It Is Time We Stopped Expecting Ricki Lake To Save Natural Birth For Us

Creative Commons use, photo by David Shankbone, found here.
Virtually every time I sit with a group of like minded "natural birth advocates" discussing the state of childbirth in America today somebody comes up with an "idea".  It is always the same idea.

"You know what we need??!  We need somebody FAMOUS to give us 1 billion dollars and THEN we can improve maternity care!  Does anybody know Ricki Lake!?"


I kid you not.  This happens.  Frequently.

Ladies, I have bad news for you all.  I think Ricki has done her part in changing maternity care.  Last I checked she produced and stared in that movie, "The Business of Being Born".  Literally millions of people have seen it.  It has changed lives.  It has opened eyes.  It may have even nudged the home birth rate up a tad (though I argued that this was in fact caused by lame hospital policies).  Ms Lake has even allowed people to watch that movie for free on Netflix and has basically done a whole crapload to spread education and change birth in our country.

And yet we expect her (or some other famous person with cash) to bankroll our every little project so that we can actually "make change happen!"


This mentality bothers me and it makes me roll my eyes.  The "If somebody could only save us from what is happening then we wouldn't have to do any real work" sounds suspiciously like the very similar, "My doctor will take care of me, he said I didn't have to feel any pain" line I also hear now and again.

If we want to change maternity care, encourage natural birth and protect women and babies then we need to GET OUT THERE and make it happen.

It will be hard.  It will require time.  It will take work.  We will have to step outside of our comfort zones.  We will have to get involved and work together.  There is a lot you CAN DO without some old dude's money.

You can start or join your local birth network!  (My local one which I didn't start but am working hard to revive is called the Northern California Birth Collective and I am so proud of it!)

You can become a doula.

You can teach natural birth classes.

You can talk to women about birth.

You can share your birth story.

You can share events through social media or flyering or attend local events.  

You can start or attend your local ICAN group (International Cesarean Awareness Network.)

You can attend or start a local La Leche League group and support nursing mothers.

You can check out Improving Birth and what they have going on.

We can change birth and we can do it without a bunch of money.  But we can't change anything by sitting around and waiting for somebody else to do it for us.

Come on ladies.

Rise up.  Do something besides wait and complain and wait some more for somebody else to fix a problem.  Women are the ONLY PEOPLE who can change maternity care and we can't do it sitting on our butts at home. 


Yes! That is a great point! Love your blog and even my husband enjoys it when I read him the Chuck Norris post. I feel like things are slowly changing for the better in the women around. I do my best to spread the word but I'm hoping more will join in. I'm currently planning my second VBA2C (after inverted T incision)in April. Thanks again for a great blog! <3 Warmly, Mandy
Inkling said…
We're giving it our best shot here in BC, Canada. We offer Vancouver Birth Trauma for those mamas who have been through traumatic births, and we resource them with free peer counseling and give them recommendations on healing for their minds, bodies, and marriages - everything from counseling to physio. Out of that grew an advocacy arm called Humanize Birth. We hold rallies, actively pursue meetings with medical professionals to open up a dialogue, write, seek to connect with those in government working in the health ministry, and speak out about evidence based maternity care.

For me, it's been super healing to be a part of that. And it's opened my eyes to the huge task before us. But it's a lot like eating an bite at a time, though in our case it's helping one woman at a time. We may not have a millionaire offering to help out, but our grassroots, volunteer efforts are making a difference one step at a time.

Please feel free to look up both of our groups online. We have websites for both (, and, and we're also on Facebook.

Just thought I'd share that in case you haven't heard of us.