It's been more than a decade since a family tragedy forced me to look into how childbirth has changed in America since our chlidren were born. It's still a major concern of mine, and so I read with heightened interest this profile of Suzanne Davis Arms in the May/June 2011 issue of the University of Rochester's Rochester Review. (Yes, I realize that is two years ago. Any regular reader of this blog knows I'm behind in practically everything.)
A few things made the article particularly interesting, beyond the basic subject.
- Arms is a University of Rochester (alma mater of three of the four people in our family, and of my brother as well).
- Betsy Naumburg, quoted in the article, was one of the doctors when Porter worked for the UR's Family Medicine Center.
- Arms wrote Immaculate Deception: A New Look at Women in Childbirth in 1975. Although I hadn't read it, her book clearly influenced the attitudes and options that were prevalent when our children were born in the late 70's and early 80's. Her revised edition, Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic, and Birth came out in 1995, not long before my forced re-entry into the world of childbirth. Perhaps if I had read it then, I would have been forewarned of the return of over-medicalized childbirth.