This has been my favourite show for 5 years. There is really no limit age limit on this show. Anyone is welcome to watch the birth scenes. The reason I rated it as 12+ is that is this more than just a birth show. This show tells modern day viewers all about the difficulties that women, all women, not just pregnant women, faced in the 1960s. Today, such issues still exist, but they have been more accepted and understood among people. Here are some of the mature content I must warn you about.
1. First of all, I want to assure you that there are no sex scenes. CTM is all about the consequences of sex. Despite there being on scenes of couples undressed and engaging in sex, there were many references to sex.
- A midwife and her boyfriend( who is a vicar and supposedly opposed to pre marital intimacy) throws his preaching out the window and makes out with his girlfriend at night. They were never nude, but they kissed for about 5 min and he touched her bottom)
- In season 2 episode 1, a lady was pimped by her husband. We see the lady kiss her husband goodbye and then get into the car with another man. Fortunately, viewers never saw her have sex with the other man. It took place off screen.
-There were 3 prostitutes who failed on their birth control, and got pregnant. Thus needing the help of the midwives who treated them without judgement while convincing them to find another job. Good news is that all 3 gave birth to healthy babies( one baby was delivered by a midwife not associated with Nonnatus House, and birth was never shown on screen). Bad news.. sorry about the spoilers but one of the prostitutes had her baby taken away, and later tried to kidnap another couple's baby, one got syphilis, but was treated and cured, the third was a captain's daughter whose dad forced her to be a sex slave on board. She had a baby girl delivered by one of the midwives, who went onto the ship to help her. and they never found out who was the father, there were too many men .
2. Lack of modesty
Of course, this being a birth show, it is expected. It's not a warning but only kids who have taken some sort of lesson on puberty will have a general idea of the birth process, hence the 12+ Midwives must look between the pregnant mother's legs for exams and delivery. These births look very real. The women don't scream and swear and half ass the role of the labouring mom like the birth scenes in movies. There is a midwife advisor on set. The advisor tells the actresses how to moan, grunt, and pant like a real mom in labour. The babies, who do NOT belong to the actresses( they belong to other moms who allow their baby to be filmed) are all under 2 weeks old, so no 4 month olds dressed up as newborns, like they have on grey's. No one's private parts are shown, but they do place the newborns close to that area of the actress so it looks like the actress delivered the baby. My favourite part is when the babies crown( meaning i can see the top of their head coming out of the birth canal. Most people puke at the thought of that, but once you get used to seeing births, that becomes rather magical.
3. Gore..again..expected with a birth show.
- Two scenes of botched abortions( out of the entire series) back then such action was illegal, unless there is medical reason. That's the reason for the 12+ rating, a 6 year old would not be able to understand the concept of abortion.
- Two hemorrhages. Ok i get it, most women lose about half a litre of blood during a natural birth. But hemorrhages, sorry for the scare,is when the baby and placenta are delivered,and all of a sudden there is a huge gush of blood That is not normal, that requires urgent action and a few bags of donor blood to fix. Or,in one episode, one of the midwives was pregnant and her delivery was hell. Her placenta began to separate before the baby was born.
- which brings me to the next topic, c section. That's how the midwife's delivery turned out. C sections are never pleasant. It will always be a major surgery, unlike appendectomy, which is now no longer a open abdominal surgery. However, back then c sections were even worse than they are today. There will be three in this series. Two of the three are never shown. One is shown. That one shown on screen will take place in a 60s OR with the mom put under( they don't do that anymore, unless there's no time for a spinal). Also, a real OB does the surgery for that episode and he makes a midline incision( vertical). That cut hurts like ( insert your favourite swear) and is hard to heal and fade. Today they don't do that vertical cut anymore( unless in a dire emergency) they do the smiley face/bikini line incision whatever you like to call it. Yes i imagine once the spinal wears off it still hurts a lot. But a lot of the c section moms walk out of the hospital unassisted 3 days post op.. that's what i like to call..talent... like how do they act as if they haven't had surgery. If they are still in pain, they hide their feelings like a pro..just trying to by funny.
4. Relating somewhat to the third point..delivery stuff
garments- yes, i know as a child, white latex gloves could be used for a horror movie. Dun dun dun dun... on top of that the midwives also wear a white cap and a white gown. Whenever someone wears white( which as a child i think immediately to scary doctors) or gloves( which means they are going to stab you with sharp objects any second now). But CTM took this fear away, at least for this show. White gowns and gloves were the only thing available as sterile dress in the 60s. The midwives aren't even going to do anything painful to the moms, other than maybe a shot of pain meds, and there was one membrane sweep( still don't get why that is so painful). That's about all. I stopped associating white with fear of painful sharp stuff)Midwives don't intervene to a great extent.
- forceps& " the small cut with scissors, starts with an e but i'm not going to attempt to spell)
Today, forceps are just about as dreadful as c sections. However, since inserting metal spoons into the birth canal isn't the best thing in the world, women always get epidurals before that type of delivery. Women in the 60s were not so lucky. Epidurals weren't widely used until the late 60s and 70s. Yup it was that much fun. In forceps delivery, the women always need an " cut", no not like a c section, it's the cut down there. Today's women will always get a shot of lido cane..did i spell that right?( that stings, like the kind you get at the dentist, but id imagine this is 1000X more embarrassing being down there) but that numbs the spot. Back then, it was assumed that the contractions overpower the pain of the cut. Not true, these women on CTM screamed like there was no tomorrow.That is a myth, the myth was believed in China in the 90s and that means my poor mom, and all the other Chinese moms of people my age( I'm a 90s baby) were victim to being cut without numbing meds. Anyway.. note to self... and note to all girls.. in the future if you find yourself needing one of these dreaded cuts.. and don't have an epidural in.. tell the doctor that you would rather die than get cut with no numbing meds. FYI I got stitches without numbing meds in China when i conveniently fell on a metal bar while trying to balance on something, and miraculously i didn't lose my voice from screaming and even more miraculously i am still alive today. I wanted to die right then and there from these un numbed stitches. But most likely, you will never have to request for numbing meds because 9 times out of 10 it's going to be given to you without request.
5. Last one..phew.. drinking. One of the midwives was an alcoholic. She is sober now and attending a support group. Interesting thing is that her addiction never once affected her professionalism towards patients, she was never drunk in front of them. Although we never see her drunk and talk funny, she did get a bit of an overdose one night, forcing another already exhausted midwife( who worked all day) to head out again for a night delivery( to cover for the drunk midwife, who was asleep and dead to the world) . Also, part of my brain dies everytime a pregnant lady smoked, they didn't know the risk back then. Even the doctor smoked. Makes me want to go back in time and give a presentation on the ill effects of these ( insert swear here) things.
Anyway my apologizes for this essay, instead of a comment, but i tried my best to make it funny..right?