You might know her as Tauriel the eflin warrior from The Hobbit trilogy, or as Kate Austen from Lost, but actress Evangeline Lilly may soon be known best for her writing skills. Her new children’s book series The Squickerwonkers hits shelves November 18 and it’s different from any kid’s story we’ve seen. Parents caught up with mom to 3-year-old Kahekili about her creepy new children’s book, upcoming Halloween plans, how she cultivates creativity in her son, and why she thinks we all can use a bit of Squickerwonker spookiness in our lives.
P: You first wrote a version of The Squickerwonkers when you were a teenager. Tell us about the evolution of this story.
EL: I read it to my mom when I was a teenager and she was like “Sweetheart, you really should try to publish that.” As a 14-year-old girl not only did I have no idea how to publish a book, I also was used to my mom thinking everything I did was incredible even if it wasn’t because she’s my mom and she loves me. Twenty years later I was working on The Hobbit in New Zealand with Peter Jackson and I went into the Weta Workshop—which is the creative arm of his where they create his armor and all these other things—and there was so much creativity going on in that place. I was like “I want to create something of my own, too.” I want to start this [book]. For about five years, I’d been really seriously intending to start a writing career. That was my dream. I had all these incredible people and artists and resources all around me, so I ended up connecting with Johnny Fraser-Allen at the Workshop and he came on board to work on The Squickerwonkers.
P: His illustrations are so fabulous. They compliment your characters so well.
EL: I can’t say the story is completely independent of him and he can’t say the illustrations are really independent of me. We really collaborated. I knew the Squickerwonkers were what I would call human but not human. Johnny came on board and he had this idea that they should be marionette puppets on this traveling wagon. And I gasped, “Oh my gosh that’s exactly it.”
P: Part of your intention with this book is to purposefully put something out there for children that is a little darker and creepier.
EL: I do think that there is beauty and value and meaning in having very uplifting, sweet, innocent stories for children. But I’m a great believer in balance and I think that everybody, children and adults alike, needs balance in their life. The good and the evil, the right and the wrong, the truth and the idealism. That’s important to me. I look around me and I see a lot of young people who are very entitled and who are very confused when life isn’t perfect. I think that often comes from some of the messaging we receive as children from our stories, but that’s really not life and especially not on the playground.
The Squickerwonkers is really a playground drama. How many times do mischievous little kids do something mean or unfair to a kid that’s just minding his own business or being perfectly kind? How does a child learn how to deal with those situations? How do they learn to deal with the side of life that maybe isn’t as pretty, but is very real and prevalent? And then very importantly for me: How does a child makes sense of “the devil within themselves?” Or when they do something and they know it’s wrong but for some reason can’t stop, how do they accept and love themselves with the good and the ugly? That’s important to teach children also. That nobody’s perfect. Mom and dad aren’t perfect. You’re not perfect.
P: You’ve said previously that acting is your day job and you said earlier that writing was your dream. Is this a transition period for your career?
EL: I’ve always been an opportunist. Lost and starting acting…that was really just opportunism. I didn’t want to be an actress, but I saw this opportunity. I think I will always live to a certain degree that way. I will probably always take an acting job if it comes about in a way that feels like it was meant to be or if it’s a great idea, but really my focus is to transition to writing. It’s truly a dream come true for me.
P: How does being a mom affect how you pick your projects? Were you drawn to write a children’s book because you have a child?
EL: I started writing The Squickerwonkers immediately after he was born, so maybe? Nowhere inside of me was I consciously writing for my children. I can say that is one of the reasons why I took the first film job I did after Lost—Real Steel with Hugh Jackman. I remember distinctly thinking “You know, I’m gonna have kids one day—and hopefully one day soon—and this is a movie I would really love my children to watch.” It’s the kind of entertainment and the kind of film that I believe instills beautiful, incredible values in kids—to stand up against adversity, that if you’re the underdog you can make it in the world. What’s interesting is I’ve sort of continued on in that thread. The Hobbit is great family entertainment. Ant-Man will be great family entertainment.The Squickerwonkers is for the whole family. I think that’s the kid in me coming out. I never really grew up.
P: Your book takes place in this spooky alternate puppet world. The Hobbit is a fantasy. Even Lost was sci-fi. So you seem to be attracted to fantasy and imagination. Do you find that your son is imaginative?
EL: He’s learning it. It’s fascinating to me as a mother to realize that imagination is not innate. You have to teach it. I was a very imaginative little girl. I always assumed that was innate and that every child is born with a massive imagination that takes them to all different wonderful worlds. As a mother I’m learning Oh! You actually have to teach children about what it means to play imaginary worlds and invent imaginary characters. My son is 3-and-a-half and he’s starting to blossom into the little boy who has an imagination. It’s heaven to watch.
EL: I play with him. And it’s funny because I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that parents need to play with their kids. In my generation, nobody’s parents played with us. Nobody. There’s a pressure nowadays to play with our children and I think it’s unnecessary, but I can’t help myself. I want him to have the gift and the joy of an imaginary world the way I did. Maybe not to the extent that I did. I had more imaginary friends than real-life friends. He’s a much more grounded little man. He’s a very practical, responsible, grounded little person. Very unlike his mother.
P: Is he more like his dad?
EL: A little more like his dad and, honestly, just his own person. I sort of go Where did this come from? He just sort of came out that way. He’s a little Taurus. He’s a little bull so I wonder if that has anything to do with it.
Horoscope for a Taurus Baby
P: Speaking of all things spooky and creative and playful, Halloween is coming up. Do you do anything special?
EL: Now that I have a child and my partner’s kind of into it, he makes sure the three of us have costumes. As we speak I’m at a consignment store, we just finished finding his costume this year. He picked it out himself.
P: What will he be?
EL: He’s gonna be a Depression-era child. [Cracking up] We were thinking of maybe a minion or something because he loves the minions from Despicable Me, but he picked out this crazy concoction of old used clothing. He put it all on and he LOVED it. He just looks like a little street kid from the 1930s.
P: What is your favorite part about being a mom to Kahekili?
EL: Discovering the human being that is within him. I feel like parenting is such a wonderful unearthing. It’s like archaeology. It’s all in there already and it’s just a matter of what you uncover and what you dig up. You get to meet this human being and you go “Oh my gosh, that’s who you are. You’re your own person.” It’s so much fun.
Photographs: Evangeline Lilly / Sarah Dunn, courtesy of Warner Bros.
Today Shakira, superstar singer and mom to 21-month-old Milan (and with a baby on the way!), announced her partnership with Fisher-Price, driving the design of a new line of baby gear and toys sold on Amazon.com. Look for our exclusive interview with her in the December issue of Parents magazine, and in the meantime, here’s a bit of what she shared with us!
Q: You wanted to join forces with Fisher-Price after Milan loved the Kick & Play Piano Gym. Why do you think Milan was so captivated by it? How much of an influence was Milan in the new toys you are helping to launch?
I think the toy stimulated him on various levels—his kicking led to a concrete response from the toy, which really allowed him to understand cause and effect and how he himself could participate, while the toys overhead provided visual stimulation. Watching him play and learn was a huge eye-opener and of course, had a great influence when we were designing the new toys.
Q: Music is obviously a huge part of your life. What are Milan’s favorite songs? I’ve played him a bit of everything, from nursery rhymes to Green Day to Frank Sinatra. If he’s anything like his mother, he will have very eclectic tastes in music.
Q: Which is Milan picking up faster: Spanish or English?
I think I would have to say, if pressed to choose, that Spanish is his first language since I am the person he most spends time with and it’s my first language. He has an equal understanding of English, Spanish, and Catalan [which Milan’s dad, Gerard Piqué, speaks]. It’s quite astounding, really. But his first words, “mama” and “papa,” could work in any of the languages, so I’m really curious to see how his language skills develop in all three as he begins to form sentences and more complex thoughts.
Q: What do you consider your biggest mommy win?
I’d say the fact that Milan trusts me more than anyone is a win. I always explain everything to him, give him reasons for everything we do or don’t do, and always tell him the truth. I can see how it makes him feel safe with me, which makes me feel that I’m nailing at least part of the job.
Q: And your biggest mommy fail?
Getting my son to eat! He no longer eats pumpkin and certain fruits he used to love as a baby, and I don’t understand why!
Q: You’ve long been a proponent of early childhood education. Why is it so important to you, and how has it become even more important to you now that you have Milan? It’s so important to me because of its importance in changing a person’s course in life really cannot be understated. Lots of people are born into less than ideal situations on a socioeconomic level. But those who have access to education gain the tools that help them to overcome their circumstances and become the chief of their own destiny. The return on investment for early education is limitless, because children’s potential is limitless. And after becoming a mother, I now realize how important it is to instill that knowledge not only in the children themselves but in their parents, because even before our kids enter school, we are their primary educators, and the more we stimulate them and interact with them, the more prepared they will be when they go off to school, and the more likely their chance of success later on in life.
Here, teachers explain to Parents why music is so important to kids.
For Josh Duhamel, it all comes back to being a parent. Whether it’s getting involved with Unilever’s child hunger campaign, Project Sunlight, or raising his son Axl with wife, Fergie being a dad has affected his perspective. Here at Parents.com we recently had the chance to chat with him about everything he has going on these days.
“It’s really about making a brighter future for children,” he shared about his work with Unilever. “And that never meant more than it does now to me because you just see things differently as a parent.”
But between that and his new movie and TV roles, you might be wondering how he has time for it all – don’t worry, we are too!
“Pretty much everything revolves around scheduling time to be with the fam,” he said.
To get the full scoop on some of his new projects and what he thinks of raising a toddler, watch the whole interview here:
Sweater season is here, and we’re going to need hot soup to keep warm as the weather turns brisk. Dole—typically known for their fruit—just launched ready-to-serve Dole Garden Soup. Actress and cookbook author Ali Larter will judge the Dole Souper Gardener contest to find America’s best gardener (could be you). Parents caught up with Larter, mom of 3-year-old Theo with one on the way, about her childhood gardening memories, cooking for her family, and why she eats what she wants while pregnant.
P: You’re no stranger to trying new recipes since you came out with your cookbook. What is it about food and cooking that excites you?
AL: You know, I grew up cooking with my mom all the time and she always would have dinner parties. I remember sitting at the top of my stairs and hearing all the laughter and the incredible smells that came from her cooking. As I got older and started moving into different cities I realized that that was my connection to people. It’s how I make friends and how I like to spend my time. There’s no happier place for me than at a farmer’s market or in the kitchen cooking and feeding my family and friends.
AL: I do. He’s an amazing sous chef. He’s got his own measuring cups. He has his little apron that he wears. Yesterday we made gingersnaps and buckwheat scones, which he loves. I always include him in the process. He just loves to make a mess. I have to keep him from dumping things into the bowl.
P: What is your favorite recipe to make for your family?
AL: I love my ricotta meatballs. I often double batch it and freeze one batch. Then I do one night of meatballs with a beautiful cauliflower puree and the next night do meatball subs. There’s no way I just cook for one meal. We either freeze one or eat it for lunch or dinner the next day.
P: When you don’t have time to cook, what’s your son’s favorite go-to snack?
AL: He loves hot dogs, but he does not get them often. When you read the ingredients in a hot dog it can make you kind of sick. I let him have them on special occasions.
AL: Well I just starting cooking with the ginger flavor, fresh ginger and cloves and nutmeg. Getting all those flavors out. I love cooking in the fall. Fall and spring are probably my favorite times to cook. I do a gingersnap crust with my pumpkin pie that I got did for my grandma because she used to love gingersnaps so much she’d put them in her coffee. So, I created that pie for her. All the fall flavors are just so rich and delicious.
P: You’ll be judging the Dole Souper Gardener contest. Do you have a green thumb?
AL: My grandfather was a big gardener and also my aunt. When they asked me to judge America’s Best Super Gardener I was really excited. We’ll looked at all the pictures, and someone will win $5,000 for themselves AND $5,000 for their local community garden. I’m excited to see everyone’s passion.
P: Aside from gardening, what is your favorite outdoor activity with your son?
AL: Right now I’m just into laying outside because I’m pregnant and I enjoy laying around more than ever. This morning we played construction trucks so we’re out in the morning with all his trucks and I sit there and pick up rocks with the dump loader.
P: Are you nervous about having to introduce him to a baby sibling?
AL: I’m actually not. I think everyone has different issues with their kids, but he seems extremely receptive and is very very excited. I feel really lucky with that.
AL: I wouldn’t say I’m the healthiest pregnant girl. I try my best, but I definitely crave a lot of carbs and cheese when I’m pregnant and I allow myself to have them. I just tell myself that the baby needs it. I’ll be like Paleo as soon as the baby comes [laughs].
P: Theodore was born in December and you have this new baby coming in the winter. How do you make sure that a birthday is still a special day without being overshadowed by the holidays?
AL: That’s definitely hard. It gets to the point with presents where it becomes silly. There are so many kids out there who need presents. I think we’re gonna start introducing experiential birthdays where he’ll be able to choose an experience instead of just a ton of gifts. Whether it’s traveling somewhere he always wanted to go—the Grand Canyon—or apple-picking, or going on a boat. It’s figuring out ways to do it where we can have an adventure as a family rather than gifts at the house.
AL: I feel really lucky that I do have help and that gives us the opportunity to go out to the movies or dinner. It is busier than ever, but [my husband] loves being a father and that’s a huge part of it. We love parenting together and I feel really lucky to have found someone who is such an incredible father to our son.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a double mastectomy, Samantha Harris (former host of Dancing With The Stars) has had a year of change. A ball of energy, she celebrated her cancer-free status last night at the 30th annual DreamBall for Look Good Feel Better, an international organization dedicated to boosting the self-confidence of men and women dealing with breast cancer through beauty and style workshops. A mother of two—Josselyn, 7, and Hillary, 3—Harris sat down with Parents to talk about surviving breast cancer and the delicate balance between looking good and feeling better.
P: What does it mean to be the Look Good Feel Better’s 2014 DreamGirl?
SH: It’s such a special organization and to be honored by them for being inspiring through my diagnosis almost seems wrong because I’ve been inspired by so many other women. I feel that I’m really representing all these other survivors who reached out to me through social media to share their stories and open up to me about getting through the treatments and living through the diagnosis and coming out the other side. There was this elusive “other side” that everyone talked about and now I can officially say I am on the other side and I am a survivor.
P: You didn’t undergo chemo or radiation, so did you take advantage of LGFB?
SH: I did attend one of the LGFB workshops in Northridge, CA at one of the hospitals there [before my decision about chemo]. The women in the room were so tremendously inspiring because they had the strength to come in and sit in a room of strangers and take off their wigs and headscarves and be clean-faced. But the point of the workshop is to be able to give women and men tools to find normalcy at a time in your life that is far from normal and help regain some of that confidence. Even though on the one hand you say “Health is all that’s important who cares what you look like” what you look like is what gives you the confidence to be able to focus on only taking care of yourself.
P: You chose to tell your daughters about your diagnosis separately. Where did you come up with that plan?
SH: Knowing that I needed to communicate that Mommy was undergoing something pretty intense but not scare them was a daunting task. One website said it’s important that the message is delivered in a different way depending on their age. My mom had had back surgery recently and it was the first time my older daughter experienced seeing someone laid up in bed. So I said “Just like Grandma had back surgery and she was in her bed for a little while getting better but now you see her running around Mommy also has to have some surgery.” I also wanted to make sure that the first time she heard the word “cancer” it wasn’t some deep dark scary thing to whisper in a corner like years past. I was really open with them.
P: How did your diagnosis change your perspective on motherhood?
SH: It made me feel sad for my daughters because now they are at a higher risk because their mom had cancer. But I turned by perspective on that to say that my girls have a leg up because they will be checked and monitored much more closely than had I never had cancer. Hopefully, G-d forbid if cancer is in their path, we’re gonna find it earlier and get rid of it faster. Or hopefully G-d willing we’ll have a cure. That would be even better.
SH: It’s hard in a very modern feminist world to justify that I feel defined by my looks, because I’m not defined by my looks. But you are very much yourself when you feel like you like yourself.As for my girls, my 7-year-old has started to become more body aware and it’s sad to me that it’s starting so early. She’s noticed that she has hair on her arms and her legs. She’s been wearing pants in the hot weather. I thought, you know what I can’t believe I’m going to be shaving my daughter’s legs this early (not with a razor, just men’s clippers) but there are enough things to be self-conscious about I didn’t want her to be self conscious about body stuff.
It’s a double-edged sword because how you present yourself in the world influences how people perceive you. As women we have an asset because we can use products to make us feel better outwardly and if that little bit helps your confidence on the inside then you’ll be more successful in everything else you do. I think it’s important for girls to know it’s ok to care about your appearance—it’s important—it’s not ok to obsess about it. That, I think, is the distinguishing factor.
One great way to look good and feel better? Check out our pregnancy fitness workout below!
If you have boys and wish there were more clothing options for little dudes, Melissa Joan Hart understands! She and her husband, Mark Wilkerson, have three boys: Mason, 9, Brady, 6, and Tucker, 2. They’re launching King of Harts and shared with Parents how the line got its start and what we have to look forward to.
P: When did you realize you wanted to launch a kids’ clothing line?
MJH: Mark and I have always been disappointed with the boy side of clothing stores. Never enough options and usually the shirts are covered in licensed characters like Spongebob or Spiderman. We felt we could add some cool options to the closets of little boys everywhere. We tossed around names for a few months but nothing seemed to be right until I told our designer that I thought maybe it should have my name in it for recognition and she immediately came up with King of Harts. I feel kinda silly that we hadn’t thought of it before.
P: So often girls get the cute designs. What were some of your ideas behind creating designs for young boys?
MJH: We wanted to be sure to start small and grow our company over time to be sure that we maintained the quality of our garments. So we decided to start with only boys and within that, we wanted to start with jeans and graphic t-shirts. But we are suckers for great outerwear and decided to include a military-inspired jacket. A few months into developing the line, we couldn’t resist adding a great chambray shirt and hooded sweatshirt.
P: All of the clothes from the line are made in America. Why is that important to you and your husband?
MJH: We believe fully in the Made in America label and look for it ourselves on everything we buy. I think our country is struggling in many ways due to the lack of manufacturing in the US. By making the line in the US we hope to support local farms, factories, and businesses on every Main Street across the country.
P: What have you done to make the clothes long-lasting since many boys are tough on clothes?
MJH: Nothing is more aggravating then paying good money for clothes that don’t last. We have passed down almost every item from Mason to Brady and now to Tucker. We put in a double panel with a cool stitch around the knees of our denim jeans to help add support for those boys who like to play rough on the playground and dig for worms.
P: King of Harts will be working with the national nonprofit, Youth Villages. What made you and your husband want to work with this organization?
MJH: We came across Youth Villages and fell in love with their team and the work they do because they seek out kids across the country that need support and love and they help them find their way again. They fiercely believe that building strong families is the answer and we couldn’t agree more! Families are the answer to changing the course of a child’s life so that they can have every chance for a successful future. The proceeds from our limited-run Louie tee (with an awesome photo of my fellow Dancing with the Stars alum and Olympic snowboarder, Louie Vito) go directly to Youth Villages, as will a portion of our T-shirt sales every month.
P: What is your favorite outfit?
MJH: I am crazy about the Chambray shirt with the Camo shorts together. It’s perfect for school picture day or a trip to the zoo. The lobster with the funny sunglasses tee is also a fun fave of mine.
P: The Winter 2014 line is available for pre-order and the Spring/Summer line will be available in March 2015. What are your future goals for King of Harts?
MJH: We will see what happens as we grow but the fall 15 line is in development now. I encourage fans and friends to recommend what they would like to see in future collections using the website’s email address. Someday we hope to have a Queen of Harts and maybe shoes called Hart and Sole. The big dream is to build our own factory in the US someday to provide knits and woven materials for our designs.
P: In one word, how do you describe your line?
Photos courtesy of King of Harts.
Want behind the scenes footage? Watch their video here!
Hollywood is having a baby boom. And some of our favorite celebrity moms are welcoming their babies at home.
While home births still constitute less than 1 percent of total births in the United States, births at home have increased 50 percent since 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Continue reading about 10 celebrity moms – including Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan and Gisele Bündchen - who had home births.
Supermarket Superstar host Stacy Keibler and her husband Jared Pobre welcomed their first child on August 20, she announced on her website. The Dancing with the Stars alum welcomed daughter, Ava Grace, via home birth.
“Jared and I have been blessed with the new love of our lives,” the proud new mom announced. “Ava Grace Pobre was born at home on Wednesday, August 20th. We’ve never experienced a level of joy and happiness like this before! Thank you so much for all of the special wishes and positive energy.”
Omarion’s girlfriend Apryl Jones
Former B2K singer Omarion, 29, and his girlfriend Apryl Jones have welcomed their first child – a son – the proud papa announced via Instagram August 9. “World. Allow me to introduce. MEGAA OMARI GRANDBERRY. He is 7 pounds. 4oz & 20 inches long,” he captioned the sweet snapshot holding his newborn in his arms.
“My son I’ve been waiting on you,” the R&B singer continued.
The new dad went on to gush about his “soul mate,” who welcomed their son via home birth.
“God is the realist!! I witnessed a miracle,” he added. “My soul mate @aprylsjones is so strong! Not only did she have a un medicated birth (no drugs) she did it at home. Naturally. Just like my mom had me. I love you. thank you for having my legacy. I’ll forever belong to you & you will forever be tied to me. Creating a child takes no love or skill but being a parent requires lots of both. Thanks for watching me grow. #MEGAAhome #OmarionsonMEGAA #donthateonmysonsnameillkillya #Nolol #royalObloodline #blasain #mysongotgoodhair #freshpitthewombhandsom alright. I love y’all.”
During an appearance on TODAY, Rogue actress Thandie Newton talked about the joys of home birth. The mom-of-three proudly said she birthed her son Booker, now 6 months, at home on her bathroom floor.
When asked why she had all three of her kids at home – she and husband Ol Parker are also parents to daughters Ripley, 13, and Nico, 9 – the Mission: Impossible II actress said she feels much more comfortable at home.
“I’d never been in hospital as a child or as an adult really, and I just associated hospital with being ill,” she said of her decision. “And I felt beautiful and healthy and wonderful when I was pregnant, and being at home was the place I felt most relaxed and comfortable.”
She went on to talk about the taboo topic, saying that home births used to be the norm.
“There was a time when everyone had their babies at home,” the Crash star, 41, said. “It wasn’t such a big deal. It’s more about as a woman what do you feel most comfortable doing, and you make the choice, and I chose to be at home.”
Alyson Hannigan has quickly become one of our favorite celebrity moms since the birth of her first child, Satyana, in March 2009. Celebrity Baby Scoop sat down with the How I Met Your Mother star and asked about her drug-free homebirth.
“Yes. I did use a midwife and a doula,” she said. “We had the option of having a doctor there, but even he said you’ll only need me if you need to be transferred to the hospital–which thankfully, I did not need.”
Before welcoming her second daughter, Keeva, the American Pie star said she faced many fear-based comments about going forward with another home birth.
“Yes, we had lots of comments about it,” Alyson said. “And we had the doctor that scared us tremendously. There was definitely more concern the first time around. For me, that was just the perfect place. I am absolutely terrified of hospitals. so I think that the home is the best place for me to feel comfortable. I had a midwife, her assistant and a doula. It will be the same again this time.”
Mayim Bialik has really ‘blossomed’ into an amazing and outspoken mother! An advocate of attachment parenting, Mayim also empowers women to consider medication-free home births.
TheBig Bang Theory star and mother of two talked about her second son’s home birth, while her elder son watched.
“Fred, yes, was born at home, and Miles was able to watch the whole thing from his high chair while eating granola,” she said. “Fortunately it was a very fast labor because I think Miles would’ve been bored if it was longer than the hour and a half it was. He loves it, he still talks about it. It was something we talked about with our pediatrician, and believed very strongly in older siblings being present, and giving the choice. We gave him a choice before, we prepared him with videos about homebirth that our midwife prepared. Even during, I said, “If Miles wants to go the next room he can!” But he said, “No, I fine!” He got freaked out by the blood, but it was still nice.”
On Christmas Day 2011, Alanis Morissette and her husband Mario Treadway welcomed their son Ever into their home with the help of a midwife and a doula.
“I didn’t really even imagine myself having the birth experience in the hospital,” Morissette told Today. “My home is like my little sanctuary.”
She added: “My husband was at my side the whole time, my total hero. And the rest was really up to God.”
Throughout her home birth, the singer says she tapped into an inner strength.
“The experience was beyond pain,” she admitted. “It was a transcendental experience. I just went to this whole other world. I basically had to be the little soldier that I am and really focus on this new beautiful creature coming out of me.”
She went on to talk about the joys of home birth.
“I think once people know it’s quite possible to have a really amazing home birth — and in my case I have no regrets and would do it again and in the same breath it wasn’t the easiest experience of my life — I think having it be an option is really exciting,” she shared.
One of the most outspoken celebrity moms on natural birth is supermodel Gisele Bündchen. The former Victoria’s Secret model gave birth to her first child Benjamin in December 2009 and has openly spoken about her drug-free and pain-free home water birth.
“My delivery was in a bath tub, in water,” Gisele said. “I wanted to have a home birth. I wanted to be very aware and present during the birth… I didn’t want to be drugged up. So I did a lot of preparation, I did yoga and meditation, so I managed to have a very tranquil birth at home. It didn’t hurt in the slightest. The whole time my mind was focused in each contraction on the thought ‘my baby is closer to coming out.’”
A few weeks later the supermodel looked svelte on the cover of Vogue and spoke of her “empowered” birth experience.
“I wanted to experience the transformation,” the model mom said. “It was the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body. And once he was born, I never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together!”
“I am blessed to have been able to have a home birth surrounded by love, where I was able to feel safe,” she wrote. “It was a powerful experience. I never felt so vulnerable but so strong at the same time. It was amazing to experience my body become free to do what it was made to do by allowing my mind and my body to let go and be free to experience the changes taking place within… I was just there… focusing on my breathing and relaxing the best that I could… so present, to witness the biggest miracle in my life happen before my very own eyes. To give life to another being, what a gift!”
“I had the opportunity to experience the natural process of birth and it was one of the most life changing experiences for me and very very special!,” she said. “I believe it’s a woman’s right to make the decision about how she’s going to give birth to her child. And it’s also her right to have access to the information she needs so she can make that decision from a place of awareness, and not a place of fear.”
“I actually skipped the hospital … We decided to have the baby at home because we wanted it to be a natural birth, and it turns out that it was 30 hours of natural,” she shared.
Of those thirty hours, Evangeline says a full eight were spent pushing!
“Eight hours of pushing, that’s the part that men don’t understand.” the Canadian beauty added. “Women go, ‘Oh, dear, oh, dear God, eight hours of pushing?’ And the men are like, ‘Okay, eight hours of pushing. After about five hours of pushing, my midwife and my birthing assistant said, ‘You know, we have a few suggestions,’” she says. “And I was like, ‘Really? After five hours of pushing you have a few suggestions? You couldn’t have told me five minutes in?’
Ricki Lake’s documentary about home birth, The Business of Being Born, empowered women everywhere to have unmedicated births at home. She gave birth to her second son Owen, now 13, at home in a bathtub. She talked about her reasons for making the film.
“I wanted to make this movie after my two very different birth experiences with my children,” she said. “I felt like I had an opportunity to explore and question birthing practices in this country and perhaps be an advocate for mothers’ rights and better maternity care.”
On the experience of birthing Owen at home, Ricki said:
“After the birth of my sons, particularly my home birth with my second son, I thought I wanted to become a midwife,” she shared. “Then I looked at all the years of schooling and training that I would have to do and felt that the time could be better spent doing a documentary on the subject of birth.”
Model mom-of-two Cindy Crawford had both of her children – son Presley and daughter Kaia – at home with her husband Rande Gerber and three midwives on hand.
“I didn’t tell anyone last time because a lot of people are against home birth and tell you horror stories,” she shared. “Even my husband said at first, ‘Why are we doing this?’” But she went on to say her home birth was ‘absolutely surreal.’”
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Flu season is coming up and actor James Van Der Beek is not taking any chances with his growing brood. The longtime TV star (Dawson’s Creek anyone?) and father of three, Olivia, 4, Joshua, 2, and Annabel, nearly 9 months, is spreading the word on fighting influenza with FluMist Quadrivalent, a needle-free flu vaccine. Parents took some one-on-one time with James to talk TLC, how being a dad to daughters has changed him, and the one thing he would do if he had 45 minutes to himself.
P: We’re here for FluMist. Vaccines have been a big buzz topic. What is your take on vaccines and what do you say to parents who might not be with you?
JVDB: I totally understand the debate about vaccines. They certainly have a utility. My wife and I went back and forth on the whole vaccine issue, quite a bit, but when it came to the flu vaccine specifically it was something we decided to do. Initially I was afraid you could get the flu from a flu vaccine. You actually can’t. It’s impossible. That was new to me. When I found that out, I realized there are a lot of myths about the flu that even I had—as health-conscious as I am. When I found out that it hospitalized 200,000 people a year and that it’s responsible for the hospitalization of more children than any other vaccine-preventable disease, that’s when I thought this is something that I can really get behind and help spread the word. And [FluMist] is needle free. Kids don’t like when you stick needles in them. Go figure. My 4-year-old did it and didn’t cry and was really proud of herself. We did not vaccinate our kids last year and I had two kids with the flu and my wife was pregnant. And G-d forbid it can lead to some bad complications.
JVDB: Well my first kid was a daughter, yeah you do start to be more concerned with the world in general knowing your kids are going to go out in it. You start to really look at other people’s attitudes towards women especially, and you’re a lot more hyperaware.
P: Have you seen the YouTube videos of the daddy-daughter dates? Would you take Olivia or Annabel on a father-daughter first date?
JVDB: I just loved stories. I loved to have a story to tell and my kids will tell me a story and the only way I’ll know that they’re making it up is that there’s a dragon in it. Everything else is really believable until a dragon makes an appearance and I say, “Oh ok you’re making this up.” I turn to my wife and go, “Sorry…my bad.”
P: You’re three kids in, what do you think you’ve learned and you’re doing better with the third than the first?
JVDB: I’ve come to just realize how important it is to embrace the chaos. There might be parents out there who are able to manage everything neat and tidy, but that’s certainly not us. Fighting to really find that appreciation in all of those moments is so important because it really does go by so quickly. It’s a big cliché and it’s so true. There are those times when you’re just so frustrated and you just think to yourself “Really?!” Especially those moments: sit there and think I’m gonna miss this when it’s not happening.
P: What still continues to baffle you? Is there anything you wish someone would tell you the secret to?
JVDB: How do kids have that much energy?
P: I think we should institute adult naptime.
JVDB: I would LOVE adult naptime. I would endorse that in two seconds.
P: You recently had 45 minutes to yourself and you didn’t know what to do. If you had 45 minutes again, do you know what you would do?
JVDB: I should work out because that’s catch as catch can. What I would love to do is to see if I’ve got a football game recorded that nobody has ruined the score for me and just spend 45 minutes going through that. That would be something…. That’s so pathetic. Better than doing the dishes, which is what I think I did last time. I find myself doing dishes saying, “Why am I doing dishes right now? I could be doing anything.”
P: Despite the lack of free time, you seem to be very happy as a father. Was there one moment when you went “Wow. I’m a dad.”
JVDB: Yeah. First moment my first one was born. That was it. It was pretty instantaneous. I’d wanted that for a long time so when it did happen it felt like the resolution to a lot of unanswered questions in my life.
Photograph: Via Instagram with permission from James Van Der Beek