Anyone who has enjoyed the great happiness and intimacy of a family-centred birth, and any midwife or health professional who has attended one, owes a debt of gratitude to internationally known Canadian doctor, researcher, and medical reformer, Murray Enkin. Enjoying the Interval takes on the fascinating, joyful task of exploring Dr. Enkin’s identity and achievements along with the social context that shaped them. It offers a critical assessment of the ongoing challenges in maternity care, the field to which Enkin devoted his life, but it is also the story of an immigrant Jewish family's contribution to Canadian society and the wider world. Using archival sources and interviews, the book traces Enkin’s story from his birth in 1924; through his early young married life, education, and medical practice; to his passionate championing of the emerging childbirth reform movement and its influence. Interweaving the personal and professional to provide insight into the man, the times and the causes that shaped him, it not only recognises Enkin’s distinctive social contribution but also that of his family and colleagues. It chronicles the highly personable Enkin’s days as a med student awestruck by the courage and beauty of women in labour to his joyful life as a husband and father, to his international impact as a practitioner, academic and researcher, and as an inveterate traveller. Scholarly, yet accessible, it will prove of interest to professional and lay readers alike. Enjoying the Interval is an account of an important social movement that shook the medical establishment, but it’s also a love story, a travelogue, and an entertaining portrait of a complex man who helped to change the world for the better.
Historian and sociologist Kerreen Reiger has had a long and distinguished career as a university teacher and researcher, during which she has made a significant contribution to women’s studies and health care. She is also a mother and grandmother and continues to be interested in how families shape us as we shape each other. In introducing readers to the rich legacy of Murray Enkin’s life and work, she hopes to increase understanding of the complex politics of change in maternity care and the importance of individual and collective action both locally and internationally. Kerreen lives in a small village community on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia and has been a regular visitor to Canada and the United Kingdom.
“Obstetrician Murray Enkin was an ally in the long, ongoing struggle to reclaim childbearing and midwifery in North America. His contributions to clinical practice, research, education, and advocacy were grounded in deep respect for women and our bodies. As a member of the team that carried out the first rigorous and comprehensive assessments of the effectiveness of maternity care practices, childbearing families the world over are indebted to his integrity and persistent spirit of inquiry. Through the rich story of this transformative figure who greatly impacted so many of us, Kerreen Reiger also brings to light the international movement to redefine childbirth and reform maternity care.” -Carol Sakala: Director for Maternal Health,National Partnership for Women & Families
“Murray Enkin’s vital work in Canada and around the world was influential in reforming maternity care to put the needs of women and their families at the centre. His constant enquiry as to how to improve childbirth is set out here in the context of a long, loving and rich life. His recognition of the complexity of the influences on childbirth, the importance of evidence and the essential components of care that count but can’t be counted – the art and the science – were never more relevant. This account of Murray Enkin’s life takes us on the wonderful journey that it has been and lays out the fruits of the life-giving work that we have inherited from him.” -Lesley Page: British midwife and academic,former President of the Royal College of Midwives
“Reiger offers a meticulous, comprehensive biography of a man whose name is not a household word but should be. His life is at once a story of medical innovation and activism, and a classic tale of second-generation upward mobility, love, family, and community.” -Paula Michaels: Monash University andauthor of Lamaze: an International History