The first week of August happens to be World Breastfeeding Week and I am celebrating by catching up on the East End of London and those wonderful midwives at Nonnatus House. I find myself catching my breath as Call the Midwife explores the changing times of the early 1960's, a time period that was pivotal for many social issues and lifestyle practices.
Like Americans, the British became aware of the dangers of smoking cigarettes and the potential devastating impact of medications on the developing fetus. They also encouraged mothers to find a better way to feed their babies – one that came in a can and cost money.
While Americans were launching initiatives to fight the War on Poverty the British were implementing their National Health Service. If only both countries could have seen into the future to learn how these new concepts would impact several generations later.
As someone who was taught by Benedictine nuns and went to nursing school in order to become a midwife (but detoured to become a lactation consultant), Call the Midwife captures my attention. Especially the evolution of how we view childbirth and breastfeeding.
I love the faith that the midwives have, and instill, in women. The mothers they serve may not have running water, and their clothes may be tattered, but the nuns and nurses trust them to give birth and take care of their babies. The midwives listen closely and act intuitively. They see birth and babies as something the Poplar women know and do well.
The midwives face all the challenges of life alongside birth. Pregnancy outside of marriage. Prostitution. Birth defects. Incest. Rape. Epidemics. Extreme poverty. The outcome is not always perfect in Call the Midwife. If it were, we might not be so enthralled. Nature is not perfect, and at Nonnatus House, they understand and respect this.
World Breastfeeding Week was launched in 1992 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding – just like Sr. Evangelina and Trixie and nurse Mount do on a daily basis in the East End of London. MilkWorks is honored to join all the "protectors" who came before us, here in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in places near and far. We thank them for leading the way - protecting, promoting and supporting the mothers and babies of our world!