Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm Not Going to Let Call the Midwife Scam Me Anymore

Call the Midwife should have been perfect for me. It has everything I like about shows going for it: it's old-timey, British, and on Netflix streaming. Plus THIS show has nuns (Anglican not Catholic, but in full habit!) and people having babies. I love nuns. I have babies ALL THE TIME. Like I said, perfect. And it was, for a while. Then it broke my heart.




The first episode is fabulous. We meet our heroine, Nurse Jenny Lee. (The show is based on her autobiographies of the same name.) We watch as she adjusts to life as a single gal in a convent full of nuns, and as a middle-class young lady who now lives and works in a neighborhood marked by poverty and struggle.

Her first patient is a mother expecting her twenty-fifth baby. The mother and father are portrayed as deeply in love even though she only speaks Spanish and he only speaks English. When the baby comes prematurely and is thought to be stillborn the parents and all the children are devastated. As of course they would be. But I was amazed at how well this family was portrayed.

I don't remember the family ever being identified as Catholic, but the mom is Spanish, and their values are Catholic, so it seems like a reasonable assumption. And, shockingly, the show is totally okay with it all. The baby survives, because of the sheer force and stubborn confidence of his mother's great love for him. 

The nuns make only positive comments about the size of the family and the parents' love for each other and their new baby. And Jenny learns that her assumptions about a family that big were wrong. She learns that the love in this family is big enough for all their children, big enough for a language barrier, big enough even to conquer death (Fulton Sheen, pray for us). 

It was a surprising lesson for Jenny and must be a surprising lesson for many viewers, but it is True and Good and that shines through.

And that's how they get ya.

When my husband was a young single Marine stuck in places like rural Virginia and middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma his favorite pastime was going to bars with a buddy and telling tall tales. He would tell people things like that his great grandfather had invented daylight savings time or that he was a decorated Coast Guard hero. Whatever crazy story he was telling, he would work into it that he has gone to Harvard. When the bar-goer would express doubts about his tale, he would pull out his Harvard ID and prove that he HAD in fact gone to Harvard. That part of the story proven, the people would then be inclined to believe the rest of the story too, no matter how unlikely.

Call the Midwife is trying to pull the same scam on us.

After proving in the first episode that a family that defies conventional expectations of what a family should look like could be happy and filled with love, the writers go on to show us all sorts of other families that defy our expectations for what a family is. Incest and bigamy, amongst other things, get the same treatment as our first big loving family. Homosexuality wasn't featured in any of the episodes I saw, perhaps becuase that would make for an obvious agenda. Otherwise, really, I can't imagine why it wasn't.

At first, Jenny is shocked to learn that a brother and sister are living as husband and wife, or that a man is married to both of the women in a set of twins. Then, the nuns convince her that her preconceived notions are wrong, that she mustn't be judgemental, and that the love of the parties involved is what's important.


Even in the cases of teenage prostitution (in one case at the behest of the young woman's father) and spousal abuse, we learn that we mustn't be too hasty to judge and that there are reasons that women make even these choices.


Obviously, women in immoral circumstances deserve the best care that they can possibly receive. It is truly laudable that these nuns and nurses are there to help no matter what. But there's an important difference between a show telling me that all people are worthy of our love and compassion and a show telling me that all behaviors and choices are equal.


Those two angles are so confused in this show that I watched it for longer than I should have. That and all the babies. And the hairdos.




But then came Season 2, episode 5 and I had to face the truth. You know it's all going to go very wrong when the voice-over at the beginning of the episode says:
In the East End of the '50s, families tended to be large. Somewhere far away, scientists were working on a magic pill, rumored to make pregnancy a case of choice, not chance. . . .
We meet a poor, worn-out mother who finds out she's expecting her ninth child, despite a "home remedy" she had purchased from her neighborhood-home-abortionist-lady.

Her husband is out of work, and public housing hasn't been able to find them an apartment big enough for their family. Despite her requests, her doctor will provide her with neither an abortion, nor a sterilization, nor free access to contraception. Good. But neither do he or the nuns or midwives provide her with any of the help or support she needs.

Instead they look the other way as she, with the assistance of her not-allowed-to-have-an-opinion-on-the-matter husband, attempts to kill her baby herself and when that fails has a fairly graphically portrayed kitchen-table abortion at the hands of the neighborhood-home-abortionist-lady. Of course, it nearly kills her and it does kill the baby.

At the end of the show we learn that she, baby free and newly sterile, and her existing children have been allotted a house in the country with plenty of room for them all.

The ending voice over offers all the wrong lessons:
Nora's life was saved by doctors who asked no questions. She never conceived again. Free, reliable contraception came too late to help her. . . . 
Speaking of coming too late to help, no mention is made of the fact that just weeks after she killed her baby and nearly killed herself, she had a new home and a new start with plenty of room for a baby. And she and her husband and her living children will be tortured by what she did for the rest of their lives. All these people who have devoted their lives to helping these women and babies, failed this woman and baby in the most grievous way imaginable.

Anyway, that was it for me. Here's hoping that Jenny and Cynthia and Trixie find love and that Sister Bernadette does NOT. That they continue to nobly assist the women of the East End and quit all the moral relativism.  But I won't be there to see it. I guess I'm going to have to go back farther than the '50s for my British entertainment from now on. 


I certainly think this show can be watched by well-formed adults who know what they're getting into. And it certainly is fun. But I'm not going to watch it anymore. And if you do choose to watch it, I would highly recommend skipping season 2, episode 5. Some things, once seen, cannot be unseen. And all the blood and gore of three seasons of The Walking Dead don't haunt me like the drops of blood that fell from that kitchen table.


-------------------------------


And, ummm, awkward transition much . . . but Catholic All Year has been nominated in two categories at The Homeschool Post's Annual Awards!


If you are so inclined you can click on the links to vote once per day, per device for Catholic All Year as the Best NEW Homeschool Blog 2013, and/or the Best Current Events, Opinion, and/or Politics Blog 2013.


Some other bloggers from our neck of the woods are also nominated, including Jen from Conversion Diary as Best Nitty Gritty Homeschooler 2013, Chris from Campfires and Cleats as Best Special Needs Blog 2013 and Best Photos Blog 2013, Monique from Mountains of Grace also in Best New Homeschool Blog 2013, Jessica from Shower of Roses as Best Super Homeschooler Blog 2013and Cari from Clan Donaldson as Funniest Homeschool Blog 2013.


Voting is open now through November 18th. Vote early, vote often!
And if you're visiting for the first time from The Homeschool Post, here are a couple of links to prove that I do sometimes write about homeschooling:

Homeschooling: One Room Schoolhouse Meets Three Ring Circus




And for examples of posts in which I express opinions about things, I'll direct you to pretty much everything else on this blog. 

Thanks for stopping by!


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64 comments:

  1. I've only watched a few episodes of Call the Midwife.....I was watching it last year on Amazon Prime, so I don't think I've ever made it to Season 2. I hadn't realized that it is on Netflix. Anyway, I remember that first episode with the 25 kids very distinctly. I loved that episode...and it really made me realize something about poverty and babies. At the time (last year), my husband was in his last year of law school and my baby was only few months old....it was a very stressful time for our family, but that baby who came at what the world would call a "bad time" brought us SO MUCH JOY. So, watching that first episode with the super large family made me realize something...about why in some cases there seems to be an inverse relationship between the number of children a family has and their annual income. It's because when you have less money, you can't buy vacations or fancy cars or expensive clothes or do others things that people do to "bring joy"...but you can still have the joy and love and excitement that a new baby brings...and babies do bring joy and love and excitement...and I think sometimes people who don't have a lot of money realize that in a way that people with more money don't. (Not to say that people with more money don't realize the joy that babies bring...obviously many do).

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    1. I love this reflection Amelia! We also had a baby at a "terrible" time that turned out to be a perfect time and such a blessing!

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  2. I've only watched 1 episode (this year not being a good one to watch shows about babies) and I have yet to see anyone catch the nuns first mention of the Pill - and how she (the nun!) hopes that something like it will come around soon and what a miracle it would be. Made me question the path they were taking with the show.

    I also remembered a lot of snark about the first (25th baby) couple from the nuns and how they only had eyes for each other and couldn't see past their love in a way that was hinted as irresponsible - basically they love each other and aren't actually thinking of the consequences.

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    1. Molly, I remember those references as well...it set off a little alarm bell.

      ~Jenny

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    2. I think I must've missed it too.

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    3. Having read all the books and watched all the programs (being British I have had the advantage of watching them as they came out) I find your comments troubling. The programmes throughout the three series stay very true to the books. If you are upset by the reality of life in the east end of London I can only suggest you take a trip to another impoverished area like it. This is merely a comment on the way things were, and still are for many, through someone's eyes who lived through it. These things happened. That is not going to change. What can change is our response to such things. I suggest rather than ignore reality you instead embrace it, accept it and then go on to help women so they do not feel the pill is there only option.

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    4. I'm not sure I understand your comment Lydia. The fact that there is poverty doesn't seem to me to be a good reason to watch a show that seems to me to encourage behaviors that I don't think are good for people.

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    5. I remember those comments too and thankfully came across this post before I ever made it to season 2. When Chummy told her mother she was "no longer entitled" to wear white on her wedding, that was a huge alarm bell.

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  3. See, I didn't see the show as trying to convince us that all choices are equal at all! I saw them showing that often there is a lot more to someone's story than their sin and that these women would serve anyone no matter the circumstances. And in the prostituted daughter episode, Mother gets in the dad's face and changes the situation! Yeah, the abortion episode broke my heart and really disappointed me and I have yet to look into whether that was actually part of the autobiography or not. Tragically, though, those scenarios were real. It made me sick and yet I can be okay with a show showing that because it prompts me to prayer rather than fake zombie gore and violence which just seems to prompt me to lose hope. Though, yes, I was pleading with Mother (or whatever nun it was) to SAY something about the baby and she didn't.

    I also admit that I find it disturbing that so many mothers would just let the babies hang out in carriages outside in the alleys unattended for who knows how long...

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    1. True, but it was their acceptance of the certain behavior that is wrong and bothersome. There wasn't an attitude from the midwives of "This is horribly wrong and immoral, but we have an obligation to help these women and their babies". What the show did was to try and get the audience to believe that the behavior was just one aspect of normal--everyone is different! Not only that, but the comments regarding contraception go completely against church teaching. Actually, in Europe it was/is quite common for mothers to leave their babies outside in their prams outside of their homes and even restaurants and stores.

      ~Jenny

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    2. I think a little part of me may still be in denial a bit :) There was so much good in the show that I saw but I suppose you are all right that it verges too much into relativism. Sigh. I really wanted to like it and I probably will still watch but if I do recommend it, it will be with a lot of caveats! I would add to the post that I would NEVER recommend it to a pregnant, recently postpartum, or someone suffering a recent loss. Way too many triggers.

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    3. I know how you feel. It kept giving it more chances until finally I couldn't watch it any more. You are right...way to many triggers!

      Jenny

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    4. The way I remember the prostituted daughter episode, it's Trixie who gives the Dad what for. Sister Evangelina's solution is to bring the girl a suitcase full of condoms. That'll solve it.

      And honestly, the prams outside is one of my favorite parts! It's all just so sweet and innocent. And realistic! Moms are busy, stores are crowded why shouldn't the babies all keep each other company outside?

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    5. I agree with Mary- I got the vibe that the sisters were merely showing God's love to who they served. Then again, I read the books. Which, btw, are one non-Catholic, non-religious woman's memoirs. So I wasn't threatened by her views at all, or the show's portrayal of them. I took them for what they were, with a grain of salt to boot, and appreciated Jenny Lee's respect for the Anglican sisters. *shrug*

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    6. Watching it while pregnant and postpartum reminded me to be very thankful for modern medicine and our Catholic faith. I would still definitely warn other women beforehand in case triggers would be problematic, though.

      The show did take some liberties that were not in the book. The nuns do not see the prostituted daughter again after her delivery, and they do not know what happened to her. Chummy delivered the baby in the book, and she was quite horrified over the circumstances. Nuns did not return to deliver condoms in the true account. (I saw more agenda pushing in the TV series.)

      The book does contain some graphic details on prostitution, among other tough descriptions of extreme suffering. The author reminds me of some of my "pro-life" Protestant relatives. I find a lot of value in her personal experiences as a midwife and gained further understanding into mitigating circumstances, which do not change morality, but do alter culpability in the participants. There are those who engage in pure evil in the book and others who are caught up in evil without fully understanding or knowing. Lots of suffering. She draws incorrect and immoral conclusions when it comes to things like abortion and birth control, but I attribute that partially to the lack of authority and rich history that we fortunately possess in Catholicism. She starts out agnostic and becomes Christian, something the TV series does not emphasize, but her Christianity is Protestant. This is quite evident When I read her accounts, I gain a great understanding of humanity and society, I understand her perspective, but I am quickly able to think of better conclusions that line up with Catholic teachings. Reading the three-book series helped me prepare for more constructive conversation with Protestants, especially those who have been on the front lines of life, death, suffering, and joy.

      A few more differences in the book -- A nun does not run off and marry a doctor. One nun does convert to Catholicism, another leaves after experiencing her "dark night of the soul" without recovery. The author highly respects Fr. Joe, the Catholic priest who makes it his mission to help prostitutes. There is no "happily ever after" for the woman who had an abortion. Those are just a few differences.

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  4. I could have written this post, except I didn't get as far as you. I quit after the incest/suicide episode. So disappointing and frustrating that it is so difficult to find a morally sound, enjoyable show these days. I had such high hopes for this show. I wouldn't even recommend it to a well formed adult; I don't think anyone should expose themselves to that immorality! As a side note, congrats on the nomination! As a Catholic, homeschooling mom to 6 (with #7 on the way) I love your blog!

    ~Jenny

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  5. I quit after the incest episode too. All my friends were raving about how awesome it was and I was like "you guys... did you see the incest episode?!?!?! Did you hear the closing narration?!?!?!" I mean, I guess I should appreciate that it's straight forward indoctrination since nothing about it was discreet. But still. That was it for me. I definitely couldn't recommend the show after that.

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  6. I wanted to love that show. so much. I just kept hoping it would turn around and be as awesome as the first episode. Thank you for warning me before I got to the abortion episode. shudder.

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  7. Your post came at a great time! After being a fan of Downton Abbey I was recommended to watch "Call the Midwife". I finally started watching it last week and really have been enjoying it. I love the era, the outfits, the hair and of course as you mentioned the nuns.

    Like you, I found some things that didn't seem right with me. In the first episode, maybe you noticed as well, but when Nurse Jenny and Sister Evangeline (?) were leaving a home Sister was explaining how there are a lot of babies born in Poplar etc and " until the doctors find a magic pill (cure) it will continue to be that way.

    The "incest" episode confused me. Maybe I am a little dense, but I couldn't put a clear cut answer on it, or maybe I missed something in the episode? Was it incest? I know that both the brother and sister were sleeping in the same bed and living together but could it have been ...just that? Since they were from the workhouse and lived in such harsh conditions maybe they didn't see a second bedroom as fit? I just watched that episode the other day so it has been on my mind as of late trying to "find" a answer I probably will never receive, haha.

    Thank you for the warning about the next season... I just finished season one!

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    1. I see what you mean. For me, the lightbulb moment came when Jenny mentions how uncomfortable she was with the situation and the nun tells her the history of the brother and sister. She makes a comment about how the horrors of the workhouse erased the fact that they were ever brother and sister. From that and other comments, the implication was that they were living like husband and wife.
      In addition, the fact that the sister committed suicide and the nuns basically seemed ok with it sealed the deal for me that it would be the last episode of the show that I would watch. :-(

      ~Jenny

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    2. The books go into A LOT of detail regarding the work houses and how they shaped Cockney culture at the time. Really, it's hard to imagine how gruesome those houses were. The books really push the idea that these ill conceived public projects had a devastating impact on family, and they did! So, what you see in the show doesn't quite cover it. I don't think incest is excused- it's just that there IS a sad backstory and context that makes it make sense.

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    3. Yes, S, the book does provide a lot more clarity. I understood the incest in the book to be a sad, immoral result of extreme suffering. Absolutely horrific suffering. That doesn't make it okay. In fact, it shows us that immoral behavior can often be traced to unjust suffering, something that is unhealthy, and not just because God "made someone that way". Certainly, though, their culpability was somewhat mitigated.

      And, yes, for anyone hoping to help the poor via government programs, "Shadows of the Workhouse" should be required reading.

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  8. I have watched a few episodes, and was hoodwinked into reading the book. I found some things eyeopening, but generally it was disfunction on display without the appropriate counter point/commentary etc. I caution you all from reading the book - a section on prostitution is very graphic.

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  9. Be assured that Sister Bernadette does indeed find love...

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    1. Oh no! Say it ain't so. Argh, they hinted at it so much but I hoped they wouldn't actually go there. Sad, sad face.

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    2. Yes, Sr. Bernadette leaves the convent and we find out her name is Shelia. But that storyline doesn't actually bother me at all! I don't think it was ever implied that she had taken final vows (she's so much younger than the others that I think we can assume she hasn't) so leaving the convent after prayerful discernment to marry a man whose wife has died doesn't seem problematic to me. I've known TONS of men who left the seminary and one friend who left the convent to marry. She hadn't taken final vows and there was nothing scandalous about her leaving. I was actually quite impressed with how the show portrayed her leaving. She made her decision very slowly and it seemed prayerful to me.

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  10. Yeah, definitely a lot of weird things in there, but I kept on watching it for the babies (and nuns! singing the Liturgy of the Hours!) and mixed in with the mess, there is a lot of great stuff, like the episode where the young woman reconciles with her dying father, and I really liked the love story for Chummy.

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    1. I really like the love story for Chummy too...until she had premarital sex.

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  11. Sawako, I know! The nuns singing, and the babies, and the clothes and cute little romances had me hooked. But ITA Kendra that I started sensing something 'off' early on (I totally missed the incense episode until later, I watched them out of order) and when the abortion episode happened I was truly disappointed and depressed over their take on that. I was yelling at the tv "But if she'd waited and had the baby anyway now they'd be in that bigger country house with their beautiful 9th baby!" And why the midwives didn't do more baffles me too. I mean, wasn't there adoption back then too?! I know tons of families who desperately want to adopt a baby right now and are waiting and I know several more (myself included) who while fertile would happily adopt a baby if it was in need. In the end some food and advocacy and a little empathy would have gone a long way with that situation. Not to mention a husband with a backbone. What man stands by and helps murder his own child just because his distraught, clearly unwell wife tells him to?!

    And yes, Sister Bernadette did leave the convent for love. That episode was sad in its own little way :(

    We need a Catholic version of Call the Midwife :) Maybe I can get my midwife to write a memoir....the clothes wouldn't be nearly as good but the babies would be just as cute :)

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    1. Amanda, in the true stories portrayed in the book, the midwives did not learn about the woman who underwent the abortion until it was done. So the midwives would not have been able to stop her.

      As far as the house in the country, the producers of the show were disingenuous with that one. They did not get some gorgeous house in the country in real life. They were waiting, and had been waiting for years, for the government to relocate them into decent housing. They were living in abandoned housing with practically no food, and the government kept turning them away for new housing because "their family was too big". The government required a family of that size to live in a 4-bedroom house and, since they were only building 2- and 3-bedroom houses, this family had to stay in the slums, with no running water, no decent roof, no food, and only two rooms. Perfectly logical, huh? So they felt the abortion was the only way that they would ever get off the waiting list to leave that awful place. I doubt they knew of adoption options, and clearly no one was helping them in that regard. That's sad. In that case, the state had some responsibility in the death of that child by keeping families in the condemned post-war slums for years on end based on family size. It breaks my heart. And, yes, I would love to see a Catholic version :).

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  12. I'm so glad you write posts like this!!! I watched a few episodes, but never got fully into it. I just didn't root for Jenny enough to feel invested in her. But now I am super glad I didn't make it that far!

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  13. I have felt this show going towards something awful like this. Not good. But they would have to portray something this awful so everyone would jump on board with the pill. I'm saying all of it is despicable. It is so hard to find something good to watch!

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  14. I could not agree with your attitude towards Call the Midwife. In fact that was the episode that made me stop watching (I did start it back up again and I can tell you it doesn't get any better).

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  15. Wow. I also thought Call the Midwife should have been perfect for me. I love period dramas, midwives, birth, babies...but like you, there were just some things about the show that bothered me. I never watched past season one. And now I'm glad I didn't. Ugh!

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  16. Hi Kendra! I love your blog and this post! I started watching the show because I love English drama and babies and I'm a nurse! I knew the sweetness couldn't last and it didn't:( There is a book called "All for the love of mothers," which is the memoirs of a Catholic midwife in Germany at the turn of the 20th century. It is wonderful but I hesitate to suggest it to vulnerable women (pregnant, post-partum, suffering a loss, etc).

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  17. I have appreciated this discussion very much! Esp. from those of you that read the book - because for sure the show has all these places you mention where it really doesn't ring true, in a really troubling way. Woman has an abortion and as a result ends up skipping happily through the countryside with her family like a scene out of The Sound of Music? The context that those of you have who read the memoir have provided makes this story much more compelling and thought-provoking than the simplified and mediafied (you know?) portrayal in the show.

    I do like the show, though, not because I agree with its often false-feeling conclusions. Even with its failings or maybe even because of them, I find it does challenge me to come up with counterarguments in my own mind that reflect both the realities of poverty and the realities of life and faith and grace.

    Also, the hairdos!

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  18. Yes, the abortion episode made my heart sink. What a lie.

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  19. Just want to point out that the nuns are actually Anglican nuns, not Catholic.

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    1. I'm Anglican, and I'm pretty bleeping sure Anglican nuns in the 50s WOULD NOT think abortion was ok.... (whatever mess the Anglican church is in now...)

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  20. I've been turning a blind eye to some of the show's wishy-washy-ness...but I haven't seen that episode yet, and I'm glad to know to avoid it. Ugh and a half.

    (Also, I VOTED for you! Seeing that you're the only "homeschooling blog" I follow it seemed right :)

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  21. How funny -- just a few days ago I was bummed that I couldn't find the second season to watch online for free (I don't subscribe to Netflix). Your post makes me feel better about it, like I really don't need to be watching this trash anyway.

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  22. Thanks for this. I really wanted to love this show, too. I was trying to overlook some of the uncomfortably relativistic episodes, but after the abortion episode, I'm out.

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  23. I'm a Protestant, and just finished the incest episode. I had to google, because it seemed to me that the nun was suggesting that incest is a reasonable and decent option under the right circumstances. Glad to see that I'm not alone in my thought process. I think I'll cut my losses and stop watching now. I don't want to support a show that's pushing an "anything goes between consenting adults" ideology, especially when they're portraying it dishonestly.

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  25. You know what. I'm 21. I'm not yet a full adult but certainly not a child. I think that seeing this as anything other then a TV DRAMA is just stupid. I watch it for entertainment, not to learn. I'm sorry but to me, this is just being blown way out of proportion.

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    1. Hey Amanda, I am 22 and although I recognized all of these instances that have been previously mentioned when I watched season 1 and they gave me pause about the intention of the show, I still stopped watching. The more we let false information into our heads, the less sensitive we are to it next time. I also do not want to support something that is promoting viewpoints that I am firmly against. I think these ladies are right to guard themselves against this propaganda and I was glad I happened upon this post before making it to season 2.

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  26. I also read these books, and enjoyed 1 & 3. (BABIES!!) In the book, the mom who tried to abort failed. She almost died, but the baby lived. And then, when the baby was born, they delivered without a midwife and DROWNED IT IN A BUCKET. Hard to put a classy spin on that on, PBS. Because that's what it's like when people don't want a baby - they'll do what it takes. And there was no grassy field.

    Also, Sister Bernadette marries the doctor. It's gone downhill.

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  27. I love the books and LOVE the babies on the show. I watch the show well aware that there is an agenda. It is unfortunate that the author passed way right before the show aired because I'm sure it gives BBC more of a free range. I will never for get those two drops of blood either. It was horrific.
    I also had a hard time dealing with the incest, etc. and you identified the problem well in your post. I thought the book addresses the nuances a little better.
    I think it is important for adults (not kids!) to be aware of how mainstream media presents abortion and birth control, and this show is a good reminder. I grew up believing these lies and shows like this serve as a reminder of how easy it is for people to be deceived into believing that birth control and abortion do not have terrible repercussions.

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  28. It's funny to me that you enjoyed the show when the nuns teach Jenny about loving people involved an alternative lifestyle that you approve. But I think you are missing the entire point altogether. The mission of the nuns isn't to teach morality. The mission of the nuns is to provide nursing and midwifery care to everyone who comes to them regardless of the choices they've made in life. Jesus said something about us being known to the world by our love, not by our self-righteous moralizing.

    I am a nurse and a midwife. I have cared for many people I doubt you'd approve of. I didn't approve of many of them. But over and over again Jesus shows me that His power is best demonstrated by my loving people where they are no matter what I think of their choices. He's shown me over and over again that people do make choices, even reprehensible ones, for reasons that a mere first glance will not reveal.

    My job is to be there and love while providing the best care I can, not be there and judge them. In fact, when I do get in a judgmental frame of mind I find my ability to care for my patients is diminished profoundly.

    I see myself as a foot-washer. It is not my job to judge exactly how those feet got dirty and whether or not they are worthy of my care.

    As far as the blood dripping off the table. Trust me. There are many, many things I wish I could unsee. But it's reality, and it's the one God has called me to. In real life we must get our hands dirty by touching real sinners knowing that we, and our ability to love beyond our selves, may be what is being judged by heaven.

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    1. Hmm, I'm wondering if our opinions are as far apart as you seem to think.

      I don't think your comment s a fair characterization of what I believe or what I wrote. To quote myself above, "Obviously, women in immoral circumstances deserve the best care that they can possibly receive. It is truly laudable that these nuns and nurses are there to help no matter what. But there's an important difference between a show telling me that all people are worthy of our love and compassion and a show telling me that all behaviors and choices are equal."

      God bless you and them for the services you and they provide to everyone who needs them. That's not is the least tiny bit my issue with the show. It's the fact that the show uses those situations to try to teach us a lesson that I don't agree with. And a lesson that is not true. So I don't think the show is a good use of my time.

      And I hope you'll agree that touching sinners is a far cry from performing abortions on sinners. I support the one, but not the other.

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    2. Chloe, that was beautifully written.... I think your words are applicable to not only the readers of this thread & topic, but applicable for all human beings, regardless of where they are in faith. I especially appreciate your reminder of Jesus' words and His caution against self-righteous judgment. It's a slippery slope for all of us. May He continue to bestow upon you the the hidden blessings you undoubtedly receive as a footwasher. :-)

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  29. I'm behind, but that was the last episode of Call the Midwife that I watched, and it made me feel so sick. I'm disappointed the show took this turn. :-(

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  30. A truly interesting read! I have just recently started watching Call the Midwife (I'm about six or seven episodes in) and really have enjoyed it, but I share a lot of the same sentiments as you on some of those particularly questionable episodes and would be equally as upset by the episode in season 2 you are talking about. What I've really enjoyed is just getting a glimpse into how things may have been for midwives in London in the 50's. I definitely will be watching cautiously from now on!

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  31. It seems as though even London of 50 years ago had the same politically correct stance on things that 2015 America does. So sad. I will choose to smell the roses and leave the thorns, but, even the BBC is getting choked out by thorns these days.

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  32. It seems as though even London of 50 years ago had the same politically correct stance on things that 2015 America does. So sad. I will choose to smell the roses and leave the thorns, but, even the BBC is getting choked out by thorns these days.

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  33. See, this television program is based on someone's autobiography/journals. A real person who lived a real life with real experiences. So I'm assuming those reflections that offended you might be the actual reflections of the woman who the rest of the episodes you enjoyed were based upon, or at least based on actual events. I don't think there's an "agenda", though obviously she might disagree with you on certain things. I'm sorry the show was ruined for you, but I do think you're being a bit harsh. If we only viewed things we agreed with honestly, we'd not survive in this world. However, I do think you have a right to keep your eyes on things of God and respect that. But to expect a show, in every of episodes, to align to your point of view and abandon it when 90% of the time you enjoyed it? Seems an impossible standard to like any television show in an imperfect world.

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    1. But the show did deviate from the books. I read all four of them, and the show does leave out and/or outright change some details in areas that appear to contain a social agenda. I highly recommend reading all the books. You don't need to watch the series, but I would read the books for the real story if you do watch the series. I wrote about a few of the differences above, and I cut and pasted here to avoid typing again. I also noted some differences with the incest couple in another comment.

      Watching it while pregnant and postpartum reminded me to be very thankful for modern medicine and our Catholic faith.

      The show did take some liberties that were not in the book. The nuns do not see the prostituted daughter again after her delivery, and they do not know what happened to her. Chummy delivered the baby in the book, and she was quite horrified over the circumstances. Nuns did not return to deliver condoms in the true account. (I saw more agenda pushing in the TV series.)

      The book does contain some graphic details on prostitution, among other tough descriptions of extreme suffering. The author reminds me of some of my "pro-life" Protestant relatives. I find a lot of value in her personal experiences as a midwife and gained further understanding into mitigating circumstances, which do not change morality, but do alter culpability in the participants. There are those who engage in pure evil in the book and others who are caught up in evil without fully understanding or knowing. Lots of suffering. She draws incorrect and immoral conclusions when it comes to things like abortion and birth control, but I attribute that partially to the lack of authority and rich history that we fortunately possess in Catholicism. She starts out agnostic and becomes Christian, something the TV series does not emphasize, but her Christianity is Protestant. This is quite evident When I read her accounts, I gain a great understanding of humanity and society, I understand her perspective, but I am quickly able to think of better conclusions that line up with Catholic teachings. Reading the three-book series helped me prepare for more constructive conversation with Protestants, especially those who have been on the front lines of life, death, suffering, and joy.

      A few more differences in the book -- A nun does not run off and marry a doctor. One nun does convert to Catholicism, another leaves after experiencing her "dark night of the soul" without recovery. The author highly respects Fr. Joe, the Catholic priest who makes it his mission to help prostitutes. There is no "happily ever after" for the woman who had an abortion. Those are just a few differences.

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  34. I remember the message from the abortion episode quite differently. Maybe there are multiple ways to look at it. Either way, it was extraordinarily difficult to watch. There was a struggle with the nuns and midwives between the legality and morality of what the parents were wanting to do. If the women of Nonnatus house had sought the help that was available, the parents would have been criminally charged. Where would that have put their family? The nurses and nuns couldn't force the parents to do the right thing, only give guidance and medical help. All they could do in the end was try to help the family heal as best as they could after tragedy. I don't think the show is in any way trying to excuse the immoral actions and decisions made by the characters in some of the episodes, but is showing that even with the life choices people make, they still need help. Would anyone really argue that it's best to turn away from the medical needs of a woman who kills her child? We are talking about a television show, even if based on a memoir, but I really look at these episodes as a portrayal of our duty to pass guidance rather than judgement.

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  36. I am so happy to come across this post and to see the comments posted especially from my fellow sisters in the Catholic Church, I too had some misgivings at each episode as the show got more and more into a dark side of life, As this is old coming on this post it is now 2016, it is terribly disturbing to watch the homosexuality coming into the show now with Patsy and her friend, now living with the Nuns helping out, This homosexual relationship has not yet been discovered to the Nuns or midwives, but as the original poster said, I agree one hundred percent that the way the TV show portrays everything, It makes all these moral situations out to be like their is no right or wrong and we shouldnt judge and just help is what is needed instead, This is totally disturbing to watch, The abortion, Another one appears with a coat hanger, down the road, I guess to get the audience to think about the dangers of back street abortions and how much better it is to have medical help for Woman, Planned parenthood in particular and their disgusting events recently in the news with selling of baby parts, etc, It for sure has a agenda, Even if its subliminal. All the prostitution, incest, now Homosexuality but we must not judge. Its horrible what it has turned into as they progress thru the years. What I read was that only the first three seasons were from the books and the rest of the show because they were doing so well, decided to continue on ,so they did research from other midwives of the time and period and wrote up other storys to keep the tv show continue, Where will it stop at any degree of morality with the message how love will conquer all, We make judgments all day long, We have to judge, If the weather is cold out I will dress my children warm, If I am cranky and tired I will try and get more sleep, But when it comes to any moral judgments then we all get stoned like the Woman caught in adultery because heaven forbid we are making a moral judgement, Their is a right and wrong, and I thank God every day for being Catholic that if I am uncertain about something is all I have to do is go the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and it will tell me what I need to know, Thanks be to God for the Catholic Church and yes this show did start out nice, Babies and Nuns and praying and loving the hairdos and clothing and period drama but then evil worked its way into it to try and deceive us all, Thankyou to the Author for pointing this out, I only wish I would have saw this before I started watching it, I am glad to see others having some misgivings about this, even if it is just a tv show, Everything we put into our minds and see and hear affects us. I only started watching it because I saw a Catholic woman that I respected had it down on her facebook that she liked the show, I would not recommend it to anyone because I dont know how strong they are in their faith if they could discern the right and wrong because the after narrative makes everything seem like everythings alright in the end. But its not Gods ways in many episodes but because of the Nuns it can make people believe its all okay, Incest, prostitution, abortion, premarital sex. homosexuality, These are NEVER OKAY with GOD! Just another way for the enemy to get to us and confuse us. Their are alot of other British shows if you google what can I watch after Downton abbey and some other shows come up that may help with Downton withdrawl was the only reason I started watching it again to not helping me in anyway, Leaving a darkness after each episode now. Thats called a conscience!! Wake Up People!! Many Many thanks to the Catholic blogger who brought this subject to light! and Congrats on your blog!

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  38. You'll never be happy by judging others and yourself so harshly. Sometimes there is no right answer. Love yourself. Love others. You can't do one without the other.

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  39. I realize I'm a late-commer to this post, but I feel compelled to share my opinion.

    I joined the church and left before I took my vows (full disclosure, so you can decide how far you want to read in my opinion). I had doubts in my heart, and realized that my longing for purpose and not grace. But in my education, I was given the humble place for my work: serving God's will by serving His people. With this came the responsibility to overcome my own exceptions, opinions, fears, and inhibitions to serve as Christ without judgement. I was taught that anything and everything that happened to me, every situation was by the design of God, and that my test was to always act with compassion. Though I've left the church and faith entirely, I still try to carry these moral teachings with me in my daily life.

    I do enjoy the show, and I did take away a different message from S2E5, like the previous poster, JessD, stated. I also understand your discomfort with the story lines that you find amoral, but I feel that this is what makes it feel me authentic. These things did and do happen, whether we agree with them, whether they are sanctioned by a higher power or not. This is just art imitating life.

    And congrats on your blog nomination. I hope you won!

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