Friday, January 4, 2013

Call the Midwife

I've just finished reading "Call the Midwife" by Jennifer Worth.  She was a midwife in East End London in the early 1950's. After WW2, there was an acute housing shortage in London and many people were forced to live in overcrowded and/or condemned buildings.  Basic sanitation was challenging in these conditions, and the midwives would do a pre-delivery assessment of the housing situation to see if a home birth could be done safely. I was born in '55 and, growing up in rural Quebec, I saw poverty, but nothing compared with what many of the Londoners suffered.
 Many colourful characters are described in the stories but I think the most remarkable was a woman who had 25 children.  Her 25th was born very premature weighing only 1lb 10oz (the mother had a bad fall that precipitated the labour), but the mother was able to keep the baby alive by always having it snugged up to her breasts and feeding the baby drops of milk every half-hour.  What love and dedication.  No wonder her husband adored her.
PBS has made a TV series based on the book which I think is going to be aired this winter.


  1. I have always been drawn to the women in London during WWII. I have a freind who was adopted drom this war and a situation. Thanks for the review.

  2. I have read the trilogy - they are wonderful books. Over here the BBC are about to begin a second TV series, based on the books...they are superb. As ever, they are a little different from Jennifer Worth's original writing, but even so, they beautifully capture those different days. Something for you to look forward to next winter!

  3. I agree with Elaine. The show is wonderful! So simple and old fashioned....but that's what I liked about it. Real people with real stories and,dare I say,no Hollywood hype.

  4. i just watched that yesterday online at pbs. it is so good!