A parent’s options for giving birth are many — epidural, an unmedicated birth, a doula/midwife/doctor, a hospital, a birthing center, a hospital with a birthing center, home — and the decision is a daunting one. Especially if you’re pregnant, you might find yourself polling everyone you know about how they gave birth. And one very convenient source of info is the celebrity birth story interview. How convenient that so many famous moms have opened up to tell us in detail about their home births.
Not so long ago, choosing to give birth at home seemed like a bizarre decision — a relic of the past that only hippie earth mamas were still doing. But that was before famous models and actors (some of whom, yes, are also hippie earth mamas) started to share their stories of incredible home births.
When everyone from Cindy Crawford to Erykah Badu to Ricki Lake opened up in interviews, essays and social media about the powerful experience of giving birth in their homes, the stigma began to drop away. Other celebs often cite Lake’s documentary The Business of Being Born as their inspiration for looking into this setting for themselves. Many women in the country followed suit. In 1997, there were 35,578 out-of-hospital births in the U.S., and by 2017, that number increased to 62,228.
Just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, of course. There are many things to consider when making the decision to labor and deliver at home, including your own risk factors and the proximity of a hospital, should something go wrong. And yes, giving birth in a hospital can be a beautiful experience too! But if you’re thinking about this option, you’ll find inspiration in these quotes and stories from famous mothers who had their babies in the comfort (or, yeah, discomfort) of their own homes.
Just please, whatever you do, don’t choose a last-minute pandemic emergency home birth. Please.
A version of this story was originally published in March 2020.