Review: Come by Chance

Review: Come by Chance

Did anyone else have the childhood fantasy of being whisked away into another life? Especially one where Julie Andrews is your grandmother, and the Queen of the tiny country your European it turns out your father was Crown Prince of? Maybe something would eventually come out that would explain how, despite being able to draw lines between you and your family members, your differences were actually because you were secretly of something else? 

Overactive childhood imagination aside, I’m not as different from my family as I once thought I was. I also realize now that Mia Thermopolis had a pretty net positive experience from her grandma coming out of the woodwork. Mia became powerful, gained financial security, and a litany of resources based on the genetic line. She didn’t have unanswerable questions about how she came to be in line for a throne. She had an identity crisis, sure. What 16 year old doesn’t? 

Every day I feel like I come across just as many at-home DNA kit horror stories as I do happy stories. Finding out your sister was your cousin or your cousin was your aunt, or even that someone else entirely was a parent like what happened in Inconceivable Truth. 

What happens when, at work, you meet someone who was born on the same day as you, in the same hospital, who looks more like your own brother than you do? What happens when you find out that you were switched at birth over forty years ago? 

This is the series of events explored in CBC podcast Come by Chance. How multiple families in cottages hospitals in Newfoundland came to find that they were switched at birth, and grew up with families they should not have grown up with, that they did not grow up as they should have grown up. 

This seven part series is rooted in what I can only imagine is the rugged natural beauty of Newfoundland. There is a respect and poise to the audio that reflects the the demeanor and culture that these hard working people have had to have living in these semi-remote communities. The audio work itself is beautiful, with moments and pauses of consideration that are powerful - just like the island this podcast criss-crosses for answers. It is a reminder that even as the world and its people have become more connected, the past reaches out like an ocean mist. It can linger like a chill in your bones as the wind pushes the waves, and memories ashore. 

Cottage hospitals, small publicly funded rural hospitals, were overall a successful endeavor to get medical care to the far reaches of Canada. However, it is coming to find that they were most likely understaffed and under trained - which lead to mistakes. Some mistakes were in-the-moment fatal, expected rural emergencies. Some mistakes became a lingering ache across the years, only to be revealed when a blend of technology and chance could catch up with the tendrils of the shadowy past. 

Each episode, sitting about 30 minutes long, rotates and revolves around a piece of each story. You learn to get comfortable with the discomfort, with the realities of these stories, and then host Luke Quinton outlines a cliffhanger that makes you desperate to roll into the next piece. Lucky for readers of this review, the series is now completed. You don’t have to wait to see the next part of the story. 

What is the story? What is the question here? Is this about negligence, trauma, the delight of answered questions or the sorrow of forever unknowns? 

Come by Chance is a little bit of everything, in a nearly quiet and thought provoking way. Life, especially in Newfoundland, can be hard. Adults can learn to hold contradictions day in and day out. That’s a part of life. 

However, this group of people is being left to navigate realities that there is no rule book or guide book for. There are support groups for people who have been adopted and people who have been conceived via anonymous donation. There’s nothing for people switched at birth. So what do you do? 

One thing you can do is talk to a journalist who makes a captivating piece of audio about your story, that reaches across the Atlantic to me. Me, the person who will tell you that this podcast is a captivating story that leads to more questions than answers, more heartbreak than heartwarming moments, but it is so incredibly worth listening to.

Listen below!

Come by Chance
Listen to Come by Chance wherever you get your podcasts!

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