I’d like to recommend an addition to your 1,000 Days toolkit.
“Call the Midwife” is a new PBS series airing on Sunday nights. The show is set in post-WWII London, in a poor working class neighborhood called the East End. It follows a group of midwives-in-training who move into a convent to live and work at the maternal health clinic run by the nuns. As viewers, we watch them learning their craft, dealing with the joys and tragedies of the work, and finding their way in the city and in life, with romance and good humor.
Produced by the BBC, “Call the Midwife” was a hit last year in England, second only to “Downtown Abbey” as the highest rated drama of the year. It is based on the memoir of Jennifer Worth who was, herself, a midwife in the East End. It has all the components for a good show with broad appeal. It is entertaining, well-written, and well-acted. (Comedian Miranda Hart, as nurse Chummy, is particularly delightful.)
“Call the Midwife,” however, is not only a good show. It is a good show about midwives, women whose job is to accompany mothers as they bring their babies into the world and learn to care for them. In other words, it is a show about maternal health from pregnancy through infancy. That sounds familiar.
The 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday offer a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures. The right nutrition during this 1,000 day window can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty. It can also shape a society’s long-term health, stability and prosperity.
These are words from the website of the 1,000 Days Movement, a movement that Women of the ELCA has committed to support. “Call the Midwife” is a charming and accessible television show that, more than just about anything in popular media, calls attention to these very same 1,000 days. Chances are that women and men in your community are already watching. Are you? How could “Call the Midwife” be a tool you use to support the 1,000 Days Movement?
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development.