The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I binge-watched Call the Midwife during my maternity leave just over a year ago. I was fortunate in that I don’t have horror birth stories to tell so watching this show was actually enjoyable (yes, I’ve forgotten the pain fairly quickly!). When I found out that this serial is a based on a trilogy of books, of course, I couldn’t resist; I am a reader 🙂
This book is a collection of memories of Jennifer Worth née Lee of the time she was training to become a midwife. In between these memories, she also commented on the state of antenatal care and midwifery with a bit of historical background. This is what was missing from the series though understandably, it probably won’t fit that well but I enjoyed these little tidbits and am very grateful for all those who paved the way so I got a terrific care in my turn.
Despite knowing most of the incidents in the book from the serial, I still enjoyed it very much. I still laughed at the funny moment (Chummy on her bike, Fred with his quails and pigs, etc), got teary at successful births, and heartbroken with the hard times some of these women faced. Most of all, I admire all these women for their courage and resilient in what seems to me impossible situations (I got it 100 times better than them!).
What caught me by surprise is the somewhat spiritual tone. It seems “Nonnatus House” or rather the Sisters of Nonnatus House affected the author quite a bit. Their faith, peace, and joy were puzzlement to her but slowly she began to see that surely it’s based on something bigger than what she can see.