Editor's Note: The challenges faced by the midwife in our modern world seem to be of constantly increasing intensity and complexity. Our society's reliance on technology influences the choices women make regarding their lives and bodies. Midwives find themselves being with women in the face of skyrocketing cesarean section rates, surging popularity of epidural anesthesia, widespread use of mood-altering medications, and acceptance of cosmetic procedures as gynecologic office routines. These trends can sometimes seem overwhelming to health care providers whose professional identity is rooted in dedication to helping women discover their own strength and make healthy choices and whose philosophical orientation is toward the preservation of normalcy.
In this issue of the Journal we offer three reviews, which we hope will help remind us who we are, where we come from, and what we have to offer to the women we serve. The wise voice of Justine Siegemund speaks across the centuries directly to our hearts about her life, her struggles, and her dedication to our profession. We discover a nearly forgotten cadre of colleagues, the highly educated Japanese–American midwives who practiced in the United States from 1880 to 1950. And finally, we are given a gift of practical skills that we can use in our daily work, even as we acknowledge the facts of birth as it currently exists in the United States. These powerful books help us to realize that we cannot create the world to our desires in this or any other age, but we can persevere and serve and continue to make a difference for the future, just as our sisters did for us in the past.