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James Van Der Beek Introduces Daughter Olivia

12/20/2010 at 03:00 PM ET

When it came time to choose their daughter Olivia‘s name, James Van Der Beek‘s wife Kimberly says she left it all up to him. “I gave him full naming power,” she laughs. “But she did throw that one in my lap,” the actor notes. “We wanted her to come out and then see what her name would be.”

The couple welcomed their baby girl on Sept. 25 and the former Dawson’s Creek star tells PEOPLE he picked the name because, “she looked like an Olivia.” In addition, “there’s an olive tree in Israel that’s special to us,” he explains. Adds Kimberly, “We spent time under it when we first met in Israel, then we went back to this tree when I was pregnant.”

Marc Cartwright

When it comes to divvying up duties for their 3-month-old daughter — who has Mom’s hair and Dad’s eyes — James is an expert swinger but admits his wife is “a much better breastfeeder than I am.”

And he’s found solace in the “best advice” he’s received thus far — that babies don’t break as easily as you think. “That helps me to be a lot less nervous,” he notes. “I am calmer and then the baby picks up on the energy.”

And while Kimberly, a business consultant, describes her pregnancy as “very smooth,” she says labor and delivery was a different story.

“It was four and a half hours of pushing,” she recalls. “I was going for no drugs, but after pushing for two and a half hours, I was like, ‘Okay.’ I was dilated to nine for a few hours and I wasn’t going any further — she switched her position at the last minute and wasn’t coming up from under my pelvic bone.”

“We were one of those couples who was all about natural birth. We had the right doctor, we had the right doula and the right nurse at the hospital,” James, 33, explains. “Kimberly did it as naturally as she could, but at the end of the day we were very glad we were in the hospital.”

Finally, their daughter made her debut — with a little help from a vacuum. “The labor was tough,” Kimberly, 28, admits, “but you forget about it the second they put her in your arms.”

– Mia McNiece

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Showing 67 comments

momof boys on

what a lovely family. It’s sweet how they chose her name.

Mommy of 2 on

what a beautiful picture and a wonderfully honest story! even though she wanted a natural birth she realized stuff happens!! But they ended up with a beautiful little girl!!! Love her name!!

p.s. kimberley is gorgous!!!

klutzy_girl on

Oh my God, so cute!

Nella on

Olivia is a little cutie. I love the story behind her name. It’s too bad that they didn’t experience the birthing process like they wanted to, but at least no one was hurt and she’s here safely and that’s the most important in the end.

Mallory on

I appreciate people who are willing to admit “Hey, we wanted a natural birth, but stuff happened, and it was better for us to get a little help.” Some people I know act like you’re less of a mother if you can’t manage to do it without drugs.

Olivia is absolutely adorable!!! I love her name, and that family picture just warms my heart. :)

Mel on

They are a beautiful family..

Kristin on

Oh my, little Olivia is just precious! I love that she’s already wearing a Kabbalah string! I didn’t realize James and Kimberly were so spiritual but the backstory on the name is very sweet and I’m sure Olivia will love to hear it some day.

fuzibuni on

aw she looks like such a sweet and calm baby. what a pretty face!

I appreciate that they shared their birth story and were so honest about it. I also dig that they seem to have Olivia in a cloth diaper… it’s great to see more and more people going that route :)

Manal on

are they Jewish?

Angel on

She’s adorable!

Brooke on

She is a little chub-bub….Adorable.

Lola on

GORGEOUS family!!!!

Shannon on

What a nice looking family. His wife looks like an actress who used to be on Melrose Place. lol

Mindy on

Does anyone know what baby Olivia is wearing? Is that a cloth diaper cover or a printed diaper?

Ari on

Mazel Tov to the family! What a lovely and meaningful story about the olive tree in Israel. Very special! The family photo is absolute sweetness and Olivia is a beauty!!

Jill on

What a beautiful little girl! I love the story behind her name. I love names that have meanings.

Karen on

Cuuuute!

azzy on

oh look at those pretty lips…!She’s gonna have the sweetest smile…

Suzie on

Oh my gosh what a gorgeous family that lil sweetie is so cute& chubby, parents are gorgoeous too.I am so happy for them very nice story about Olive tree and her name too.Special.

Bancie1031 on

Awe Olivia is such a cutie and I think she looks just like her mom! Kimberly is absolutely gorgeous! James, Kimberly and Olivia are all beautiful …. and they have a beautiful family …. I think he did good at picking out his daughter’s name.

Louise on

kimberly might be one of the most beautiful women i’ve ever seen

sky on

having gone through forceps and clamps and hours of pushing, you do not forget the minute the baby is born – those memories are recorded in your brain. cute baby. i trust the bracelet is a prop not something olivia wears at that age as strings are not baby friendly.

CelebBabyLover on

What a cutie!

Ashley on

Oh such a cute baby :) Congrats to the family!

Caitlyn on

To those asking about the diaper..I think it’s just a little diaper cover, like bloomers or something :)

Jen on

What a lovely family! Congrats to them all. They seem like very nice, down to earth people too. Beautiful baby Olivia… welcome to the world, and best wishes to you and your Mama and Daddy!

ingrid on

cute family :-)

wow, 4 1/2 hours of pushing.. poor thing! i was glad both my kids came out after only 5 minutes of pushing each ;-)

katie on

They are Kabbalist. And I agree, they are a beautiful little family.

molly on

What a gorgeous family!! ( big fan of Dawson Creek) Kimberly is such a good looking women! is she an actress i live in Austalia and never heard of her. Wish them all the best

Natasha on

My mom’s name is Olivia and I was planning on naming my second daughter after her. James and Kim’s baby is so beautiful, love the eyes.

Casey on

That is a great family pic…. she is adorable…. im happy for the whole family

lacey on

Love this picture..she is just precious! and i also Love her Cloth Diaper..<3

tink1217 on

beautiful baby!!! Gorgeous family!!!

Kristin on

Molly, it says she’s a consultant. Very cute baby!

Anonymous on

Does anyone know what baby Olivia is wearing? Is that a cloth diaper cover or a printed diaper?

shirabee on

wow! she is a gorgeous baby! and that is one good looking family! sky- that is probably not a “prop”. i am jewish and although not a kabbalist, when i was a baby my grandparents made sure red bendels (string) were attached to either me or anything i was in. the crib, carseat etc…

Tina on

Very cute baby. Best Wishes!

Terri on

Beautiful family!

Casey on

What a cute baby! beautiful name as well.

Anonymous – it’s probably just a diaper cover. they come with dresses to match the dress, they look like a pair of panties basically. you can also buy them seperately at different online stores

Isabelle on

congradulations on the new baby ;0)
merry christmas and a happy new yr to the new parents ;0)

Angela on

Congrats to the happy couple.

Lola on

Sky: It is actually a traditional Kabbalah bracelet made of string – the string collects any negative energy surrounding the person wearing it (thus protecting them) and when it’s soaked up all the energy it can withstand, it falls off. I wouldn’t worry too much about the baby wearing it. I think it’s beautiful.

Isabelle: I believe “Happy Hanukkah” is the more appropriate festive phrase regarding the family. Not to sound mean, but not everyone celebrates Christmas…

Lynn on

Cute baby with a normal name-most celebrities name their children such odd names it’s nice to hear a celebrity gave their baby a name that she can grow up with and not be made fun of.

Lucie on

This is one of the most attractive families I’ve ever seen. Not only are they all gorgeous, but they seem so happy and peaceful. I love Olivia’s name, and am glad they have a special meaning to it. She’s going to be a stunner when she grows up!

Cici on

Lola, if Isabelle is a Christian then she should say Merry Christmas. She’s not trying to convert anyone but is wishing someone well on a day that is important to Christians. My Jewish friends wish me a Happy Hannahkah and I don’t get offended or think that they’re trying to convert me or that they’re unaware that not everyone is Jewish. People sending well wishes during important religious holidays that they themselves celebrate is beautiful. I think you need to spend more time with people of different faiths so you wouldn’t be so hostile toward their feelings.

I love how they picked the name Olivia. It’s almost harder to pick such a popular name today because everyone jumps on you for being trendy, but it’s a lovely name.

Sus on

I agree with Cici. I always wish people Merry Christmas as I am a Christian and am celebrating Jesus’ birthday. :)

This is a beautiful family. I hope James enjoys fatherhood! I, too, watched him back in his Dawson’s Creek days.

JS on

Cici and Sus: it really is not fair to characterize Lola’s comment as “hostile.” To me it seems like her comment was posted in the most polite way possible; she is simply pointing out her opinion that wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” is not completely sensitive to all religious views. Obviously you disagree with that opinion. Please recognize that just because someone disagrees with your opinion does not necessarily make them rude or a bad person. We all should respect each other’s right to have an opinion on something. Please don’t put words in someone else’s mouth – Lola never said she felt that “Merry Christmas” comments are from people who are trying to convert others to Christianity.

That said: I believe that it makes no sense for anyone of any religion to make religious comments to a perfect stranger. Why? Because you cannot assume that person has the same beliefs as you. And yes, I believe that does actually matter. There is a fine line between appreciating the holidays of other people, sharing in their joy and perhaps helping them celebrate their holidays…. and then actually celebrating a holiday personally. I believe that line should be respected. What if a Chinese person wished you “Happy Chinese New Year,” or an African American person wished someone who is Caucasian “Happy Kwanzaa”… what is the difference in that scenario? Would you expect someone Chinese to wish you a happy Chinese new year? Probably not, right? You’d be pretty surprised. How is that different from our topic of debate?

Or, what if you were talking on the phone with someone in India, and it happened to be around July 4th? Would you wish them “Happy 4th of July”?? Of course not. It’s not THEIR holiday, it’s OURS.

So why wish a Merry Christmas to a stranger? How do you know that he or she celebrates Christmas? You don’t!

In the true Christian spirit, I think it is worth it to consider the feelings of those who do not share your own personal religious beliefs. Especially if they are strangers to you.

And there are other holidays from other religions and cultures that are celebrated around Christmas time, not just in Judaism.

JS on

I agree with Lola.

Lola on

Cici: I don’t believe I was commenting to you — and for the record, you have no idea what faith I even am — now YOU are the one making religious assumptions. Ha! Next time, do us all a favor and try not to look like a fool.

CelebBabyLover on

sky- I’m sure Kimberly didn’t mean she literaly forgot the pain the moment Olivia was born. I think all she meant was that, when you hold that baby in your arms, you feel that all that pain was worth it, and that you wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again! Maybe someone else can explain better.

MTB on

They look wonderful together.

steph on

Here’s the thing JS: if you’re in a country that celebrates a particular event then a person has every right to wish others well on that day. If you were to say to me “Happy 4th July” I wouldn’t be offended, I’d smile and say thanks even though it is not something I celebrate. It’s a sad indictment on our society if people think that its insensitive to wish others well if they don’t share the same holiday! What happened to common sense? Would you get p***ed off if someone said “Bless you” after you sneezed?! Its called being polite and its actually a GOOD thing for people to share the spirit of these celebrations :)

Sus on

When a friend or coworker is celebrating a particular holiday, I am absolutely going to be polite and would ask “How was your Hanukkah?”.
But I don’t think it is being rude or inconsiderate if I happen to say “Merry Christmas” to my African American or Jewish friends or even total strangers. I can’t assume they celebrate Christmas and I can’t assume they do NOT. What THEY can assume is that I am a proud Christian. :)

lizzielui on

Sus, why would you assume your African American friends don’t celebrate Christmas? Like others in this country, African Americans are also Christians and celebrate Christmas.

Lola on

Sus and Steph: There’s a reason for the term “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” — it encompasses any and all holidays that people may celebrate (just in case neither of you were familiar with it..), and I think I speak for everyone when I say that it’s best to simply use that term, rather than the term that only applies to you and your religious beliefs. Otherwise, you’re really just making yourselves look ignorant and as though you have no desire to learn or even inquire about holidays and beliefs other than your own. I don’t think Jesus would approve..

Lola on

Happy belated Hanukkah to SUS and STEPH! L’chaim!

Jill on

Cici and Sus, I agree with you and follow that philosophy as well!

Lola…..Isabelle wasnt talking to you, but you had no problems inserting yourself. So don’t cut up Cici for doing what you did.

Sus on

I’m not sure if my post is being misunderstood or if people on this board are just wanting to put me in the category of this “judgmental Christian”.

You can crucify ME all you want for wanting to wish others a Merry Christmas on Christ’s birthday but I will continue to celebrate. :)
I will also continue to be respect of others and their holiday traditions.

Merry Christmas to all!

steph on

Really Lola?? I’m ignorant because I wish strangers a merry Christmas?? Do you actually go around to people every day and ask them if they’re celebrating something that day just to prove you’re not ignorant? What a weird thing to say! I am in no way ignorant of other people’s celebrations, like I said if someone were to wish me well on a holiday I don’t celebrate I’d say thanks.

And you know what, saying “Happy Holidays” is not the same, nor is it better. Some people aren’t on holidays, some people don’t take the day off therefore according to your logic that term would also be offensive. It is so stupid that people would think wishing others well is offensive, in fact it is ignorant of YOU to say that. I’d much rather live in my country where people can freely smile and wish each other well without fear some fool will get ‘offended’ than in your country where you obviously get upset that someone tells you they hope you have a nice day!

Lola on

steph: You’re being very rude – I wished you a Happy Hanukkah and THAT’S what you have to say in return? So much for living in a country where you can freely wish people well, huh? Please save yourself some time, energy, and humiliation, and THINK before you write, lest you should look like a hypocrite.

steph on

Nope Lola, what I wrote was not in response to you wishing me Happy Hanukkah but rather the previous post you wrote.

As for wishing me happy hannukkah thank you very much, but it also proves my point: I’m a stranger, you don’t know my religious beliefs yet you wished me well. In my book that’s great, what was being said previously was that it was offensive for you to do so as you don’t know if I celebrate hanukkah or not. Thankyou for proving my point!

Jack on

Seriously people?? This article is about a celebrity baby. Take the act elsewhere.

Jessica on

I went to school With Kim and she is such a sweet person so happy for the both of you!

Stef on

That baby got all of the good stuff from both parents! She is so beautiful!!

Also, I think it’s great how they started out trying to go natural but realized it was ok to get help. Natural childbirth works for some people but not for others.

jen on

omg! how does everything turn into a religious debate!!!!!!????????

Rose on

What a beautiful family :)

lovemybabygirl on

Had my baby girl on September 25th also love her birthdate!!

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