Ricki Lake is living the good life—newly married, with growing boys (Milo, born in 1997, and Owen, born in 2001), a new book out, and a brand-new talk show on the horizon. But her personal and professional lives truly come together in the work she does around pregnancy and birth. From the acclaimed 2008 documentary The Business of Being Born, which centered on her own home birth, sprang a book, an online community, educational DVDs—and what Lake sees as a movement of women seeking better health outcomes for moms and babies. "This is my life's work," she says—and she shares a piece of it with BabyZone.
What's your golden rule of parenting?
Patience—because I'm constantly working on it and it's constantly being tested.
Describe the best moment of parenting so far.
Obviously, giving birth was just the most miraculous experience for me. And I'm so lucky that I was able to have two different birth experiences.
These days, I love living life through my children's eyes. When they conquer a goal, hit a home run, all those milestones they achieve—it just tickles me.
And the worst?
Making mistakes. Nobody is perfect and parenting is so hit and miss. You want to think the mistakes you make aren't going to cause too much harm.
Best advice you ever got?
John Waters said, when I first met him, "Stay true to yourself." I've done that my entire career. That was some solid advice.
And we women, especially when we're pregnant, we have an instinct. That means a lot—to trust that instinct. We know our bodies. We need to trust ourselves.
What's the one thing you can't live without?
Obviously, my children and my husband. But really, I feel like I have it all. I have a really fulfilling work life. I get to do this [birth advocacy] work that I love. That part of my career makes my life so much more meaningful. And it all comes from the births of my two children. You know, sometimes I even drag my kids to one of our [Business of Being Born] events—we call them "vagina rallies" [laughs]—and they'll say, "Ugh, are we going to another vagina rally?" It comes full circle.
Finish this sentence: You know you're in the Baby Zone when...
… you're gearing up to go another vagina rally—and doing so happily!