There is likely no greater privilege in the world bestowed upon women than childbirth. Some mothers out there may be cringing just reading this, but it’s true. Being a woman comes with some pretty complex intuition and the physical abilities we are empowered with are out of this world.
Stop for a moment and try not to think about the fact that women give birth every day or that it’s normal. Instead, just think about the fact that we grow another human being inside of us and our bodies work with perfect mechanics to get them out. It is truly fascinating!
There are all kinds of mothers out there and some of them are deeply moved by the birthing experience and want to endure everything that it brings. Those moms often choose to birth at home — the way their ancestors did for centuries before them. Despite a lot of negative press and falsified reports that home birth isn’t safe, it is just as safe if not more than a hospital birth when a pregnancy is low-risk. In a most recent study, only 8 percent of moms planning a home birth needed medical intervention.
Here in North America, we’re particularly obsessed with getting the births we want. We’re also a little too interested in celebrities. So, we’ve paired both here to delight the fancy of all our readers. Listen to what these celebs have to say about home birth and how they knew that was the right choice for them.
15 Jennifer Connelly
Moms like Jennifer Connelly make it clear that birth doesn’t have to be akin to the Goblin King’s labyrinth. Instead, it can be a beautiful experience that despite the pain, one wants to revel in. Why? Because it’s a euphoric kind of a pain. It’s pain with a purpose that leads to the most outstanding and remarkable event we’ve ever experienced in our lives.
Many mothers start having children the mainstream way, in hospitals, like Connelly did. By the time Jennifer was due with her third baby, though, she knew that a hospital birth just wasn’t what she desired this time around. So, home birth it was. Her daughter, Agnes Lark, was born on a beautiful day in May in her New York City apartment. Jennifer opted for a water birth.
14 Gisele Bundchen
Yes, even superficial models can be down to Earth and crunchy. As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love to hate Gisele, it’s time to add another to the list. Or perhaps, two more reasons. Their names are Benjamin and Vivian. Gisele’s babies were both born at home and in the water, but that’s not the crazy part. She claims she had very peaceful births with no pain. Yes, no pain.
Stop right there. I know it sounds insane. It sounds like she’s definitely lying and pretending her birth experience was so amazing that it reached some level of achievement that is unattainable by us common folk. But it’s not as far out there as one might think. Many women have painless births. Most of them acknowledge there is a certain level of discomfort, but no pain. Fascinating!
13 Mayim Bialik
There’s no mistaking this momma for anything but spiritual. She is grounded in her beliefs and made it clear she longed for a birth experience that would bring her closer to her inner self. Mayim has been very outspoken about her views of both parenting and childbirth.
She has written, “Home birth is right for people who want to take natural birth to the next level: let me birth in the place this baby was created. Let me labor on the floors I paced in anticipation, let me labor in the rooms of the house where I mused on sleepless nights what this moment would be like. Let me birth with the smells of the kitchen and the faint giggles of the boy who will be this child’s buddy. Let me birth with music playing, with my grandfather’s prayer books looking down on me, with my hair flowing, my inhibitions gone, the doors of my home flung wide open as if to say: I am open to this process, World. I was made to birth this baby!”
12 Ricki Lake
If you’re new to the natural birth movement, you might not know about Ricki Lake’s amazing documentary titled The Business of Being Born. It shattered the movement and has empowered so many women to stand up for what they want in a birth experience and stop relying on doctors to tell them how to birth — and when!
The documentary centers on Ricki’s own birthing experience as she birthed her second son, Owen, at home with the tender care of a midwife by her side. Ricki’s experience with medicated childbirth during the birth of her first son, Milo, encouraged her to pursue a birth that was no longer the norm but still the very epitome of tradition.
11 Julianne Moore
When Ms. Moore was pregnant with her daughter, Liv, she knew that the birth experience she wanted didn’t look like those that we see so much in the film industry and on television. That’s part of the problem that she wanted to combat. The media has influenced the perception of birth so much that women have lost sight of what it’s really supposed to be like. So, Julianne didn’t hesitate to sign herself up for advocacy when Ricki Lake asked her to be a part of her documentary.
Julianne gave birth to her daughter at home, the way nature intended. For some, it’s even about what God has intended. Many women feel a deeply spiritual connection to a higher power during birth, and no amount of actresses screaming and feigning labor in comedies could ever sway them from the way they just know it’s meant to be.
10 Evangeline Lilly
In May of 2010, Evangeline Lilly was due to give birth to her son, and she found herself feeling strongly about home birth being the way to go. While the hard-working mom took very little time off from work in the months after his birth, she recalls the long-winded event being everything she hoped for and more.
Evangeline was in labor for 30 long hours. That’s not unusual for a first-time mother, though. Eight hours of that was spent pushing. Only after five hours did Evangeline’s midwives step in with suggestions to push things along. She jokes now about why they didn’t intervene after five minutes. Nonetheless, the natural birth she wanted was accomplished, and there are a slew of mommas out here who tried to pursue the same in a hospital and ended up getting medication, because it was there. Home birth for the win!
9 Alyson Hannigan
Long after the set had set on American Pie, Alyson Hannigan found herself signing up for a new role in life: mommy. When she was pregnant with her daughter, Satyana, she knew that delivering the baby in a hospital just didn’t seem right to her. This isn’t uncommon. Many mothers feel strongly that hospitals are a place for sickness and death, not birth and life. Alyson seemed to share this sentiment.
The actress actually gave credit to fellow celeb Ricki Lake and her famed documentary for making her see birth in a new light — the way she thinks it’s supposed to be. Alyson has been quoted as saying, “I wanted to be as comfortable as possible when I gave birth, and there’s no place I’m more comfortable than my own home. I wanted a comforting and positive environment.”
8 Felicity Huffman
This Desperate Housewives star and her uber-famous actor hubby William H. Macy have built an amazing life together over the last 34 years. During that time, Felicity gave birth to the couple’s two daughters, Sofia and Georgia. Keep in mind these girls are well into their teens today. Felicity was birthing at home long before Ricki Lake made a movie about it.
Do you know what that means? It means home birth is hardly a trend. It’s not new. It’s not up and coming. It’s always been here. It’s the way birth started out. Once upon a time, women were surrounded by other women during birth. They were supported, rather than coached. They were helped, rather than hurried. Men and doctors weren’t a part of the equation. What did they know about birth?
7 Nelly Furtado
Having always considered herself a little bit of a hippie, a home birth was a no brainer for Nelly Furtado when she was pregnant with her daughter Nevis. She’s been pretty quiet about the experience, but that’s okay. Not everyone is aiming to change the world with their vagina. We won’t fault you, Nelly.
That being said, it’s important that those who are willing to shine a light on the industry get to do so. More women need to speak up about their birth experiences. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Did you know there were other options available to you that weren’t laid out for you? Is that really informed consent? Judging from some of the lyrics Furtado has penned over the years, we’re willing to bet she took control and rocked that birth. You can, too!
6 Gaby Hoffman
If there was one word to describe Gaby Hoffman, it would be outspoken. She isn’t afraid to go there when it concerns nudity or drugs, so we’re happy she’s so chill about pregnancy and birth. In fact, she’s down right intrigued with the stuff and even referred to herself as being obsessed with home birth following witnessing her niece being born in such a manner.
Gaby chose home birth, and she’s grateful that she hopped on the doula train and hired a few to stand by her during her most trying moments as she attempted to birth her 10-poound baby. Gaby’s words speak volumes about the way so many women feel about birth.
She stated, “Have you ever seen anybody being born in a natural setting? Not drugged or with a C-section, which is sometimes necessary and thank God for it. The second you see it you understand. It’s primal. It’s primordial. It’s extraordinary. Once you see it, especially as a woman, it haunts you in your bones.”
5 Maya Rudolph
Of course, we need to take the time to mention that not every mother who births a baby outside of a hospital intended to do so. After all, we’re pretty sure those roadside and parking lots birthers out there would’ve liked something a little bit more comfortable to squat on than the back seat of a car. Nonetheless, Maya Rudolph totally weathered the storm of an unplanned home birth.
She has stated, “That was not my plan, but that’s what happened, because the baby came out really fast. Luckily, she just kind of glided into her father’s arms. It was scary, but it was kind of awesome. Hospitals make me nervous because I feel like hospital equals death, like it smells like dead people and weird fluids that pickle people.” LOL!
4 Erykah Badu
A mom of three, Erykah is no stranger to home birth, having given birth to all of her children this way. She has been quoted as saying, “Maybe to some it’s scary, but preparation is the whole key. When a mother has found out she’s going to have a baby, her whole life — her diet, her mood, her energy — should kind of prepare her. After she prepares herself, fear is never a part of it. I expected success and health, so I made sure I surrounded myself with it. By the time I had my third baby, childbirth seemed a very natural part of life to me.”
Today, Badu is actually a practicing doula and is training to become a midwife. Imagine that, singing superstar turned birth goddess. What would make someone want to go through all that training when they clearly don’t have the financial need for it? It’s a deeper calling that reaches most midwives. They have complete faith in the birthing process and the female beauty, and it’s a gift to be able to watch it transpire again and again.
3 Joely Fisher
When Joely Fisher was pregnant with her first daughter, Skylar, she went the highly touted safe route and opted for a hospital birth. To this day, she remarks that the birth experience was just fine. There didn’t appear to be any hiccups, though many mothers do experience a slew of intervention in hospitals that they didn’t see coming when they checked in.
Still, Joely knew that the first birth experience wasn’t the amazing and spectacular event that she’s heard so many other women talk about. So, she decided to have baby number two at home. Little True Harlow, another girl, was born in the comfort of her home with her parents, a doula, a midwife, some friends and family, and even the butcher and candlestick maker nearby, according to her comedic momma.
2 Evan Rachel Wood
Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more love among celebrity mommies for Ricki Lake, think again. Evan Rachel Wood also gives props to Ricki for showing her what birth is really supposed to be like. It’s not screaming in pain on your back (generally, the worst possible position for birthing). It’s not shouting at your partner for the damn epidural.
Birth is about harnessing control and trusting your body to carry you through the process. It’s about life, not struggle. It’s the most beautiful gift and there’s nothing to fear about it if you’re truly prepared. Evan Rachel Wood got the message. When she had her baby back in 2013, she tweeted to Ricki, “I never knew I had a choice when it came to labor. It taught me so much & aided my decision in having a natural home birth which my son & I are now forever grateful for.” Yes! Ladies, you have choices!
1 Queen Elizabeth II
Are you as surprised as we are? The Queen? Indeed! Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t exactly a trailblazer, though, because it was the norm to have babies at home back then, even if your home happened to be Buckingham Palace.
Just imagine it. Even with all that money and the luxury of having doctors on call and hospital privileges, the Queen still trusted the process of birth enough to carry on with it in her palace. It wasn’t until the Queen’s daughter came along that we saw a shift in the way royal births occurred in the United Kingdom.
Princess Anne was the first among the royal family to choose to have her children in a hospital. Peter and Zara Phillips were both born at St. Mary’s Paddington. By 1982, Princess Diana did the same when she gave birth to Prince William, and his brother Prince Harry in 1984. Kate Middleton has been the most recent royal member to give birth, and also chose the hospital, much to the dismay of her many fans.
Sources: People, Parents Magazine, Boobie Time, People, Woman’s Day, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Elle