Yes, I Am Picking On Ricki Lake. A Little Background.Thursday, February 4th, 2010
I might be just about done with this but seeing Ricki Lake on a recent talk show and still hearing women elevate her to near sainthood for “returning us to homebirth” has just steamed me once again. I really don’t have anything personal against Ms. Lake. I am just so very bothered by celebrities; – actresses, models, etc. taking personal stances on whatever their favorite subject is and using their ability to reach a mass audience to promote their cause. It is exploitation of the worst kind.
Money talks. Money can buy airtime. Money can produce movies and books and, this is where I get really steamed — for some reason there is a general public belief that if someone on TV says it or writes it, then it must be true. Aaachh!
Two years ago, Ricki Lake, a public personality, motivated by her own childbirth experiences made a movie called “The Business of Being Born”, and last year wrote a book entitled “Your Best Birth”. In both she asserts that women need to “take back” birth – know what their options are, and create the birth they want. If it were only that simple. Yes, it is important for a woman to understand what her options for the birth of her child are and to feel comfortable with her care provider. It is also important to help women prepare for the unpredictability of labor and birth and to be able to let go of “trying to control” the experience.
Ms. Lake gave birth to her second child at home and has appointed herself the “spokesperson” for homebirth, although she terms it “choice”. The film has become a visual bible of sorts in presenting homebirth as an idyllic experience whereas the image of hospitals are limited to 1920’s footage and discussions of “designer births”, increased labor inductions, and carefully selected interviews with women who felt “cheated” (as Ms. Lake said she did) or denied an experience they had hoped to have had.
Ironically, on a recent talk show, Ms. Lake, when confronted with leading women to believe that homebirth was better than hospital birth, stated that she had had an extremely positive birth in a hospital with her first baby.
The movie gave misinformation regarding the side effects of several medications and blanket negativity towards women who make the choice to have an epidural for their labors. There was no discussion on the positive side of pain relief, or on the situations when the true need for medical assistance exist. The most disturbing aspect of the film was co-producer Abby Epstein’s labor. I’ll talk about that next time.