Known for her spunky attitude as both Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray and her 11-year stint as a daytime talk show host, Ricki Lake has reinvented herself as a women's birthing advocate.
Known for her spunky attitude as both Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray and her 11-year stint as a daytime talk show host, Ricki Lake has reinvented herself as a women's birthing advocate. Following the release of her documentary about the shifting of the American mindset from home and drug-free deliveries to medicated hospitalized births where Lake chronicled her own son's home birth, she and director, Abby Epstein, penned Your Best Birth ($18). The text is a guide to natural delivery and birthing options.
We had the opportunity to chat with Lake, mama of two — Milo, 12, and Owen, 7 — about labor and delivery, c-sections and motherhood.
lilsugar: Is it hard for women to convince their families that a natural birth, or midwife, is the way to go?
Ricki Lake: I think it is really hard. There's still the stigma attached and very much less than one percent of people have home births. It's not something that’s talked about. If you go to the Netherlands, this is the norm. I think in Holland 30 percent of births are planned home births and they have a better infant mortality rate and maternal death rate. Midwives handle most of the births. So it's just not in our culture to really be open to it. I’m not on a mission to get everybody to deliver at home. I’m on a mission to talk about informed choice in this area.
lilsugar: Did you believe this would be your calling?
Ricki Lake: No! I was looking for something to speak on and be passionate about and this is the natural fit because of my experiences and because there was a lack of a voice. I thought — this is where I can serve, I can do something that I feel is positive. I’m not telling women what to do, I’m just trying to educate them and understand that having the ideal be a birth where you’re an active participant, whatever that is – if it's “don’t take my baby away from me,” or “don’t give me that epidural yet,” or “give me that epidural now.” I mean whatever it is, to not be a number in this conveyor belt.
To read what Ricki had to say about VBACs and mothering her sons, read more