Ricki Lake's Best Birth

 

I became a birth junkie. Two months after Milo was born, I started going to birth conferences. I wasn't planning to have another child right away, but I wanted to educate myself. I read everything. I never studied like this in school. Back then I never cared enough about what I was learning. For a little while I got it in my head that I wanted to be a midwife. It's my calling, you know? When I told my family and friends, they thought I was insane. They pointed out this wasn't realistic for a talk show host who hadn't managed to get an undergraduate degree.

Nutty, I know, but it shows how much birthing Milo opened up my world. This country makes mothers feel so bad, so inadequate, even at the moment of the births of their babies. Yet everybody at the birth conferences was so pro-mother and pro-baby, and the conferences were so much about honoring them and fighting this uphill battle against what has been happening in for-profit childbirth. I began to believe (and I've had a lot of arguments with people about this) that how they are born affects who babies are. I realized the process was so important to me. If I were to have another child, I wanted to do it my way. I wanted to have the people around me that I felt comfortable with. I wanted to be in an environment where I felt completely safe and at home. And I didn't want my baby taken away from me. I didn't want any intervention that wasn't necessary. I felt that I could only have it my way by doing it at home.

Five years later, when I was pregnant again, I met Miriam Schwartzchild, a midwife with a really great reputation in the home birth world. We connected. I was comfortable with her protocols. I told her my goal was to have a positive experience and to remember everything--every contraction, every position, every feeling. Miriam completely understood my desire to have a water birth at home. She was so relaxed, as if this was not a big deal. I loved that she came to my home for my prenatal care. We'd drink tea and talk while Milo came in and out and asked his own questions. A friendship grew. By the time I went into labor, I was so comfortable with her. There was no question that this was what I should be doing.

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