Last week Elisabeth Bing, the 'Mother of Lamaze' died at age 100. Reading this article about her in the New York Times, I was inspired by her tireless advocacy for birthing women and families.
She was instrumental in educating an entire generation of women about childbirth.
The history of childbirth, the way knowledge was lost and gained over time is fascinating to me. As part of our archival work for the film I purchased the book, Principles and Practice of Obstetrics by Joseph DeLee. Published in 1918 DeLee is considered to be the father of modern obstetrics.
I was looking through the book the other day when my six year old son took note of the image of a baby being delivered by forceps. "That doesn't look very nice for the baby," he said. "Why are they doing that?"
His question prompted a brief history of medicine and women's rights.
We've come a long way since Elisabeth started her work in the '60's, but there is still much further to go. Understanding the history of childbirth is important as we look for a way forward.
If you haven't watched old educational films about childbirth, or if you're feeling discouraged about the current state of things, check this one out. Labor and Childbirth (1950).