As a follow-up to their 2007 landmark documentary The Business of Being Born, Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Director Abby Epstein have teamed up again to produce an enlightening four-part series called More Business of Being Born that continues their exploration of pregnancy and childbirth practices in the United States. P&N recently caught up with Lake to get the lowdown on the latest mommy must-see.
Pregnancy & Newborn: First, let’s reminisce a bit about The Business of Being Born. What were you hoping to accomplish with the film?
Ricki Lake: I wanted to make the movie that wasn’t available to me when I was pregnant with my first child. I felt like there was a lack of access to the correct information, and I think empowering yourself with information can only help.
P&N: The documentary includes actual footage of you giving birth to your second son in a bathtub. What was the homebirth experience like for you?
RL: My birth experience is not right for everyone, but it was so right for me. I am changed because of that experience. I saw my power and I felt my power, and it’s gotten me through a lot of hardship. I tell myself that if I could get through that, I can get through anything. I think women are losing an opportunity by not aspiring to have births in which they are active participants.
P&N: What can we expect to see in More Business of Being Born that we didn’t see in the first film?
RL: It’s a four-part series that includes so much material. We found that after the first movie we would get questions like “What’s the difference between a doula and a midwife?” We couldn’t explain all that in the first film. This time, we’re covering C-sections, VBACs, birth centers, midwives and doulas. And we have a whole section with celebrity moms (like Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford) talking about their birth experiences. There are all different kinds—some at home, some in hospitals, some in birth centers. We have Molly Ringwald talking about the birth of her twins, whom she delivered vaginally at a hospital in Los Angeles.
P&N: There’s obviously a great deal of attention paid to home births and natural births in the film, but some women have no interest in bringing their babies into the world outside of a hospital or without drugs. Is there a message you’d like to communicate to them?
RL: I’m a pro-choice advocate. I’m not pushing home birth. I do not judge. I believe every woman has the right to any birth experience she wants, wherever she chooses and with whatever care provider she’s comfortable. It’s about doing your own due diligence and finding the best option for you.
P&N: If moms-to-be walk away from the film remembering just one thing, what should it be?
RL: When I had my baby, I couldn’t wait for my labor to start. I had done so much homework and so much research and gone to so many conferences … Labor and childbirth became my sort of thing that I wanted to learn more about. I couldn’t wait to feel it for myself. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t afraid of the pain. I didn’t fear it because I knew so much. That’s what I want for expectant moms: I want them to not fear the birth experience.
More Business of Being Born will be available for purchase beginning November 8 at thebusinessofbeingborn.com.