Tori's Blog

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.

Your Comments

  1. I think sometimes an extreme is necessary to combat the extreme currently existing. I don’t think home birth is the answer but I don’t think scheduled C-section so the mother and doctor can arrange their schedules nicely is right either.

    I think we need a happy medium and that women need to understand EVERY option and not just default to EASY.
    For example, I would like to go without an epidural this time (#2) but I fully understand that having the epi the first time allowed my body to relax enough for my son to turn (he was sunny side up) and could have prevented very difficult birth or even C-section. And since I prepped my mind for any outcome, i was not disappointed, my baby was healthy, and my delivery was as pleasant as such can be. :)

    • Lauren –

      Your attitude is such a good one to have. I completely agree with you and find the new trend in scheduled cesarean sections and labor inductions for convenience to be very disturbing. Women do need to be supported for whatever their choices are AND they need to be fully informed by solid and sensible information (as opposed to opinions) as to the risks/ benefits of those choices.

      Your labor with this baby will likely be very different from your first and there is no particular reason that your baby will be posterior (sunny side up) this time. I encourage you to focus on your coping mechanisms, breathing and relaxation techniques, and labor support and then follow your instincts. As your labor progresses, maintain, change or shift your plan as YOU feel best.

      I wish you all the best on your new addition to your family.

Leave a Reply