Monique Hyde is a young expectant mother who was featured in Series 2, Episode 7. Monique was the first black woman featured in Call the Midwife, and her case portrayed the racism that still presided over Poplar in 1959. She was played by Velile Tshabalala.
During the war, her husband Harold was an RAF pilot. He met Monique sometime after the war in Jamaica, whereupon they married and he brought her to the UK when she was 35 weeks pregnant. However, after World War II, he was not allowed back in the Air Force, and found a job at the docks. Due to the times, when discrimination based on race was rampant, Monique and Harold consider themselves lucky.
Monique carries herself in a very elegant fashion, but is all too aware of what the white people of Poplar think of her and her family.
Monique is fist seen waiting to be seen by a nurse at the clinic, watching as a young girl (Sylvie) is harshly scolded for stealing one of her mother's cigarettes. The little girl sees her, and the two exchange silent hellos. The girl's mother, Rita Bailey, sees, and snootily asks her daughter if "that coloured woman" was bothering her again. Seeing this, Jenny calls Monique up first, much to Rita's annoyance. Jenny examines Monique and explains the process of home delivery, much to Monique's surprise, as she thought she would simply go to the midwives when her time came.
A few days later, in the poorer district of Poplar, Jenny comes by Monique's block for a home visit. Monique nervously allows the nurse into her home. After hearing from Mrs. Bailey that there are many 'coloured' people living in with the Hydes, she asks Monique. Monique tells her that they live with Harold's cousin and his wife, who "gave up their own room" for them. In addition to the four of them, Harold's cousin, Jacob, has two brothers who live there. Monique then explains that they're planning to move out to their own home, but it's not easily finding landlords who will rent to them. Jenny changes the subject, and the two bond over the china teacups Monique owns, which were a gift from her mother. Mrs. Hyde relays that she misses her mother "like the sunshine", and the flowers she used to grow.
When Jenny next comes by to the Hyde's home, she brings Monique flowers. Monique then doubles over in pain, but Jenny soon diagnoses the pains as Braxton-Hicks contractions. Jenny asks why she didn't call Nonnatus House when she was having what she thought were real contractions. Monique replies that she didn't want her neighbours to think she had her "own personal nurse to come running whenever I sneeze". She says that they already think she gets "too much for nothing", but Jenny assures her that no matter what, to always call her if she is concerned. Monique is touched and says "you're the English lady my mother told me about".
After leaving Monique, Rita stops Jenny and asks she come see her and the other pregnant white women on the block before Monique from now on, earnestly saying that the Hydes could have diseases that could harm their babies. Jenny is disgusted and tells her she will do just that, as when she is done with Rita, she can go to Monique and have a pleasant conversation with "an intelligent, well-mannered woman". Jenny leaves Rita and the other women stunned.
A few days later, Monique saves Rita from falling down the stairs while bringing up laundry to dry. Rita is very uncomfortable with Monique touching her, but says her thanks. Rita grumbles that the Council was meant to keep the steps clean and tidy so no one would slip. Monique gathers up Rita's laundry basket and says that in her country, the women take turns cleaning. Rita asks what it's like in Monique's home country, and Monique wistfully tells Rita about it. The two women continue to bond, until Rita's racist friends find them. Rita then puts up a stony appearance and once again shuns Monique.
When Monique's contractions start, she telephones Nonnatus as promised, but the phone is answered by Sister Monica Joan, who suffers from dementia and did not realize Monique needed the help of a midwife. Confused, the sister hangs up the phone, leaving Monique alone.
Desperate, Monique bangs on the Bailey's door, and is met with young Sylvie, who tells her that Rita isn't home. Sylvie stays with Monique until her mother returns, who then takes her child away from Monique, despite Sylvie's protests. Monique begs for help, although Rita tells her to phone a midwife. Monique's waters break when she says they won't answer. Knowing the seriousness of the situation, Rita rushes forward to help Monique, and tells her friends to "sod off" when they go on about the diseases Monique might have.
Realizing what she's done, Sister Monica Joan tells the midwives a woman in labour has called, but is no help when they try to determine who it might have been. Sister Monica Joan is appalled and devastated at herself. But after a bit of time, she recalls the name of the street Monique said, and Jenny immediately sets off to help.
Rita holds Monique's hand all the way to Nonnatus, and on the steps, Jenny rushes out and helps them up the remaining stairs. Rita demands to know where they were, asking how they could "leave a decent woman in this state". Once inside, Monique doesn't make it far before she has to sit down on the floor, propped up against the wall. The nurses swarm around her, and Chummy realises the baby's heartbeat is slow. After some encouragement from Jenny, Monique pushes through the pain and delivers a baby boy, who had a knot in his cord, causing a slow heartbeat. The baby is otherwise healthy, and begins to cry.
Monique cries and says to her baby "from this whole Mother Country, you picked the nicest ladies to introduce you".
We last see Monique back at home, surrounded by her family, with Rita and Sylvie coming by with tea and cake, as old prejudices are washed away in favour of new friendship.