By Judith Walzer Leavitt
Leavitt uses fathers' first-hand accounts from letters, journals, and personal interviews along with hospital records and medical literature to offer a new perspective on the changing role of expectant fathers from the 1940s to the 1980s. She shows how, as men moved first from the hospital waiting room to the labor room in the 1960s, and then on to the delivery and birthing rooms in the 1970s and 1980s, they became progressively more involved in the birth experience and their influence over events expanded. With careful attention to power and privilege, Leavitt charts not only the increasing involvement of fathers, but also medical inequalities, the impact of race and class, and the evolution of hospital policies.
Heavily illustrated with more than seventy images from medical literature, films, and television shows such as I Love Lucy, All in the Family, and Happy Days and from popular magazines including Ebony and McCall's, this book explores popular depictions as well as the real experiences of fathers across the country. Telling much of the story using fathers' and mothers' own voices, this engaging book will strike a chord with many readers, reminding them of their own experiences even as it offers important new insights into childbirth in modern America.