Call the Midwife & All My Babies

My first couple of months in China have indeed been an adjustment–for my immune system especially. I’ve been sick several times already and don’t have my usual cure-alls available. Luckily, I work with great people who are kind enough to check in on me and give me Chinese herbs and medicines.

Currently, as I lay in my sick bed, feeling guilty about not being at work another day, I’ve been lucky enough to have found a BBC television series to keep me still. Call the Midwife is the television adaptation of Jennifer Worth’s memoir of the same title. In 1950s East London, nurse and midwife Jenny Lee begins her career amongst the nuns and other women like herself at Nonnatus House, a nursing convent. Each episode the midwives and nuns deal with poverty-stricken women, medical problems, and of course, the business of birthing babies.

Upon further exploration of the book that inspired the series, I discovered a slew of similar titles. Not to mention, the author has written several more books on the subject herself. But even importantly, I was reminded of a documentary that I watched via Netflix some years back that stuck with me. All My Babies also focuses on midwives and their patients. More on that below:

All My Babies was written, produced and directed by [George C. Stoney] in collaboration with the featured midwife, Mrs. Mary Francis Hill Coley, as well as with local public health doctors and nurses. Recorded on location in Albany, Georgia, it shows the preparation for and home delivery of healthy babies in both relatively good and bad rural conditions among African American families at that time. The film is not only a profound portrait of Miss Mary as she was affectionately and respectfully known, but also is a documentary record of the actual living conditions of her patients. (Read more. . .)

So, consider All My Babies a southern Black American version of Call the Midwife, minus the fictionalized dramatizations and British accents. Both a worthy watch and recommendation.

Happy reading, y’all.

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2 thoughts on “Call the Midwife & All My Babies

  1. Well bless Miss Mary’s heart. Back then people needed someone like her and all the other noble women of that community that assisted and the doctors and nurses who helped the poor people of that communty. I read further they had a reunion. I would like to see the continuation of that. midwifery is an interesting subject.

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  2. Midwifery is an interesting subject. I also recommend the documentary The Business of Being Born. “Reach down and grab your baby!” It was so serious. The reunion did sound interesting, but what are they going to talk about once they’re together? Do they remember Miss Mary birthing them? I’d have to see the reunion tapes to see, I guess.

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