Brooke Smith talks about her 78-hour labor with daughter Fanny

05/22/2008 at 11:06 AM ET

Brooke_smith_79283255cbbjpgActress Brooke Smith joined the women of The View today, and co-host Joy Behar couldn’t help asking the 41-year-old about her decision not to have an epidural when she gave birth to daughter Fanny, 5.

J: Now what is up with the fact that you were in 72 hours of labor and turned down an epidural. Why?

B: I don’t know what my point was.  78 by the way.  I just figured women have been giving birth for a long time. And I survived and recovered like that [snaps fingers].

Brooke and her husband, Russian cinematographer Steve Lubensky, recently welcomed their second daughter, Lucy Dinknesh, 7 months.

Source: The View; Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for L’Oreal.

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sarah on

I’ve always loved Brooke Smith, and am happy to hear that she’s welcomed her second child. And 78 hours of labor – wow!

One thing I will say, though – just as women have been having babies for a long time, methods for pain relief in labor also have a long history. Midwives were sometimes accused of being witches because they sought to relieve the pain of childbirth. So attempts to make labor less painful are not a modern intervention.

I just wanted to throw that out there. Every woman has to decide what is best for herself, and both decisions (pain relief/no pain relief) are valid. It just depends on the person.

Stephany on

Wow, 78 hours?! That’s insane. I’ve never heard of a labor that long. My mom was in labor for less than 2 hours with both my brother and me. I hope that happens to me.

kristen on

I think it’s a shame that women have to defend not having an epidural. Although it is a great opportunity to discuss/promote natural childbirth. I was in labor for 18 hours with no medication and it was a snap for me. She’s quite the trooper for going 78!

cwtsh on

I had a 73 hour labour, and did it all with a TENS machine and a little gas and air in the last stages of pushing as well. Didn’t tear, and snapped back straight away. I’m proud of myself for that, as Brooke should be as well.

I agree with kristen about having to defend NOT having an epidural – the one question I had afterwards was whether I had an epidural or not and then why I didn’t, some people even said I was silly not to!

amandamay on

while i agree that no one should have to defend their birthing choices, i do get a little tired of hearing women who had no epidural/natural delivery etc brag about it as if they are somehow “better” or “tougher” than those who don’t. i had an emergency c-section so i didn’t have to make those kinds of choices…. but i find the self-congratulatory attitudes a bit rude. when i did go into labor, my water broke and i immediately (within seconds) started having contractions every 2 minutes (there was no build up) and was rushed to hospital. if i hadn’t had the emergency c-section i definitely would have had an epidural (although i had planned for a completely natural birth) as the pain was beyond excruciating. every woman’s body is built DIFFERENTLY internally. the women in my family have tiny inner pelvis’/birthing canals and the pain for most the women in my family in childbirth has been horrifying (and we are some tough ladies!) on the other hand my friend has had 3 children at home, had to push less than 3 times to get each out and had practically no pain.. does this mean she’s tougher than i am? no, it means her body is built differently and it didn’t hurt her as much. women who don’t need pain meds aren’t necessarily “tougher” than those who choose pain meds. some women experience much more pain than others. so please get off your high horses and just appreciate the fact that you gave birth and made it through 🙂 all mothers rock!

Ash on


It doesn’t sound like anyone here is up on a high horse. Brooke Smith and some of the above posters simply mentioned that they didn’t have an epidural… big deal. They weren’t trying to make you or anyone else feel bad. My mom didn’t have drugs with either of her deliveries, and it’s something she’s talked about for years. That’s her right.

Melanie F. on

Wow 78 hours of labor? I had all four of my children without any meds. Starting from the first contraction to the final push, none were over a few minutes over 2 hrs but I seriously doubt I could have went 78 hours of labor without any meds. Having no meds was not by choice either!!!! LOL

Rebecca on

I know that I’m very proud of my natural labor with my youngest because whenever people hear about how big she was at birth (9 lbs 13 oz, 22 inches) they automatically assume I had a c-section. It’s really annoying to say, “No, I had a vaginal delivery” and then have them say, “Oh, so you had the epidural?” Then I say, “No, I delivered her without drugs.” (Though when I hit transition I wanted them, she was out less than 5 hours after the first contraction, so my labor was fast and hard!) I get comments on how I must have been ripped from front to back, and I wasn’t, I tore very slightly, didn’t need stitches (which is amazing because my OB with my first daughter cut me twice, even though I told him I didn’t want an episiotomy. His excuse? My daughter was 7 lbs 15 oz, I needed to be cut to deliver a baby “that big.”) To me, it’s not about bragging, it’s about putting to rest stupid assumptions about birth and labor.

Sami on

My mom had a labor about that long, too, and she delivered me naturally. I was afraid my labor would be the same, but luckily it was only 16 hours long, and only the last 3 were bad. I had a natural delivery but those three hours were horrible. If I ever have another baby I think I will get a epidural.

lou on

You generally find women who get angry about others speaking about not having an epidural have a chip on their shoulder from having one themselves.

Ruthella on

Good for Brooke! Whether other agree with this or not, I have had three drug-free labours (both of my sons were 9lb 9oz) and I am very proud of myself!

Just as I am proud of myself for breastfeeding (though I HATED it) and for giving up my career to be a full time parent. This doesn’t mean I look down on parents who haven’t made those choices, it simply means I am proud of myself for making them for my family.

Incidentally, there are no epidurals where I live anyway, so it wasn’t a tough decision to make 😉

amandamay on

lou – i didn’t have an epidural (i said so in my post)

and i don’t have a chip on my shoulder. i just find that women who had a natural delivery tend to act as if they are somehow “better” for going that route. my opinion, which i think i’m entitled to.

Nat on

Lou – i totally agree with you!
Amandamay – Why shouldn’t we be ‘self-congratulatory’ as you so sweetly put it?
Why shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves and our bodies for going though labour with no medication? Are atheletes proud of themselves when they win a race? Of course they are!
The majority of women are not telling you this because they want to rub your nose in it, but are because they are proud of themselves. And rightly so. Every birth is different, if you need drugs, fine, if not, equally fine!

BB on

to Ruthella: you were proud of something you HATED? that’s odd.