When I first saw BBC’s Midwives a few weeks ago, I decided it was not such a good version of Channel 4’s superb series One Born Every Minute.
Perhaps it was because it focused on the midwives, rather than the mums’ stories but the early episodes seemed to lack the emotion of the award winning One Born Every Minute episodes.
But as the series has gone on, I have changed my mind.
Last week’s BBC2 episode, for example, focused on two trainee midwives and how they cope being thrust into a busy maternity ward. It was fascinating to see how they developed and gained confidence – and how one told a mum she could go home (when clearly she could not!)
And this week’s episode was the best yet – focusing on midwifery in different parts of Liverpool – one midwife cared for wealthy mums (many of them older working mums) and we were taken into their large beautifully decorated homes. There, we followed one mum having her third baby – complete with birthing pool, privately paid doula and exacting birthing plan (and her birth went to plan.)
Meanwhile, on the other side was poverty – one family didn’t even have a cooker.
We also saw a ‘drop-in’ centre where mums to be – mostly from the more deprived homes – could pop in to check the health of their baby. Often they hadn’t been to a check in weeks.
The warmth of all the midwives came through strongly – especially the midwife caring for the mums from the poorer side who shed a tear at a thank you card from one mum whose baby had been immediately taken into care.
The only thing that bothered me was the treatment of one young 18 year old mum to be who confessed she couldn’t bond with her unborn baby. She said she had no feelings towards it and worried she wouldn’t be a good mum. Frankly, it appeared to me she was only being honest and rather mature in her thinking – after all, many first time mums especially cannot even imagine having an actual real-life baby – let alone love it before it is born.
Yet worryingly, she was sent to see some sort of mental health counsellor to discuss her ‘unusual feelings.’
Unsurprisingly however, when her daughter was born – in an easy delivery – she was clearly absolutely smitten and thrilled with her.
I couldn’t help but think the midwives should be more concerned with those mums who think everything will be fantastic when their baby is born. Surely the high expectations some mums have that everything will be rosy is more of a concern than a young woman who after all was only voicing the realities everyone worries about when they have a baby.
But, all credit to the BBC, very absorbing and well observed documentary.
Midwives is on BB2 on Tuesdays at 9pm. Catch up here.
Did you watch The Midwives? If so, what do you think of the programme? Let us know your thoughts below…