By Nancy Kraus, LM
On Sunday, March 30, 2014, PBS stations around the country aired the first episode of Season Three of the BBC program "Call the Midwife." Midwives around the country were again glued to their television screens to watch the most accurate representation of birth and midwifery that has ever been shown on American TV. This series has been more popular in England than Downton Abbey!
Series Three begins with the nuns and midwives getting adjusted to their move to a new residence, Midwife Jennie visits a family with two boys, a newborn who is "failing to thrive" and a toddler who is also sickly. The dad mentions to Jennie that he had a younger brother who died at age 4 from a "lung disease." With my fortunate hindsight of 2014, I knew immediately from the description of these children that they were afflicted with cystic fibrosis. For the last 10 years at least, my ob-gyn practice has been offering universal screening to every pregnant woman for this devastating disease, but back in the late 1950s, there was no way to screen for carriers of genetic diseases with DNA tests. Instead, the poor mother was deemed possibly "unfit" when instead she and her husband were both carriers of the CF gene and had passed the wrong gene to both of their children. The slightly senile Sister Monica Jean plays a crucial role in helping get appropriate medical treatment for the boys.
Chummy is now a stay-at-home mom and getting pretty bored. When she learns that Princess Margaret will be in the area, she invites the Princess to visit the new empty community center to which the midwives have been assigned. Of course, local residents all want to see and greet a member of the royal family, and Chummy's hard work pays off.
I'll be glued to the television again on Sunday night to see what comes next. Every episode in "Call the Midwife" has dealt with real-world problems, including poverty, incest, prostitution, abortion, genetic and infectious diseases, domestic abuse, falling in love, and getting old in such sensitive and beautiful ways. Don't miss it!
Thanks for reading NYSALM's "Call the Midwife" blog series! Stay tuned to our website for information on upcoming episodes of "Call the Midwife." If you have ideas for other blog post subjects, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org!