Obsessed with midwives? I am. Not so long ago, midwives were a lifeline for pregnant women and their families. Today, they’re wonderful additions to standard healthcare. Get advice about them here and here.
Get a dose of what midwifery was like in the old days with a great TV show, ‘Call the Midwife,’ and a moving novel, ‘The Midwife of Hope River.’
‘Call the Midwife‘ could be the new ‘Downton Abbey‘. It’s that good. It’s about Jenny Lee (pictured above), a young midwife in East London in the 1950s. She navigates the social mores of her era while helping pregnant women solve their complicated problems. She’s the new girl among the seasoned nuns at her Anglican hospital, and she’s just as shocked by the soon-to-be mothers as she is by the nuns who have become immune to their sad stories. I couldn’t stop watching. What happens to the Spanish mom who went into early labor? Can Jenny help another patient with her sudden case of preeclampsia? Find out this Sunday at 9 EST on PBS. (If you missed last week’s series premiere, catch it here.)
‘The Midwife of Hope River’ is a novel set in West Virginia during the Depression. Main character Patience Murphy loves helping women bring their new babies into the world, but she is hiding secrets that keep her from getting close to anyone. Patience is a loving, intriguing and enlightening protagonist. Her realistic birth stories are fascinating. That’s because the author, Patricia Harmon, was herself a midwife in rural communes and, later, in hospitals. Harmon’s memoirs, ‘The Blue Cotton Gown’ and ‘Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Journey,’ are also supposed to be informative and entertaining.
I love fiction that sheds light on history, especially the histories of mothering.