Skip to main content

TV series strikes a chord with our midwives

Judging by friends and family, there is lots of interest in the TV series Call the Midwife about the lives of midwives working in a dockland community in the 1950s. It has many fans among our midwives too and none more so than Mary McDonald, now retired who worked in very similar circumstances in Liverpool in the 1960s.

Mary was sceptical about how accurate the series would be. She expected it to be totally unlike her own experience in the Dingle area of Liverpool. But to her surprise it was, says Mary "like going down memory lane."

One of her favourite memories is of a grateful family giving her a record as a "thank you" for delivering their baby. To her amazement the most recent episode showed a family doing exactly the same to one of the on-screen midwives. Mary gave an interview about her experiences to a local newspaper. You too can read her story here on our website.

So what about home births today? After decades when women were encouraged to deliver in hospital, the climate is changing. Some women feel it will be much more relaxing to give birth at home, surrounded by their families and familiar things. They don't see birth as a medical condition but a natural process which most times it is.

We discuss the option of a home birth with them right through their pregnancy until 36 weeks when it is clearer how safe that will be. Those who want home births and have no medical problems are given full support by our team of community midwives.

As Mary says though, things have moved on. To enhance their experience we now have 20 new birthing pools for use in the community and we also offer TENS machines for pain management as well as gas and air. Midwives carry lots of other aids and equipment which no-one had dreamt of in the 1950s, including a monitor for the baby’s heart.

What hasn't changed, it seems, is the close bond that many women form with their community midwife. Our Consultant Midwife, Simon Mehigan, for example, still gets cards ten years on from women whose babies he delivered at home and has warm memories of those days. That is true of many of his colleagues.

"You will struggle to find a midwife who doesn't love home birth," says Simon.

by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive