I have a new post up at Her.meneutics, the Christianity Today women’s blog on the BBC series Call the Midwife, which I LOVED, purchased on DVD, and can’t wait to
subject introduce my husband to. He is currently discovering the joys of Downton with me, and he liked the Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea miniseries ‘way back in the days, so I’m thinking he’ll like this one, too. Unfortunately for me his willingness to watch “chick” movies gives him reason to chide me when he wants me to watch some kind of comic book action movie with him and I’m all nah, I’d rather practice my Spanish by re-reading a translation of Pride & Prejudice…(an actual thing that I do.)
But ANYway, here is a snippet from the post. I hope you’ll pop over to the CT site and read it all. Meanwhile, I’m anxiously awaiting the availability of Jennifer Worth’s other two memoirs as Kindle books in the USA…in English. Not Spanish. At least not yet.
While Downton is a story of life among Britain’s very wealthy; Midwife offers glimpses into life among London’s urban poor. It’s based upon three (somewhat fictionalized) memoirs by former midwife Jennifer Worth, who interned with an order of Anglican nuns providing community-based maternity care in the populous East End. A little universe of its own, the area she served comprised dockworkers and other laborers and their families living in crowded tenements—ten or twelve children in two-room flats—where access to contraception was rare, families were large, and births were frequent. In the 19th century, to give birth in this world was to put your life in the filthy and ignorant hands of an untrained midwife, like Charles Dickens’ Sairey Gamp, a gossiping drunk who, at a birth, was far more liability than asset.
By contrast, the midwives of Call the Midwife are spiritual giants. Anglican nuns in the order of St. Raymond Nonnatus, they campaigned for decades for proper training and legal oversight to regulate the practice of UK midwifery. In so doing, the aimed to make birth safer for ‘the least of these.’ Their advocacy went beyond working for policy change; they lived and made their home among the people they served, in “working conditions so disgusting, and […] work so relentless, that only those with a calling from God would wish to undertake it,” wrote Worth. From the mid-19th century until the founding of the National Health Service in 1949, St. Raymund’s sisters were the only reliable midwives working among this population. At the season’s beginning, newly trained midwife Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) joins the sisters in their work, if not their religious commitment.