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Busy Philipps Says Birdie ‘Made My Career’

10/24/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Jason Merritt/Getty

Forget Dawson’s Creek and Cougar TownBusy Philipps‘ greatest career move was none other than the birth of her daughter Birdie Leigh in Aug. 2008.

“I only became a celebrity because I had a kid. Before I was pregnant nobody cared,” the actress, 31, tells Babble.

“My husband has a theory that celebrity gossip feels so seedy, but if you can put a positive spin on it, like touting a new baby, then people somehow feel it’s okay. I joke to my agent that having a baby made my career.”

Unfortunately for Philipps, her increasing popularity comes with a price: public criticism. And although she “would like to say, ‘Oh no, I don’t even pay attention,’” the first-time mother admits the negativity can take its toll.

“Right after Birdie was born, I consciously tried not to look at what people were saying, [but] a relative forwarded me a link to people saying, ‘The name Birdie is stupid’ and ‘What a terrible made-up name,’” she recalls.

“First of all, she’s named after Lady Bird Johnson, and second of all, it’s not a made-up name; it’s an old-timey name … They use it on Mad Men for God sakes!”

Choosing to see the positive side of her celebrity status, Philipps hopes becoming a mother — and opening up about natural childbirth — will inspire women when it comes to choosing a birth plan.

“It’s hard talking about it because it sounds like I’m taking away from how sacred it was. It was an incredible experience,” Philipps reveals. “I also want other women to know it’s possible to have a crazy, spiritual, amazing birth in a hospital. I was in a hospital. I had a doctor.”

But, adds the proud mama, it was Philipps herself who essentially helped deliver her daughter!

“I don’t know what I thought was going to happen beforehand, but I was completely squatting and after my doctor got [Birdie's] head and shoulders out, she asked, ‘Do you want to pull your baby out? Give me your hands,’” she shares.

“I didn’t even know my midwife took this picture of me with my hands pulling my daughter out and then right onto my chest.”

Determined to go the same route with her future children, Philipps admits the experience of natural childbirth left her with a new found sense of power. “During the days and weeks afterward, I felt like I could do anything in the world; there was nothing in this world that you could present before me that I could not conquer,” she says.

“[Natural childbirth] is not for everyone. I totally respect that. The best thing for your baby is the best thing for you. I have some friends who feel really strongly about an epidural and I’m 100 percent behind that, but that was not my plan.”

– Anya Leon

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Showing 22 comments

selene on

I really like Busy, she is so normal and fun. I would love to spend a day with her baking cakes and drinking wine.

She is brilliant on Cougar Town, so adorable.

I love her on twitter, she is hilarious.

I saw her on Jimmy Kimmel I think it was and she was joking about Birdie’s name saying she will be the first Jewish country singer with a name like Birdie Leigh Silverstein.

amw on

i love the name birdie. its charming and whimsical.

i love that she was able to have a natural childbirth experience and that she tries to provide her daughter with safe, eco-friendly toys (wood, etc). she also seems to have a healthy dose of reality that her choices arent for everyone and that she has to be flexible even on herself as a mom. i remember reading that birdie wanted plastic disney toys after seeing all the princess stuff her friends had. she seems like a down-to-earth mom who is providing a great environment for her child.

dont read that negative garbage from people who are jealous, or too afraid to embrace diversity. do what you want and what works for you and let others opinions roll off your back.

HeatherR on

I’m not a big fan of unusual first names, but I think the name Birdie is adorable :)

I also think Busy seems like a lot of fun! I too would love to hang out with her for the day :)

SadieA on

I like the name Birdie even more because her mom’s name is Busy. They go well together, I think it’s cute!

Charity on

I love Busy on Cougar Town! I’m going to have to find her on Twitter.

While I don’t think I’d choose Birdie for a name, it suits her and it isn’t a made up name like some of the other celeb baby names.

Shannon on

Why would a relative send her a link like that? Weird!

Betsy on

I really like Busy too. I always thought she was so cool in Freaks and Geeks. I wanted a natural spiritual amazing childbirth and thought I would surely have one- but alas had a c section! So no matter how we plan to birth, some of us don’t get that. But I am glad she did! I am not bitter about my birth too much.

Jill on

Busy is a nickname, not her real name

JM on

i don’t like the name birdie at all. it sounds so kitschy and tacky. although i love the double standards here yet again. how is birdie any better than egypt? i also think it’s funny how she defends the name choice by saying her real name is Lady Bird johnson, that’s even more ridiculous! oh, and on Mad men they use it as a nickname for someone called Betty or Elisabeth…

Catca on

Birdie is not an old-timey name, it’s an old-timey nickname. Having said that, it is rather cute.

MiB on

@JM, I think you read the piece a bit too fast, Birdie is named after Lady Bird Johnson :-)

ab on

also @JM – did you know that busy’s real name is elizabeth? I think it’s cute she named her daughter birdie.

Jill on

jm never said her real name was busy…..someone else did.

Brooke on

I ADORE the name Birdie…It has always been one of my faves….

brannon on

Love the name Birdie (says mommy of Minnie :) Hate when people need to defend their name choices.

Alice on

Well JM, maybe Birdie is “better” than Egypt simply because more people like it / find it cute? How is that a double standard? People have different tastes in names that’s all. I for one love the name Birdie, it’s so cute!

A name does not really matter anyway, whatever you call your child, people’s initial reaction may be different but their friends/teachers etc will just get used to it and not think about the name anymore.

megan on

“First of all, she’s named after Lady Bird Johnson”

Her real name was Claudia, though. You’d think she’d do research before running around saying that.

alice jane on

Why should Busy have to do research to defend her name choice? So the name she chose for her daughter came from another woman’s nickname. I don’t like every celebrity baby name I see posted here, but the parents still reserve the right to name their kid what they want. Not to mention, every name in the world was made up at some point.

CelebBabyLover on

megan- Busy never claimed that Lady Bird was Mrs. Johnson’s actual first name. I’m sure she knows it was a nickname. :)

Tee on

I’m so glad to see a celebrity speak out about natural birth. While doctors and technology certainly have their place in childbirth and have saved lives, I firmly believe that most woman could have a natural birth with no problems. It’s so awesome that she got to pull the baby out herself! My sister births at home and her last baby was over 11 pounds… sunny side up with no tearing. If she can do it, anyone can! I respect the fact that women have the right to choose, certainly, but I do wish more women would do their research before having a baby.

Terri on

Busy and Birdie kind of go together. Never figured her for a LAdy Bird Johnson fan, but cool. And I love her birthing story, though it kind of scared me.

cj on

It’s also a nickname for Bernadette (as used in Hope Floats)
It’s different & cute, better than apple, moses or sparrow, haha.
Regardless: it was HER choice!

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