Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth


I’ve watched all the episodes of Call The Midwife so far but have only just gotten around to reading the book. It’s my Mum’s copy she gave me after she read it about 2 years ago and it’s been in my ‘to read’ pile since then.

I found it interesting reading the book as the description of some of the events is more explanatory than in the show, which is obviously edited to suit the audience.

It’s incredible to think that historically midwifery was considered to be unimportant and women and children were just expected to die in childbirth without anyone really paying much interest. The body was being deconstructed and each part analysed to understand its inner workings and yet the reason we are given life was considered irrelevant.

The first people to look at improving the procedures for midwifery were met with much contempt and people were skeptical to take a midwives view over the local women who had delivered hundreds of children, but had inevitably lost mothers and children along the way.

To think that even now there are childbirth incidents that cause death to mother and baby that we still don’t understand gives you some idea of how complicated childbirth can be. Not many people would consider a childbirth now without consulting a midwife or pediatrician first and building a birthing plan.

The characters in the book are ones we know from the show. I found some of the writing difficult to read at times as the author attempted to scribe Cockney onto the page. I understand it if I hear it spoken but trying to read it was a little difficult at times. There is a glossary at the back of the book that attempts to make it clearer but I don’t know how people with no Cockney knowledge get on.

I find the TV series interesting as it moves through history and shows the developments and challenges the health profession faced in the early stages of the NHS. It seems that nowadays in some areas we are seeing an increase in the types of diseases they faced with the introduction of immigrants and overcrowded living conditions.

As a woman we owe a lot to those first pioneers of midwifery, the people who took the time to establish why women were dying and help make childbirth a safer practice. It is sad to think of all the women and children throughout history who died needlessly through the short-sightedness of the medical profession.

Thankfully in this day and age we don’t have to worry about the medical profession being short-sighted in dissecting and investigating the human body and its intricate workings. Through the development in technology and enquiring minds refusing to stop learning, we have developed medical breakthroughs that defy most diseases. Although some are now trying to outsmart us all over again.

The biggest worry we have now is finding the money to fund all the crucial medical research that is being done all around the world. It is possible that there are cures for almost every disease imaginable somewhere out there and most of them will eventually make their way into the public domain.

However, with pharmaceutical companies being so big and medicines often being so expensive it would not surprise me if some of the cures never make it into the public domain for fear of losing the companies money. If you have a temporary cure or ongoing cure then they make money from you but if they cure you forever the money stream stops.

Maybe I’ve just seen too many movies and I’m becoming a cynic in my old age so I’ll get back to the book. If you enjoy the TV show then I would say read the book. It just gives you a wider understanding of what the characters faced and adds a little more colour to the show.

If you can donate a little or a lot to a medical charity that means something to you and help them make new discoveries in the future to make all ours lives better.


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