On Saturday June 1st, 2013 the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) honored PBS and Call the Midwife with the 2013 Media Award during the Annual Meeting Awards Dinner.
The award was bestowed at the 58th Annual ACNM Meeting and Exposition in Nashville, Tennessee (see the link below for all the award winners). Over 1,500 Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) and Certified Midwives (CM) came together at the Nashville Convention Center from May 29 – June 2, 2013. References to Call the Midwife were abundant throughout the meeting.
The meeting hosts the largest American group of midwifery professionals and provides educational workshops, poster and research presentations, business and global health receptions, meetings for the directors of midwifery education (DOME), and diverse networking opportunities. Key note speakers included Reverend Becca Stevens, Ina May Gaskin, MA, CMP, PhD(Hon.), and Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN.
Just as the nuns and midwives cared for the people of the East End of London in the late 1950s we heard of a modern day healer with the opening keynote address by Reverend Becca Stevens. For myself, her talk was one of the highlights of the meeting. Reverend Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest and one of the White House’s Champions of Change. She is the founder of Magdalene & Thistle Farms, a community and social enterprise that stands with women recovering from trafficking, prostitution, addiction, and life on the streets. Magdalene, the residential model, serves women for two years at no cost to residents. Thistle Farms employs 40 residents and graduates who manufacture, market and sell all natural bath and beauty products in over 200 retail stores across the globe (see the link below for their website).
Rev. Stevens was unbelievably moving when she talked about how it is a true privilege to care for and bear witness to women in some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. She talked about the individual journey and our collective work and how we can help change that story through our thoughts and words and deeds and presence. Each episode of Call the Midwife, I feel as if I get to bear witness to these dedicated nuns and midwives and how they helped empower women, families and their communities as they grow and change.
When I returned to my room after the keynote I spent time exploring the Thistle Farms website and their products. I could see why the thistle, as a symbol, had such deep meaning for them. The thistle is considered a flowering plant or weed and they grow on the streets and alleys where the women of Thistle Farms & Magdalene walked. But, thistles can survive drought because of their deep tap roots and they can even shoot through thick concrete. The thistle has a prickly appearance on the flower, leaves, and often all over the plant. These prickles developed as an adaptation for the plant to help protect it from herbivorous animals. I discovered that the thistle is the flower emblem of Scotland, in Canada it is one of the four floral emblems on the flag of Montreal, and it is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth.
The opening keynote address had a message of love and healing and that is truly the message sent from Call the Midwife.
CONGRATULATIONS to PBS and Call the Midwife.
ACNM General Awards Release http://www.midwife.org/2013-General-Awards-Release
Thistle Farms: http://www.thistlefarms.org/