Celebrity Birth Stories, Episode 2 of a 4 part series
The duo (Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake) host the informative TV series More Business of Being Born (2011). It’s a follow-on to a documentary they produced together in 2008 titled “The Business of Being Born”, which explored contemporary child birthing experiences in the U.S.
In this second episode they discuss the expectations, doubts, fears, labours and experiences of motherhood with a selection of celebrities.
A friend of mine, when I was about 20 weeks pregnant, invited me to go to a yoga class with Gurmukh. And in that class Gurmukh really starts reminding us that we are not sick when we are pregnant, if anything, she’s like “You’re actually stronger when you’re pregnant. Why would it work that God, or whatever you believe in, would make you weaker?”. You are stronger! Women have been giving birth naturally you know, for gazillions of years.
I wanted to pull quite a few quotes from the episode because I was impressed to hear these women had such particular opinions regarding birth.
Some quotes are below and some are incorporated into the screen grabs I took whilst watching the documentary.
I never wanted to have a hospital birth. I didn’t want to be induced. I didn’t want to have any interventions at all. I wasn’t so sure about the idea of a home birth necessarily but I did have some friends who had had home births so I knew of it because of them.
-Christy Turlington Burns
I like to have goals and I like to reach my goals and, interestingly, giving birth naturally was a very big goal for me. And I think that it was partly that my mom gave birth naturally so I was like “I can do it!”.
If my mom can do it, I can totally do it.
One of the women interviewed, Laila Ali, was incredibly passionate and pro home birth, against the grain of all those surrounding her who had very different opinions and were preferring hospitalised birth and selective surgery.
Interviewees talk about how much negative influence, specifically from their obstetricians/doctors, had on their pregnancy and birth experience as well as their feelings of safety and trust in their own bodies ability to do this thing. Because of this most of them had opted to educate themselves and have natural or home births.
I love all three above images, especially the middle which is of Brazilian Giselle Bundchen, with their new borns.
The women discuss their birthing experiences, most of which are very positive and empowering, although Morissette (below) explains, rather comically, how hard it had been up until the moment she was holding her baby in her arms.
I was as “prepared” as a woman could possibly be …and there was nothing that could prepare me for it! Nope.
And I’d watched all the videos of the women going into the field and giving birth to they own children. And that wasn’t so much my experience.
– Alanis Morissette
So much amazing wisdom from these very different and highly influential women. Their very pro-active approach to knowledge and education was one of the most inspiring aspects of the documentary.
It is the most empowering experience ever… You’re deeply inside yourself but you’re also outside of yourself in the experience of labor and I think you get to actually look at your self and go,”Wow, look what I can do! Look what I’m made to be able to do! What an amazing thing!”I mean it gives you such an appreciation and a value in yourself which I think for women is really hard. In our culture too there’s such a self-loathing thing that happens and people aren’t happy and its always like “I can be better and I should look better”. To know that just by the nature of who you are and how you were made you’re able to do the most incredible thing ever. It just puts things into perspective in a way that think nothing else can.
-Christy Turlington Burns