Do any of you watch Call the Midwife? If not, oh my goodness, it is so good! I am so glad PBS picked this up in the U.S. from the BBC. I am a big Downton Abbey fan, but I have to tell you, I enjoyed this series even more.
When I sat down to watch the first episode, I had grand ideas on wrapping up some seat work while the kids slept. The kids slept, I watched the show, but no seat work was finished (or even started!). It was that good.
First off, I love historical time pieces like this - books or tv. If done well, they transport you to that time period, to those individuals playing the starring role. This series most certainly does that as it takes you to into the world of midwifery and family life in 1950's East London. It follows a main character, Jenny Lee, as she comes to live and work at Nonnatus House, alongside an Order of Nuns (though not a nun herself). Jenny comes from quite a privileged life and is thrust into an area of London that is destitute, and most certainly a long way from home. Best of all, this series is actually based on a true story!
The show touches on a number of hot topics, and is as realistic as possible - in a nice, but not too showy way - when it comes to childbirth and other scenes as they arise. The only thing that I have found most unrealistic is how the laboring mothers give birth and then are all smiley and done with labor. Maybe I am the only one, but when I deliver my babies, I am not done and ready to be all cooey immediately after birth of the baby. I am shaking like a mad woman and still in some serious pain until I truly am done with labor, if you know what I mean. ;)
The first season aired back in the fall, and the second season starts in the States on March 31st. On December 30th, they aired a special Christmas episode, and I will share a few quotes that really popped out at me.
At the start of the show, the narrator (an older Jenny), brings you right into her Christmas experience at Nonnatus House after commenting on how the outside world was full of lights, presents and basically the secular part of Christmas:
"But at Nonnatus House, a different magic was at work. The sisters spent Advent in prayer and meditation, and the atmosphere was not one of excitement but of expectant joyous calm. I wasn't entirely sure what I should make of it. I was young, and faith was still a mystery to me."Love it! Even better, is listening to the sisters sing on the show - so simple, so beautiful. I could sit there, close my eyes, and just be, simply exist while listening to their voices rise up to the heavens.
Here is a quote from a delivery scene. The mother is giving birth in a communal toilet much to the dismay of the landlord. On the birth of the baby, the mother amazingly stops sweating and panting, and holding the baby, keeps repeating, "I can't believe it! I can't believe it!" To which, the narrator comments:
"There were days and deliveries where I couldn't believe it either, but this was and will always be the most commonplace of miracles. An event at once familiar and phenomenal, timeless and immediate. Briefly making angels of us all."Isn't that the truth? I just love that quote. I got goosebumps when I heard them the first time (still do!).
To wrap up the show, the narrator leaves us with these words:
"It was a Christmas as unique as any other. For every year the mystery unfolds itself anew. And late in life, I came to see that faith, like hope, is a rope and anchor in a shifting world. Faith cannot be questioned, only lived. And if I could not grasp it then, I felt its heartbeat, which was love."You can still watch the Christmas special online here on PBS.