I'm watching this English series called "Call the Midwife" and am really enjoying it. It's not a HB show because it doesn't really deal with the choice to give birth at home specifically but takes place during a time (1950's) and a place (impoverished part of the UK) where homebirth with a midwife was the norm. There's also a lot of interaction with the doctor and the relationship between the current midwifery care and the medical advancements of the time. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've seen it...
Homebirth mamas - does anyone watch a series called "Call the Midwife"
I've seen the series twice and I love it! As a midwife, I wish I could experience what those midwives experienced, riding my bike around town to appointments and births, living together, having the community of midwives there (we do have a midwife community here in Oregon, but we don't all live in a convent).
I also really loved the book:
We don't have television programing either (not that we don't still manage to watch too much tv ) but you can find them on Netflicks and it looks like you can watch some on PBS online: http://video.pbs.org/program/call-midwife/
) but you can find them on Netflicks and it looks like you can watch some on PBS online: http://video.pbs.org/program/call-midwife/
I enjoy the show...kinda. I love all the beautiful babies and the moms are lovely and amazing. The births all looks real and powerful. The characters are fun to follow, too. But, in all honesty, I would never want these midwifes at my birth. They are very clinical/medical, by-the-book, and lack a holistic touch I believe is needed in a home setting. I understand that has everything to do with the culture they were serving and the training the midwives received (all medical). Although I do see a real care and devotion the midwifes have for their profession, and I applaud that, but the lack of real holistic midwife care not shown at the births, upsets me. Case in point: Season 2, episode 1. When two midwives showed up at a birth and the mom was very distressed (screaming and carrying on), the midwives acted put-off and by and large did nothing to help her manage the pain, other than offering her a shot. Finally, they called the on-call Dr and he showed up with the laughing gas. The mom was in a barely conscious state, oblivious to everything while tenderly clinging to her gas mask. The midwives told her that they will take over and coached the mom to push. For a second there I thought mom had fallen asleep, but she groggily pushed and baby was born healthy. Mom swore she would tell everyone how wonderful the gas was. Word spread and the Dr. was running from birth to birth with the gas to end the pain and suffering for as many moms he could help. The moms' receiving the gas all looked pleased and relaxed; as did the midwives attending the birth. Eventually, this became too much for the good Doc and the gas was pulled. The midwifes were outraged. "It's the 50's and women deserve the latest pain relief offered!" was the midwife outcry. The only midwife (the head nun/midwife) opposed to the gas was really just opposed to pain relief (probably her religious belief that women must suffer in childbirth). What are your thoughts?
It's important to remember that the push to "medicalize" birth did not entirely come from medical professionals. Women themselves advocated for more options during their pregnancies and births - and this included pain relief.
From _Lying In: A History of Childbirth in America_
There are descriptions of wealthy woman traveling to Europe to give birth using "Twilight Sleep" and women's suffragists were demanding pharmacologic pain relief options for labor.
I don't see how this would be different in the 50s. And to deny poor women this form of pain relief that would have been readily available to more wealthy, upper class women seems a form of discrimination, doesn't it?
I am an advocate of natural birth - but I am also an advocate of women having choices in birth - and if that choice includes pharmacologic pain relief methods, she should have the right to it.
Call the Midwife is a fascinating series - unsure about the accuracy of it (were midwives wearing gloves to deliveries in the 50s? How do they keep their uniforms so pristinely WHITE?) - but I don't think OOH midwifery as we know it today (personalized, high-touch) existed in the 50s. Many of us in the US only know American-style modern OOH midwifery. Because midwives were few and far between in the US mid-century, we are not accustomed to the realities of midwifery at that time. What most people recognize as OOH 'midwifery' and the 'midwifery model of care' are recent constructs springing from the women's movement of the 60-70s.
Maybe in a few years, PBS will run a series on the early homebirth movement in the US set in the 1970s. Wouldn't that be a fun show?
I love it. I would totally love a no nonsense HB with Sr. Evangeline and Chummy. Sr. Evangeline would be all, "stop complaining! Lets do this!" LOL.
The gas was a little gross to me, but I definitely understand them wanting some relief, especially when their trusted attendants stood by its safety.
csbwhite, I do not consider "Call the Midwife" a homebirth series, for many of the reasons you bring up. That said, I find the quality of care from the MWs to be rather more sweet than your perspective. I suppose a lot of this gets more into what we want or expect out of midwifery care but in most episodes they give the kind of care that I more or less expect at a homebirth (if updated for current practice).
Yes, it sure would! Though, I'm not sure I could handle the dialog - I could barely get through my own birth story written by my mom...it was all a little too much "groovy rush, and wave that..."
That episode was depicting an unfair quality of pain-relief options for the socio-economic culture of that time. Ironically, I think most women today do not have the right support, knowledge, and belief in the birth process to also adequately access the best pain-relief options, as well. I digress...
I really do enjoy the show. And I most definitely LOVE the midwives and most certainly find them to be warm, loving, and very sweet. I noticed from that episode there was mainly an omission of pain relief strategies that I offer as a Doula and what I would expect a midwife to offer her client, as well. Back rubs, words of affirmation, movement, breathing, no appoying look of shock of a mom's screaming, etc. This is just TV, so I am very forgiving! I would still much rather watch this show over Baby Story any day!
I also really loved the book:
Wow, I just read the first book in two days and loved it! I think it really depicts midwifery as a vocation, as many of us experience it. It resembles "Spiritual Midwifery" in this aspect, yet uses a completely different language to convey the meaning. I can't wait to read the next book, but there are 8 in the request line ahead of me at the library. I might just have to order this one from amazon as well