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When a woman is facing a crisis pregnancy, “you can tell me anything” means everything

by | Sep 29, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

A while ago we posted a story about an episode from season three of CBS’s Madam Secretary. It was based on a clip I’d see at Newsbusters from that episode. This past week my wife and I finally finished viewing season three on Netflix and we got to see the May 7 episode, “The Seventh Floor,” in its entirety.

With that fuller context in mind I would like to revisit the scene from Madam Secretary and discuss briefly why it is very, very powerful and what it tells us about helping women find a life-affirming response to a crisis pregnancy.

Just a quick reminder of the plot. Daisy Grant (Patina Miller) is the Press Coordinator for Secretary Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni). Daisy had a very brief affair with Joe Garcia, who she did not know until later was a CIA operator, who was killed. Now Daisy discovers that she is pregnant. She is struggling and asks her boss if they can talk about something personal.

They are called actors and actresses for a reason. You have to watch and listen to Secretary McCord reassure a panicky and Daisy Grant to appreciate how it’s not just the words but the feelings behind them that are so helpful to Daisy.

First and foremost, Elizabeth McCord’s voice is bathed in understanding and affirmation. Where Daisy might have expected, at a minimum, a lecture from her boss, when she asks if she “can tell you something?,” she is told quietly, “You can tell me anything.”

The importance of her willingness to listen, be non-judgmental, and shore up Daisy cannot be overstated.

Elizabeth quickly figures out from Daisy’s cues that she is pregnant. And Daisy understandably wonders how Joe’s parents, who know nothing about Daisy or the baby, will respond.

And what about Daisy’s own folks? They are “church people. This isn’t exactly what they had envisioned for me.”

Then Daisy says, “Guess I always thought that I may have to do it alone, but not like alone-alone.” What is she really saying?

Must I do this alone?

To which Elizabeth (a mother of three herself) responds, “Maybe. [Then a pause.] You know, maybe every mother feels that way, no matter who’s in their life. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just you and the baby and… It’s my job to protect him. Or her.”

When Daisy wonders (understandably) “What if I’m not up to the job?” Elizabeth reassures her in a sincere voice that Daisy is strong–“You are one of the strongest women I have ever met. Even if you don’t feel like it right now ’cause you’re drowning in a sea of hormones.”

But Elizabeth reminds Daisy she is not alone.

Your parents might be shocked, but you are literally the light of their lives and they’ll get over it. And Joe’s parents raised a hero, so, really, how bad can they be? Then you got all of us here. God help you [a joke].

The entire exchange is less than three minutes long and ends with this:

Daisy: Thanks.

Elizabeth: It’s a beautiful world, Daisy. And the best ride is just about to start.

What has Daisy learned–or been reminded of? At this time when she is “all emotional,” and “having a breakdown in front of my boss,” she has emotional resources she may have forgotten; that any parent’s first responsibility is to protect the child who did not will him or herself into existence; that she is not in this alone–in addition to her family and the family of the baby’s father, Daisy has her family at her job at the State Department; and that for all the challenges that will undoubtedly arise, “the best ride is just about to start.”

Rarely do you see (as Newsbusters’ Dawn Slusher put it) “an encouraging pro-life, pro-motherhood speech” in any of pro-abortion tripe that comes out of Hollywood. But this episode is that rarity.

Watch it at youtube.com. (The first minute or two is off-topic.) You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: pregnancy