One Woman’s Experience of the American Feminist Women’s Health Movement

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the medieval to the modern. Today’s post is contributed by Beth Widmaier Capo, a professor of English at Illinois College, Jacksonville. 

In 2007 I interviewed my mother, Nancy Watters Widmaier, about her experience with the Detroit Feminist Women’s Health Center in the 1970s.[i] Although she earned her nursing degree in the 1960s, she wasn’t part of the FWHM until after her own pregnancy. In 1973, she “decided that I was going to have a natural childbirth, which was kind of new at the time, so I went to a class on the Lamaze method and read a lot of books. Basically I didn’t want to take any Demerol or drugs that would make you sleepy or possibly affect the baby so that’s why I thought natural childbirth was good. . . . It was kind of radical for its time; all of my friends went in and asked for pain medicines.”

Continue reading