Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"The Midwife"

Yesterday morning I had to go get a bone density scan, and then I had to get a CT scan after that. I had to drink a big cup cup of contrast for the CT scan, wait 30 minutes, drink another big cup of contrast and then wait another 30 minutes before I could actually get the CT scan. SO, that meant that I spent lots of time waiting. And what's better to do while waiting than read! 
A couple months ago my mom and I started reading a book called The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times (the first in a trilogy of books). Here's a synopsis of the book: 

At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city's seedier side-illuminate a fascinating time in history. 

I first became acquainted with this book after my friend Sienna introduced me to the BBC show Call the Midwife which is based off of this book trilogy. My mom, Chandra and I watched the first season of the show and we all really liked it. I got the second season of the show on DVD last month for my birthday. I still haven't watched it yet, because I'm hoping to re-watch the first season beforehand (after I finish the book).
Mom was able to do a fair amount of reading to me yesterday while we were waiting and we finished all but the last chapter of our book (which we finished after we got home). We both really enjoyed the book. It was really interesting to read about the ins and outs of midwifery in the 1950's. I'm interested in reading the next two books in the trilogy, but I've got a lot of books on my "to read" list that I need to get to first.


Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,

I stumbled onto your blog some months back, and have continued to follow as I enjoy your writing and your unique perspective on living with paralysis. I have never commented before, but wanted to share with you a story I had with my mom inspired by this post.

My mom was nurse/midwife in England and worked in the poorer part of Manchester (north of London), near the docks, much like the midwife in the books/show. (My parents moved to the US int he 80's before I was born, because there was a nursing shortage here and they were offering big money to English-speaking foreign nurses). When I read your post I asked my mom if she had ever seen the show, and she said she had, and it was quite real to her experiences working as a midwife (even though she worked a bit later-early 1960's). She said each night the nurses would be on call, and each would travel (on foot) to the homes of the pregnant women, for prenatal care and to deliver babies when needed. My mom, who was quite a young nurse at the time, would carry a pain medication with her. I found that really interesting, because now a days you would think that any nurse who was known to carry meds in the worst part of town may be attacked-especially with the nurses uniform of the time, complete with the white dress and pointed cap. My mom said it was quite the opposite, and that the people were quite protective of the nurses! She told me that when they saw her, the kids would run home shouting "The nurse is coming!", and everyone would put the kettle on to make tea. When my mom would arrive at each home, she didn't want to be impolite, and refuse a cup of tea, so she was very full of tea by the night!

I just wanted to share this with you, and thank you for writing this post and allowing me to learn a little more about my mom :)

Keep writing, Heather!

Jennifer K.
Tucson, Arizona

Heather (Paralyzed with JOY!) said...

Thank you so much for leaving me such a great comment. I really enjoyed reading about your mom's experiences working as a nurse in Manchester. I agree with what you said about it seeming so dangerous for a nurse to walk around (in uniform) since people knew that they carried pain medications. Times certainly have changed, because it would definitely be too dangerous to do that in this day and age!

I'm glad that you found my blog and are enjoying it. Pass the address along to your mom… she might enjoy it, being a nurse and all.

Thanks for reading! :)

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