Before I realized it was a show on PBS, I picked up “The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times” by Jennifer Worth for last week’s read. The memoir is written by a woman who trained as a nurse and moved to London to be a midwife in post-war London’s East end slums. Half-way through the book I discovered “Call The Midwife,” and am super hooked! I would be totally OK with it if Chummy had her own spin-off from the show (just sayin’!). “Call The Midwife” has filled the void left from “Downton Abbey” until it airs in the U.S…
But back to the book! This memoir was so fascinating because of the crazy experiences Jennifer had as a midwife such as helping a woman deliver her 25th baby (that is not a typo), helping a pregnant 14-year-old prostitute escape slavery, and meeting a wide array of interesting souls.
But what I found even more interesting is the midwife’s spiritual transformation throughout the book. When she first began work as a midwife in a convent she wasn’t sure of her religion. When asked she responded, “Methodist, I think.”
She writes, “I would not have described myself as a committed atheist for whom all spirituality was nonsense, but as an agnostic in whom large areas of doubt and uncertainty resided.”
The midwife goes through some harrowing experiences and through working alongside nuns, the power of prayer had an effect on the young midwife.
When faced with the scary task of helping a woman deliver a premature baby one of the nuns told the midwife she would pray for the mother and child.
“All the tension and anxiety left me, and I felt calm and confident. I had learned to respect the power of prayer. What change had come over the headstrong young girl who, only a year earlier, had the whole idea of prayer to be a joke.”
“…All my fears vanished, and the calm certainty that all would be well flooded my mind and body.”
The memoir’s closing paragraph: “These three small words, ‘Go with God,’ were for me the beginning of faith. That evening, I started to read the Gospel.”
How cool is that? I loved reading about this young woman’s experiences and see her slowly begin a relationship with Christ.
A valuable lesson I learned through reading this memoir and watching the show, that no matter how crazy a situation may be, there is always time for a cuppa!