Mayim Bialik Encourages Women To Take Back Their Power During Birth

Although writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner had a traumatic experience with numerous medical interventions when she birthed her son, she is considering a more natural and holistic approach for her upcoming second childbirth. In an open and honest look into her painful experience, Brodesser-Akner asks the important question: Who controls childbirth – expectant moms or doctors?

In addition to reading the ‘bibles’ of intervention-free childbirths (Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Your Best Birth), Brodesser-Akner also sought the sound advice of celebrity mom Mayim Bialik, who is a spokesperson for the nonprofit Holistic Moms Network.

We wanted to do everything we could to reduce the possibility of intervention,” Bialik said of planning her first delivery, a home birth. “A culture that encourages you to let someone else tell you when to push instead of feeling it yourself scared me. I wanted to have power over my experience. Not to be a martyr but because my body was made to do this.”

Bialik went on to describe her first birth. After three days of labor at home, she was transferred to the hospital where she birthed her son. Her newborn spent four days in the neonatal intensive-care unit. “My son was born with a low temperature and low blood sugar, which isn’t unusual in light of the fact that I had gestational diabetes,” she explained. “I understand doctors need to err on the side of caution, but there was nothing wrong with my child. All of our plans for bed sharing, nursing on demand, bathing him — gone.”

The experience was scarring for the actress. “I felt a sense of failure that I had to call my parents from the hospital,” Bialik continued. “Yes, I know vaginal birth in the hospital is the next best thing to a home birth.” She added, “Everyone is allowed her own sense of loss.”

But isn’t medical intervention necessary in some cases? Bialik responded to this question without doubt:

There are those among us who believe that if the baby can’t survive a home labor, it is OK for it to pass peacefully. I do not subscribe to this, but I know that some feel that … if a baby cannot make it through birth, it is not favored evolutionarily.”

Tell us your birth experience. Did you have a traumatic or a peaceful birth?

Filed under: Mayim Bialik

Photo credit: Fame

  • Desiree

    Wonderful & at home! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I can feel the wave of disapproval coming on… I think she is right on. Yes, women, take back your power! It is YOUR body, YOUR baby, YOUR choice! Let go of your fear and trust in Mother Nature; She knows best.

  • Shirilicious

    I don’t know what to do with this interview. It reads so empowering yet it’s simply hoity-toity nonsense.
    On the hand she encourages expectant mothers to take make their own decisions, yet on the other hand she puts those down who opt to give birth at a hospital. So apparently women are only taking control over childbirth if they choose what SHE thinks is best, home birth. How is this any different from all the doctors at hospitals who turndown their noses at home birth? Hypocritical much?

  • Anonymous

    “If a baby can’t make it through birth it is not favored evolutionary.” Is this a joke? Do these people ever seek medical attention for anything or do they just let nature take it’s course? Would they object to CPR, antibiotics, the heimlich maneuver? Does a womans “birth experience” really take precedence over the health of her baby? Oh well, to each his own……..but i think there are plenty of other ways to feel “empowered” as a woman.

  • Hanh

    I can’t believe she is whining about her son in the NICU like she knows better than the doctors who are watching her baby carefully. I bet if the doctor’s didn’t put him in the NICU and something happened to her son, she would be the first to sue the hospital claiming medical malpractice.

    Freaking idiot.

    And the evolutionary not favored bit is utterly insane. Maybe if we’re lucky those crazy parents will get sick, not seek help, and die so we can eliminate their genes from the general populace.

  • Jack109

    I’m sorry but I gave birth in a hospital after 17.5 hours with an epidural after 15 and I feel empowered by giving birth. No one told me what to do or when to do it. You just have to find what is right for you. Yes natural birth is best, because it jump starts all the babies systems but if it cant happen then it cant and a baby nor a woman should die because it wasn’t a home birth. Ridiculous…

    • Jack109


  • L

    I don’t think she subscribes to the “If a baby can’t survive birth maybe it wasn’t meant to evolutionarily” bit.
    I agree with Jack109, every woman is different and needs/wants different things. Our bodies are made to give birth and contractions and the stress of it ARE actually good for your baby, releasing hormones and such. But if you’re not comfortable with having a home birth, then it’s not right for you and vice-versa. I think the problem is, because of the fear of lawsuits and such many doctors over-intervene to the extent that birth is no longer in the mother’s control. Hospitals also have protocols to cover their asses, and some aren’t necessary for every child, so I can see how she might be frustrated.

  • Da

    I’m having my baby at home. If the need arises or there’s some characteristic (breech, med. issue) that requires a hospital birth, I’d have it there. If the same can be accomplished at a birthing center, that would be my preference. It doesn’t mean no intervention when it’s needed, as you read, when the need arose, she moved to the hospital. I’m not seeing the problem?

  • Anonymous

    I think some people haven’t read her comments carefully. She says that she does NOT subscribe to the idea of refusing medical intervention thereby letting a baby die in a home birth. In regards to her own birth experience, it is as she says, “Everyone is allowed her own sense of loss.” She doesn’t put down women who choose to give birth in a hospital. Those of you who interpreted her comments that way come across as defensive. If you feel empowered by your birth experience, that’s what matters, and that power is what she is trying to promote.

    • Lioness

      Thank you, my thoughts exactly!!

  • Anonymous

    Also, the “doctors know best” mentality is part of the cycle that leads to women being pressured into making decisions that they don’t feel confident about. The truth is that doctors DO know best, but what’s best for the baby isn’t always what motivates them. The sad fact is that money and the fear of malpractice lawsuits dictate the course of treatment in many instances. Guess what’s the best way to raise a newborn’s blood sugar… breastmilk! And guess what’s the best way to raise a newborn’s temperature… skin to skin contact with the mother! Mayim Bialik is well informed, and when she says there was nothing wrong with her child, she is right!

    • Lioness


  • Anonymous

    As long as doctors can be sued whenever anything goes wrong, they are going to be overly cautious and can you blame them? I don’t know if I could do my job in the most open-minded way if I knew that following the mom’s decisions might lead to ill consequences which then would lead to the mom suing me. I wish we could exist in an environment where women and doctors could work together without fear of one another but that will never happen.

    Personally I would HATE having my baby at home – it would literally be a nightmare for me so I can understand women who feel the same about having their babies in hospitals. We all know what feels right for us.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who says, “I’m don’t subscribe to this but some people do” is endorsing the idea. She clearly thinks it’s worth thinking about, and not a batshit crazy thing to believe. It’s the worst kind of smug viciousness: my birth is better than yours, and my baby, who lived, is evolutionarily favored. Though she doesn’t “subscribe” to the theory, she is not saying, Oh my God: some people think it’s OK if babies die for no good reason. (I’m the mother of a dead child, and of another who would have died if I’d had her at home: breech, early amniotic leak, non-reassuring heartbeat.)

    The article itself was very smart. But Bialik is a moron.

    • Lioness

      “Anyone who says, “I’m don’t subscribe to this but some people do” is endorsing the idea.”

      I don’t think that’s a fair statement- I’m sure there are people that subscribe to things that you don’t, and you both agree to disagree without judging each other. Her simple acknowledgement that these “evolution-select” people exist isn’t an endorsement- Bialik went to the hospital when things weren’t going right with her son’s birth, so I think that’s proof that she doesn’t support the idea. I too know people who believe in the evolution theory, but I personally would do everything I could to assist my child in his/her birth, should they need it. I think she’s just saying that those people exist, and nothing more. I’m sorry that you experienced the loss of a child- it’s an inconsolable thing that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Some mothers, however, simply may not view life the way you do. All Bialik did was not judge them (at least not in this interview), and I’m not sure why that makes her a “moron”.

      A lot of you guys are letting your own experiences tell a different story than what Bialik said in the interview, and then condemning her for it. Please read the article carefully.

  • Anonymous

    I pity the doctors that have to take on these home births gone wrong – I hope the birth mothers have to sign some kind of waiver when they storm the hospitals demanding immediate attention. Also, I can’t imagine a hospital would put a baby in the NICU if there is “absolutely nothing” wrong with it. Two of my babies had low blood sugar and body temperature issues and neither came close to going to the NICU – maybe there is more to the story. That said, have your babies wherever you want but realizing that not everything will go as planned and not everything is about you is a pretty good lesson to learn early in parenthood.

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