For your viewing…
I highly recommend the British (originally on BBC) series “Call the Midwife” that was aired in the United States on PBS, and is now available on Netflix. The stories are based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, RN RM, about her work as a midwife living and working in the East End of London during the 1950’s.
It begins as Jenny arrives at Nonnatus House as a newly minted midwife. To her surprise Nonnatus House is a convent of devoted sisters dedicated to ministering to and caring for the impoverished women of the East End. In addition to the nuns, there are several non-nun midwives like Jenny. She finds her work there personally and professionally life-affirming. At Nonnatus House, she finds dear friends and dedicated colleagues within the community of young nurses and veteran nuns.
Some of the stories are heart wrenching as these dedicated women deal with all the emerging issues of the times as well as problems since time immemorial, i.e. poverty, ignorance, superstition, diversity, prostitution, incest and, abortion, and the list goes on with all the elements of the human condition.
I dearly love this series (9 seasons) and can recommend it to a mature audience, male or female, guaranteeing that you will be moved, educated, and appreciative of the improvements to medical care that have occurred since the 1950’s, but also impressed by the deeply personal care that the patients of that period received from the midwives.
Contributed by: Susie Baker
From the Editor: Thank you, Susie. I have been a fan of BBC television for nearly 20 years, recommending what I have liked, and getting tips from others. None has been more welcome and surprising than a suggestion from this week’s essayist.
In the selection process for a new show, I have glossed over the names of hundreds of shows including “Call the Midwife” that I wrote off thinking “no way”! That was until……
Susie was so enthusiastic about this show, that I decided to give it a try. Now I am hooked for the reasons she states above. This led me to conclude:
• Avoid judging a show’s worth by the title. Sometimes it captures the theme and sometimes it misses.
• Unless it is a bona fide turkey, do not give up on a series until the third episode.
• Be mindful that to last three seasons or more the show must have been well received by others. Another reason to give it a try.
• When watching a British TV, especially one telling the stories of the common people, expect to miss from 30 to 50% of the words. Don’t worry, if you pay attention you will not miss anything. Some people select closed captioning to get more.
• Having a compelling lead character is important. For me it is a key element for my enjoyment
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