Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I bought a copy of Vogue magazine. Supermodel Gisele Bunchen is on the cover. Inside, in the story, “Earth Mother”, I read about her career, her philanthropy, and her waterbirth at home. Although it is still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that she had a baby only six weeks prior to the photo shoot featured in Vogue, I loved reading her story. She talked about eating healthy during her pregnancy (she gained 30 pounds); practicing yoga three times a week; and doing kung fu up until two weeks before her son, Benjamin, was born. She described her rapid recovery, up and cooking the day after the birth. But I really bought the magazine to read about her birth. She gave birth in a deep tub at home in Boston with her husband (New England Patriot quarterback, Tom Brady), her mother, and a midwife friend from her home country of Brazil present. She meditated through the birth and said, “ It was the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body. And once he was born, I have never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together.”
Isn’t this why many of us went into the field of birth? To let women know the incredible power within themselves to give birth, and that birth can and should be a transforming experience. Hats off to Gisele for sharing her story and encouraging other women to think about birth in a such a positive way.
Use celebrity births such as this one to stimulate discussion about the many approaches to birth and options available to women today. Develop a “Celebrity Quiz.” Bring this magazine (the pictures in the magazine are beautiful, including one of Gisele when she was seven months pregnant and one with baby Benjamin) and others with birth stories to a childbirth class. Childbirth educators have said for many years that we need more celebrities talking about natural birth and breastfeeding. Now that they (Gisele, Ricki Lake, Cindy Crawford and others) are, we need to take advantage of it.