Kerreen Reiger has just completed her much-anticipated biography of Murray Enkin, the beloved obstetrician who convinced Lynn to publish her first book. Enjoying the Interval is now available! Kerreen will be speaking at a Vancouver launch event, on October 3rd at 7pm at B.C. Women’s Hospital.
About The Book:
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.
Lynn’s Recollections of Murray:
Both Murray and I were still living in Ontario when Kerreen Reiger began to write his biography. I can’t remember how many years it’s been! Murray Enkin was a remarkable man. A well-known educator and specialist in obstetrics, he was an advocate for midwifery and natural childbirth.
Having lectured on and written about his belief that having a baby was not a medical emergency, but an intimate, personal event, he allowed his patients to make their own decisions about how they wanted to live the experience. He believed in the father, and even siblings, being present. At a time when everyone assigned pregnancy to the hospital, he advocated for home birth and (if there were no complications) for having your baby in the most comfortable way possible.
I worked for him as an illustrator at McMaster University in the early 70s and when I had my son, he was my obstetrician. It was Murray who insisted I do a cartoon book about childbirth. He helped me find a publisher. When I was offered a job as a comic strip artist with Universal Press Syndicate, I thanked Murray for having had such faith in me as an artist. His support was constant. If someone believes in you, you can do almost anything!
When Kerreen suggested she write a book about Murray, I thought it was a wonderful idea. The thing is…there was so much to write about. Kerreen didn’t know what she was in for! Murray’s life and accomplishments are profound. It has taken her many years to finish this manuscript. She has followed Murray and Eleanor Enkin from Hamilton Ontario to Toronto to England to Vancouver, interviewing him, reading his work, studying his research, talking to friends and meeting his associates. The book is finally done. I asked Kerreen if she could believe she was actually looking at the proofs! She told me it had turned out to be a lifetime experience.
Now that it’s finished, this book is more than a biography. It’s a labour of love and a profound record of a life that was dedicated to science, to family, and to the next generation. I am fortunate to have known Murray Enkin so well. I am fortunate to know his family, his friends and his biographer. The photo of Murray sitting in his favourite chair, on the cover, was taken by me. Thanks, Kerreen, for this honour, and for completing this massive document. It is two lives’ work, yours and his. It’s an honour to have known you both.