View the Films

Clicking on the menu icon below pulls up the 4-video playlist at YouTube
Learn more about the films here.
Flora's typewritten commentary for Naissance is here.
Naissance: a Lamaze childbirth without pain
(1956, French with English subtitles).

This 1956 documentary was part of the training given to women in France for painless childbirth using the psychoprophylactic method (called "Lamaze Method")

Directed by Jean-Pierre Marchand and Dr. Pierre Vellay, the film was widely shown throughout the 1960s to 1980s by Flora Hommel, founder and director of Childbirth Without Pain Education Association in Detroit (CWPEA). The subtitles by Claudia Hommel are based on Flora's translation script.

American Naissance: Journey with a Friend
(a Lamaze childbirth without pain, 1970)

Flora Hommel (first seen at 3:00) promoted Childbirth Without Pain (the Lamaze psycho-prophylactic method of painless childbirth) with this film, co-produced in 1970 by filmmaker Wil Berg. Flora considered this film an American version of the well-respected French film Naissance.

Wil and his wife Edith are also the subjects of the film as they attend Lamaze classes in Cleveland. The film concludes with the birth of their child.

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A celebration of the life and work of Flora Hommel (March 16, 1928-May 15, 2015)

A Labor of Love

A celebration held at the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University Archives on July 30, 2015. Speakers include archivist Erik Nordberg, Senator Carl Levin, historian Marsha Richmond, Judith Cawhorn, Michele Artt, Randy Block, Jeanette Conrad, Claudia Hommel and written greetings from Congressman John Conyers.

Excerpts of the film "American Naissance: Journey with a Friend" including a live birth experience were shown during the event and are included here.

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History of CWPEA

Flora Suhd Hommel brought the Lamaze method of painless childbirth to Detroit and the US after returning from Paris where she had lived as a young adult from 1946 to 1953. She graduated from Wayne University with a BS and nursing degree in 1958, in order to promote the psychoprophylactic method of childbirth. In the course of her career, she taught over 17,000 women, monitriced (coached) a thousand births, established CWPEA, the Childbirth Without Pain Education Association, and helped spread the method across the US.

Flora championed the rights of women to control their own birth experience, creating a grass-roots movement contemporaneous with the women’s movement of the 1960s–1970s. Hommel and the CWPEA were important catalysts in establishing similar childbirth and parenting organizations and teacher-monitrice accreditation programs across the United States. Her passionate activism extended and was interwoven with the civil rights movement, the fight for women's equality, universal access to health care, and the peace movement.

The Flora Hommel Papers at the Wayne State Archives.

The Finding Aid to the Collection

While CWPEA, the organization, is no longer active, its history, the training materials, three decades of monthly newsletters, key correspondence of the movement that promoted the Lamaze (psychoprophylactic) method, along with thousands of mother-written birth reports, are housed in the Flora Hommel Papers at the archives of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For more information, contact Claudia Hommel through use of the Flora Form or call 773-509-9360 in Chicago.

This website is copyrighted by Claudia Hommel, 2016.
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