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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Call the Midwife

Will be watching this season's finale of Call the Midwife (in delayed view). "Call the Midwife" is a BBC1 series about a group of midwives in Poplar, East London, during the 1950's and 1960's.

I quite like this series, as it shows very well how life was in those days. The young women who work as midwives live at Nonatus House, an establishment runs by nuns. They each have a bicycle, which they can use to reach their patients. After a while, they get help from Dr. Turner, who is a widower with a little son. He falls in love with one of the sisters, who then leaves her veil and becomes his wife. It's not all about the midwivery, there are also lines about the private lives of the nurses.

People living in the 21st century and under the age of 55, will not realize how different life was in the mid-twentieth century. I was born in 1956, my sister in 1960. In the town where our parents live(d) you wouln't see the same situations as in the BBC series. There were midwives working still, but women of the better-off folk had their children in hospital. Both my sister and I were born there, in safe environments. But my grandma had her kids at home - just like in Poplar. I remember she once told me she was doing the big washing of linen (which was done by hand once a week) when she got cramps. She dropped her washing, had the baby - and returned to the washing! That was my mother's youngest brother, who was born in 1932.

I have seen a lot of change in the course of my lifetime. Often, my students ask me to tell something about 'then' when we have a couple of minutes left of the classes. I can tell them about the telephones, the coming of TV, the cassette-recorders (!), the pick-ups, the first computers in the 1980's, the coming of the internet...

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