I have a serious addiction to “Call the Midwife” on PBS. I’m not pregnant. I never had a midwife. I am not particularly keen to ever experience childbirth again. Yet I am hooked on this story of a group of midwives and nuns working with the poorest of the poor in the East End of London in the 1950s.
One episode seems particularly relevant to military life. The midwife is presiding over the birth of a couple’s 25th child. That is not a typo. That is child #25. (BTW having 25 children is not the part of the story that seems relevant to military life.)
Anyway, the baby is born prematurely and the ambulance drivers want to take the baby to a hospital. At a time in which the poor are particularly superstitious about hospitals, the mother of the baby refuses. “I am his hospital,” she insists.
The father backs her up. The young midwife is appalled. The older nun counsels her, “Now we must see what love can do.”
That qualifies as one of our military wife quotes because I think that is the answer for so many situations involving military families. “Now we must see what love can do.”
Just like caring for a premature baby often seems to put an impossible demand on families, so do many of the other situations military families find ourselves in. Families are forced to cope with back-to-back deployments, or the fallout from combat, or everlasting winters in Alaska, or a breast cancer diagnosis, or times of extreme financial strain, or getting passed over, or discovering your child has a disability, or post traumatic stress, or not getting the job again, or (fill in the blank with your major trial).
Those things—or a combination of those things—seem like they ought to break a military family. I am so often amazed with what love can do. Love does not always triumph. But seeing what love can do in military families is a wonder to behold. Watching other families cope makes me think that my family will be able to cope too. No wonder the story of military families and what love can do is the story that has me hooked for life.