Nurses Patsy and Trixie

    Patient

    Nurse Barbara G.

    Diagnosis

    There are chips going uneaten. And while not an emergency, it is cause for concern.

    Patient shows no sign of elation in the presence of deep-fried matter! Clearly, her anxiety over Mrs. Beckett has gone beyond the recommended first-line treatment of "breathing."

    Prescription

    Potatoes.

    Refill forever times
    Apply chocolate as necessary

  • Character Study
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    Zzzzz

    Name: Johnny Beckett.
    Age: Mid 20s.
    Occupation: Husband. Father-to-be. Unemployed; seemingly a layabout.
    Goal: To provide for his family, so he says. After a nap or seven.
    Sample Dialogue: "You gotta want less."
  • That Quote
    "Excitement is what parents want for other people's daughters."
    -Patsy, on the subject of Barbara's father, the vicar-
  • That Happened
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    Olé!

    Phyllis is overcome by the flamenco strains of Español in her Spanish class full of what appear to a bunch of friendly gay turtleneck models.

  • Character Study
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    Mr. Nice Guy

    Name: Mr. Tommy Smith.
    Age: 60s.
    Occupation: Nice guy. "Lost" his wife "years ago."
    Goal: To have a nice night out with a nice lady, all smiles. Maybe one day get back to the Italian coast...maybe with a companion [wink!].
    Sample Dialogue: "Call me Tommy."
  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Connie -- whom Sister Evangelina delivered -- has been faithfully preparing her inverted nipples to be ready to feed her new baby.

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    She and this Freddie Threepwood-looking husband of hers are thrilled to welcome a son with the help of Sister E, who guilt-cheers Connie through the whole thing.

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    Because sometimes things don't work out like we plan, young master is unable to latch properly, causing Connie -- with Sister Evangelina's voice ringing in her ears about how breastfeeding is the only way -- to pour gasoline on the already burning stressfire that is new motherhood.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    Latin Lovers

    Nurse Crane didn't come to Spanish class to find romance but, of course, that's how the Spanish get you! Sweet Call-me-Tommy and his million-peseta smile spark a fuego in her loins that cannot be denied. I mean, I don't know about her loins, but I'm saying, she's seeing possibilities where she thought there were none and it's all down to the flirtations of the charming Mr. Smith.

  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Poor Connie is trying, and it's still not going well. At all.

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    Sisters Mary Cynthia and Julienne wonder if Connie shouldn't move on and use formula.

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    They are immediately rebuffed by Sister Evangelina, who says they'll be topping the baby up with water until he gets the whole breastfeeding thing down. OMG, don't give your newborn water, anybody, please.

  • On The Menu
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    What's On The Menu at the Local?

    When Spanish class is cancelled, no doubt due to turtleneck impingement syndrome, Tommy invites Phyllis for a nightcap.

    Coastal Delights: Tommy speaks fondly of his time spent traveling foreign shores, but Phyllis assures him that even better pleasures can be found along The Great North Road. They make plans to have a day out together! With a tea thermos! And perhaps a little cake?! DAMN, PHYLLIS.

    Tommy Tiramisu: Look, this guy is super-sweet and cute as hell, but...is he a little too sweet to be true?

    Phyllis Flambé: I'm not going to mention loins again, but I'm telling you, things are heating UP.

  • Original Documents

    East End Telegraph Co.

    Our Lord Bishop,

    I see you're still trying to make Tom happen. STOP. So what if he feeds soup every night to the tramps? STOP. That's literally his job. STOP. Tell him to get off Barbara's jock and to for real just STOP. Wasn't he supposed to go to an even worse parish, anyway? BYE, SAINT FELICIA.

    EVERYBODY

  • Snapshot
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    Perchance To Dream

    Phyllis comes back from her passionate motorcar convo stuntin' like a boss. "Long may these Spanish lessons continue," says Sister Monica Joan, thrilled at the change in Phyllis's manner. "Have you ever known Nurse Crane speak so little, yet say so much?"

  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Oh, Johnny has gotten his shifts back!

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    Now his wife can have that pram she so desperately wants!

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    Uh, wait. Noooo, Johnny doesn't have his shifts back at all. Which Mrs. Beckett finds out when she sweetly brings his dinner to the docks, at which point she promptly collapses, flips her lid, and kicks his ass out.

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    Barbara tries to appeal to the dock boss, but finds out Johnny lost his shifts because he was frequently caught sleeping on the job.

  • Awkward
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    Dance Like Nobody's Watching!

    Situation: Nurse Crane, who has had ONE good date with Tommy, is now an expert on living as we please and grabbing life with both hands and feels free to give advice about it to the younger generation.

    What makes it awkward? Poor Patsy, who must hide her love from the world (where is Delia, anyway?), would love to do just that.

    How is order restored? Phyllis wonders if Patsy and Trixie would mind helping her, you know, polish up the old barn a little before her next Spanish class. Nothing major! Just some mascara or something!

  • That Happened
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    Pinteresting

    Sister MJ, like the magpie, is enamored of all things new and shiny. She also can't move around the workroom without crashing into stuff, particularly Nurse Crane's new map board telling the nurses where to patrol for families who need home health care. Will her random replacement of the pins cause havoc? Of a kind.

  • Alert!
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    Not Great, Boob

    Alert Type: Dehydrated Baby Alert.

    Issue: Things are now very bad at Connie's house. The baby has not been feeding well.

    Complicating Factors: It's just not working out! Sometimes it really doesn't. The woman is bleeding, her baby is about to die, and everyone is on the razor's edge of going insane.

    Resolution: Sister MC steps in, talks Connie down, and saves the baby.

    Spoiler: Oh, and now she's pissed.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Sister Mary Cynthia vs. Sister Evangelina

    Sister Mary Cynthia, after saving young Baby Manly, requests "a word" with Sister E. In private. Pretty stern for Sis MC, but she's mad that Sister Evangelina's strong opinions and overall pushy demeanor have nearly killed a baby, and driven the sweet mom to the brink. It doesn't seem like a fight, but it is, and the naked truth cuts Sister Evangelina to the bone.

    Winner: Sister Mary Cynthia.

  • Awkward
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    Mr. and...Mrs. Smith.

    Situation: Because of Sister Monica Joan's pinboard mixup, both Phyllis and Patsy drop in on a senile lady whose husband is doing his best to manage his wife's care.

    What makes it awkward? The husband is Tommy.

    How is order restored? Nurse Crane is utterly humiliated. Patsy, in a gesture of true friendship, offers -- but does not push -- tea and sympathy.

  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Sister E goes to see Connie, breaks down, and reassures her that none of this mess is her fault; that she's a good mother and capable of taking care of her son; and that she, the all-powerful Sister Evangelina, was wrong to make her feel otherwise.

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    Sister E takes some time to talk it out with the Big Guy to determine what she should do next.

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    Desperate, Sister E begs Sister Julienne for permission to go and cloister herself with an austere, silent order so that she may "learn to listen again."

  • Alert!
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    What You Don't Know Will Kill You

    Alert Type: That Explains It Alert.

    Issue: Johnny is found sleeping on the docks again!

    Complicating Factors: Except this time he has blood all over his face and can't wake up!

    Resolution: Dr. Turner is called in. He immediately sends Johnny to the hospital.

    Spoiler: Turns out, Johnny hasn't been slacking because he's a slacker; it's because he has leukemia, and is dying.

  • Dialogue

    No Vacancy

    Tommy arrives at Nonnatus House, flowers in hand, to apologize to Nurse Crane, and try to explain that, you know, when he said he "lost his wife years ago," he meant that she didn't recognize him anymore.

    I'm sorry for your loss, but the facts are the facts and we can escape them no more than your wife can.
    I thought we were friends.
    I don't need another friend. You've made a fool out of me, Mr. Smith. Don't come here again.
  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Barbara vs. Nuns

    When Mrs. Beckett finds out that Johnny will die in the next few days, Barbara fights for her labour to be induced so that she can help "build the family" and allow Johnny to see his baby before he passes. The nuns find this dangerous and kind of ridiculous. It is risky -- the guy may die before the baby is born, anyway! -- but Barbara advocates hard for it. Trixie, because she is the best, says she will work with Barbara and help with the birth. Sister Julienne agrees to the plan. Bring on the castor oil!

    Winner: Barbara and assorted Becketts.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    Me And My Sister

    But forget ALL that the crying mothers and dying fathers, because just when you think you're going to get out of this without the worst sinus headache of your LIFE, these two bring down the hammer. "What will I do?" Sister Monica Joan sobs, unable to restrain her tears as Sister E packs to leave Nonnatus. Sister Evangelina: "Pray for me."

  • Wrap It Up
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    Barbara and Trixie induce Mrs. B's labor, cheering her through the painful procedures to move things faster. Barbara is not messing around anymore: "Find. Your Fighting. SPIRIT." The baby boy is born. Barbara finally gets a damn "thank you" from this chick.

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    Meanwhile, the kind Dr. Turner sits at Johnny's bedside, keeping him alive with Tottenham Spurs updates. Johnny is half out of the world. (Dr. T, however, is going to emote him back to life if it is the last thing he ever does, by God.)

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    Mrs. B and the baby make it to the hospital just in time for poor, maligned Johnny to see his son, Baby John. "I love you both," he says. "I want to stay." Teeeears.

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    Patsy straight-talks Phyllis that she needs to recognize Tommy's struggle. Nurse Crane attends the class's flamenco performance as Tommy's friend.

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    Johnny's funeral visitation brings out the whole of Poplar. His old boss from the docks gifts not only a substantial wad of cash to support Mrs. B, but Johnny's pawned dock hook.

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    Trixie clocks dumb ol' Tom praising Barbara's warriorism, and I am in full agreement with her judgment! Shut up, Tom!

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    Mrs. Beckett extends grace to the poor homeless men outside her home, because she has been taught a life lesson in what has to be the harshest terms possible.

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