Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Ricki Lake Gave Birth in Her Bathtub

Ricki Lake, the amiable former talk show host, has produced a new documentary about the child birth business that covers both natural and medical child birth methods.

The film premieres this week at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. I do not yet know how her documentary will be distributed, but it features a video Lake never intended to make public–that of her second child’s natural birth in the bathtub of her West Village apartment. Fun!


Lake is becoming a doula (someone who helps pregnant women either stay at home to give birth, or get to the hospital at the right time)–a far cry from talk show hosting. She says she’s upset by the medicalization of routine labors in hospitals, and wishes to empower women to explore other ways when possible. Lately, I’ve been thinking that the natural childbirth movement was pretty much over (my second labor was drug-free), so it is wonderful that Lake, who has the connections to get her film noticed, is energizing the spiritual midwifery movement again–though she insists she wants all women to feel proud of whatever labors they have.

There’s no right way, right? Lots of babies are alive today thanks to heroic doctors in hospitals.

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posted May 2, 2007 at 4:07 pm

I love it that women have more choices today. Some Mom’s are nervous and prefer to be in a Hospital where they feel safer. My youngest child is 22 and I would have loved to had an at home birth but didnt have that option in small town Iowa back then. With all three births I stayed at home until the last minute and went to the Hospital about 30 minutes before they were born. All three were drug free. That was as close to a natural birth as I could have back then. I really like what Rikki said about Women being proud of whatever Labors they have. I think women should have the option to have their babies in whatever setting is most comfortable for them.

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posted May 2, 2007 at 4:45 pm

I agree. It’s wonderful to have a choice. I never had that option though. All three sons of mine were born c-section. Thank God we have options.

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posted May 3, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Thanks for posting this. I don’t think the natural childbirth movement is “over” — but it is so hard. Yes, women have choices but the choices are so minimal in any respect. If you choose homebirth you and your midwife risk intervention. In my state lay midwives are legal but must be “backed up” by a medical doctor. Of course, there isn’t a single medical doctor in my community willing to be a backup because of legal and liability issues (ie., they get charged a fortune if they do it and risk malpractice lawsuits). Therefore most births technically are “illegal” and parents risk intervention at all different stages. Parents who choose hospital births, especially those who choose hospital births without the support of a knowledgeable assistant, face all kinds of interventions — ones they choose, ones they are pressured into and ones that they are quietly given without their knowing. I have had two babies. One in a hospital, one at home. In the past year I’ve been the doula for two hospital births and each time thought “Geez, these women in the most vulnerable times of their lives aren’t treated with respect and dignity.” I don’t know….I agree everyone should choose… I just wish each choice was well respected by everyone involved (mostly the government, the doctors, the nurses…) If a mother chooses to have drugs, great. If a mother specifically says I want a natural hospital birth, they probably shouldn’t come to her at 4cm and say “Well we can give you something to take the edge off.” Wait for her to ask. If a mother wants a homebirth, great, let her choose that. Hospital births, homebirths, unassisted births, they are all beautiful in their own right. Okay, off my soapbox! Glad to see this post though!

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Julie S

posted May 4, 2007 at 4:11 pm

Wow now there are 2 Julies. I’ll change to Julie S.

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posted November 30, 2007 at 9:04 am

really i am surprised

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posted December 3, 2007 at 2:50 pm

That good she has a way of informing birth I’m 3 1/2 months and scared to death. I think more people should help in birth because the more help and support women have maybe the better the pregnancy and birth are.

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posted December 6, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Good for Ricki! Both of my kids were born in a birthing center here in Austin, Texas (the natural birth movement is alive and well down here) and it was a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, I think a lot of women either don’t have that option – or aren’t aware of the option – so I think it’s great that Ricki’s made a doc about this (I hope I can get it on Netflix!) And I love that she wants to be a doula. I think being a midwife would be an amazing experience – I’m hoping that’s my third career!
By the way, I have to plug an awesome book that provides expecting mom with great info about their birthing options – The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth. I’m a lawyer, so footnotes matter to me, and this book is great about footnotes – every assertion is backed up with evidence! It’s a great book to read before you go to a hospital or a birthing center.

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posted April 30, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Although I think childbirth is scary- it has been happening since the beginning of time. I think all the intervention medically is balanced by all the ‘spiritual’ intervention. Come on! Having a baby is no rocket sciene. Since when do you need a spiritual advisor and since when are Doctors the bad guys? What? Women can’t tell the Doctors ‘no drugs’? When I had my first child, we both would have been dead had we not been in a hospital. I think mom’s should go old school. Guess what ladies? Giving birth is scary, raising your kids is even scarier….but our parents did it! They did it with out ridiculous birth plans, Doulas, epidurals, lactation consultants, baby prep, classes and without dads present. We all came out just fine. Get over it!! Have a voice….your OWN voice!!!

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posted July 22, 2011 at 8:15 am

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