This is set in the 1950s, before birth control was readily available. As a result, families (especially poor families) were much larger than what we see today and many of those families opted to use midwives instead of going to the hospital. Jenny Lee (now Worth) was one of those midwives and this book is the start of a trilogy about the things she saw and did there.
The first chapter of the book is a fairly explicit birth. (It’s highly possible that people who have given birth themselves would not consider it graphic. I nearly passed out.) But I pressed on and found that the book is actually incredibly wonderful.
There are so many great vignettes in this story. Some are absolutely amazing (there’s a woman who has 25 children by the time the book is over) and some are absolutely heartbreaking (she’s a midwife. Sometimes babies die) but they all make me incredibly happy that I live in the time that I do.
I discussed on Facebook the fact that this book makes me not want to have children (which I had already decided upon) and I would like to clarify the point. That isn’t because of the fact that she’s a midwife. I would absolutely trust her to deliver my hypothetical child (or would, if she hadn’t died a year or so ago). It’s just that the actual process of having a baby sounds awful. AND that’s sort of the easy part when it comes to kids.
But as I said, the worst parts of the book are pretty early. Or possibly by the end, I was just more used to it.
I’m hoping to find and read the other two books in the trilogy and I definitely want to check out the miniseries, too.