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Ricki Lake: I Can Do Anything After Giving Birth

09/24/2012 at 01:00 PM ET
Mark Savage/Startraks

Her babies have turned into big boys — Milo is 15 and Owen is 11 — but Ricki Lake is still reaping the benefits of giving birth.

“That high is something I will never forget. The feeling that, ‘If I can do this, I can do anything,’ has stayed with me through the years,” The Ricki Lake Show host, 44, tells Scholastic Parent & Child in their October issue.

“I’ve gotten through a really difficult divorce, I’ve taken all these steps in my career, and I did Dancing with the Stars, which was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done!”

According to Lake — who went on to film The Business of Being Born, a documentary on natural childbirth — witnessing her body perform after being pushed to its limits was a journey she is forever grateful to have taken.

“Truly, you feel empowered and strong. It’s a gift,” she says. “It’s a gift I was able to give to myself and to my little boy who feels very special that he was brought into the world the way he was.”

Nearly eight years ago, her newfound strength was a necessity; The mother-of-two packed her bags — and her boys — and moved across the country.

“After living through Sept. 11 in Manhattan and having two small children — my kids were 6 and 2 in 2004 — I really felt like I needed to change things up for my mental health,” she explains.

“I ended my marriage and my talk show and in many ways, I started over. It was a real turning point.”

Eventually Lake met and married husband Christian Evans — the two tied the knot in April — and the foursome have had no trouble settling in together as a family.

“My kids love him. He is an angel that has come into our lives, not just for me in that I’ve found this beautiful partner, but also as an amazing role model for my sons,” she explains, adding her three main men “get along beautifully.”

Now with her fresh start, Lake — who returns to television with her new talk show premiering Sept. 10 — is soaking up all the special time she spends with her sons. “I still read with my 11-year-old — I love it,” she shares.

“It’s late at night when he’s going to bed and unfortunately I only get through a few pages before he’s snoring on my shoulder, but it is that quiet time that I really love, and I feel like he is still a baby to me.”

But while he may still feel like her baby boy, Lake is determined Owen — and his brother — learn the ways of the world and the benefits of giving back to others.

Courtesy Scholastic Parent and Child

“I want them to be in touch with the real world and to be able to see themselves as just two of the billions of people on this planet,” Lake explains.

Over the summer her sons traveled to Malawi where they helped in building a house for a family in need — and the proud mama says the time spent overseas was well worth it.

“Volunteer work is incredible for kids who are growing up rather privileged and need to really get a sense of the world, the big picture,” Lake says.

“Their trip to Africa changed something inside them forever; and they will always carry that experience.”

– Anya Leon

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Showing 28 comments

lovely123 on

“One of the toughest things I have ever done…” try serving in the military for 4 years and getting a divorce (from your cheating piece of $% husband) while your in-laws watch your kids. Then let’s discuss some of the toughest things a person has to deal with.

SomeoneSomewhere on

“I have ever done” …not you, not me, not everyone else – her personally.

No need to be so vocal with the bitterness.

kitkat on

wow loveley123 bitter much? I mean seriously it sounds like you have had a horrible experience, but she was talking of her own experience and she didnt say that was the toughest experience anyone can go through..she is entitled to her tough moments and to not be judged on whose moments were toughest.

Kate on

geez ricki lake, get over yourself. your “documentary” was a long time ago. desiring a medicated hospital birth does not make someone uneducated or misinformed, why do you feel it is your life’s mission to make women feel the exact same way you do about childbirth??

meghan on

God this woman annoys.

Jennifer on

I have to agree with Kate. I mean, YAY for her. She had a natural birth and feels like Wonder Woman because of it. Congrats to her. Yes, it is a great accomplishment and one she should be proud of, but good grief. She’s done not one, but two documentaries on the subject and I guess she’s gonna keep riding the wave of her unmedicated birth high until her kid graduates college? She needs to find a new accomplishment to feel fulfilled by. Like, um, raising her child and not just pushing it out.

Lovely123– please get some counseling.

sunny on

Ricki Lake, I watched your business of being born and I enjoyed it! I too had unmedicated home births, 3 to be exact. My first in 1998, the second in 2002 and my third in 2008. I’d like to talk to you about them some time.

Marky on

I am happy for anyone whose childbirth experience was thrilling for them. May I say, though, and this is a fact…that baby will come out just fine without pushing, freaking out, screaming or ripping your clothes off and yelling, “I’m greater than anyone else because I did it THIS way!”. Babies will deliver with no pushing, if mom is relaxed and calm; I’ve seen it plenty of times. There needs to be respect for other people’s choices, and all of us are more than one experience, amazing as it is.

lovely123 on

Someone and Kit, “bitter much” comment”? Seriously, yes, I am a “little” bitter. While I was busting my butt in a foreign country putting a roof over our heads my husband was playing house with our kids and someone else. Bitter yes, mad – you betcha! Take your judgement elsewhere. You can thank me later for your child’s freedom.

Katie on

Amen, Lovely!!! Hopefully you are much better now.

MrsGordo on

“It’s a gift I was able to give to myself and to my little boy who feels very special that he was brought into the world the way he was.” I seriously don’t understand this attitude. She may have given herself a gift, but what has the little boy gained? He doesn’t remember his birth either way, and unless his mother told him he wouldn’t even know what went down. There are plenty of things to make a child feel special for – the unique person they are being pretty high on the list – and the way they were birthed over a decade ago probably isn’t important to anyone but the mother. It’s nice that Ricki feels good about what she did, so yay for her, but seriously, it’s nothing her kid needs to feel pride or shame for because it really had nothing to do with him.

Tee Tee on

I don’t think Ricki is bragging or trying to convince people to do things her way. I think she sees that so many women here in America do not understand the choices they have in the way they give birth and that’s she’s doing her best to educate people. Nothing wrong with that. For the record, I love the work she’s done to promote natural birth!

Lovely123, I very much appreciate the sacrifices that you’ve given for our country. I’m sorry that your husband was unfaithful and that you had to be separated from your kids for so long. I certainly can’t imagine how hard that must have been. But I don’t really see what that has to do with Ricki’s interview. She clearly used the word “I” not “we as women.” She wasn’t talking down to other women about their choices, she was just sharing her own feelings.

meghan on

Is that why you complained, acted needy and never let an episode go by without mentioning your body image hangups throughout your season of DWTS? Because you are brimming with confidence and can-do attitude that comes with a natural childbirth ELEVEN YEARS AGO??

Also great way to act like your ex husband isn’t involved with his sons. Just lovely. She is the only contestant on DWTS that I was a fan of and completey soured on by their appearance on the show. She is incredibly insecure and her talking about empowerment is a joke.

Jen on

Lovely, I thank you for your service. From a family with more than one person who served, it is no picnic offering oneself up on the alter of their Country. We are women, our choices are never easy. God bless you and your family. Love you Ms. Lake, too.

JM on

lovely123, correct me if i’m wrong but no one made you join the military did they? i don’t ask anyone to serve on my behalf but i also don’t fall fawning at their feet when they mention that they chose a life in the military.

are others supposed to go through life never feeling any sense of accomplishment just because you chose a path that you find hard? it’s not our fault your husband cheated on you. it’s a horrible thing to have happen to you and i am sorry it did, but you can’t take that anger out on others. especially if they let you carry a weapon. just saying…

lovely123 on

Glad to see the Stay at Home Moms Club is alive and well. You women are crazy. The lady (Lovely) said her husband cheated on her. I am sure she did not choose the path of having a cheating husband on purpose. She has even served, which is more than I can say for myself. She sounds like she is handling things well. Take it easy with the judgments and get a part time job.

Anonymous on

I had three babies 2 with drugs and the last without. I don’t really understand her comment about feeling like she could do anything after giving birth med free. I think anyone(excluding medical reasons, like c-sections) can, we just choose not to for whatever reason, and does it really matter anyways?The point of labour is getting a baby, not how much pain you were or were not in. Nor do I think its a gift to my child. What difference does it make to the baby? lol I feel like i’m missing something here and its strange because i’ve expirenced both types of labour and I can honestly say that for me it was the same. I got a beautiful healthy baby and really what more can a mom ask for?

JM on

lol, i love it when that happens. and angry person shows themselves up by trying to create a fake supporter. didn’t really work too well for you did it ‘lovely123’? (watch as she now disappears from this thread in embarrasment)

seriously though lovely123, you are painting a pretty ugly picture of yourself here. it isn’t healthy to carry around this much anger directed at people who have done nothing to you. just a piece of advice you might want to consider because there really are people who can help you get through this kind of thing and come out a better person.

not that i should have to say this, but i am not a stay at home mum (not that there is anything wrong with that at all). i went to university, have a respectable job, a wonderful marriage and take good care of my kids. i don’t expect anyone to bow down before me because of that because those are all things i chose and worked hard for. it’s my life and i’m responsible for it.

BurtReynolds on

Having actually watched her doc, I would argue that it’s not necessarily having NCB or meds or whatever, but being an empowered/educated patient and mom. She didn’t have a pleasant experience with her first birth and went on to change it by exploring her options and getting support to do so. When you are successful with that it trickles down into the rest of your life as it seems to have done with her. I think what she’s done is great. Got it’s like birth, breastfeeding, vaccinations, etc and people just get so offended. As long as we are happy with our decisions who the hell cares what someone else does?

meghan on

JM, you are being really petty and childish.

JM on

meghan, i’m sorry but i am all up for a rational, fair debate, but when someone starts out with such an aggressive and cynical tone and then uses petty techniques to strengthen their point, i think they lose all credibility.

people are entitled to feel whatever they want, but lovely123 was extremely antagonistic and unreasonable from the beginning. it is possible to disagree with someone and not become aggressive in the way lovely123 did.

incidentally meghan, i don’t think you could call my first post childish. if you were referring to my second post then that was the point that i realised this person was merely being spiteful for the sake of it and was not interested in any kind of rational discussion but just in justifying her vitriol. i think that makes my response a little bit more understandable.

meghan on

JM, try ignoring them.

Leslie on

Take your own advice, Meg’s.

Debbie on

Lovely 123
I understand yr angry. I would be frigging mad also. You bust and risk yr life and yr ex the scum is cheating. Omg I understand your anger and you have to go through it. You will heal and women here need to understand u more. It’s tough to go through a divorce and you will vent for while, I wish u my happiness in the future and you will find love and someone who treats u like the woman you are.

poppykai on

I get really annoyed by people (especially celebrities) who try to “educate” others that an unmedicated home birth is the best for both mother and baby! I had a very uncomplicated pregnancy (great candidate for homebirth) and chose to deliver in a hospital. Thank God I did, because after the birth I had a severe hemorhage and needed a blood transfusion to save my life. If Ricki Lake wants to tell me I am uneducated for choosing an option that happened to save my life then she is an absolute bafoon. My empowerment from giving birth comes from the fact that both myself and my children are alive, healthy and happy.

RKF on

@lovely123 – If you’re looking for pity, see a Psychiatrist, as every person on this planet has issues, yet you apparently feel your issues are more important. This is not an article about YOU, nor is it the place to air bitterness about your life choices. And joining the military *is* a choice. Secondarily, you lost all credibility when you wrote a post supporting yourself, not realizing your attempt at disguising your name didn’t work.

JM on

meghan when i see someone lash out at others for no reason i tend to stand up and say something. i just think it’s right. otherwise people will continue to think they can get away with it.

Ali, Sr. on

I had my 4 children with “natural childbirth”. I am “chicken”, I swear, but my parent’s were an OB/GYN & a midwife. I knew the beauty of a healthy birth, the tragedy of a BAD INTERVENTION & the tragedy of NOT GETTING MEDICAL INTERVENTION IF NEEDED. We need knowledge to make the best decisions & flexibility to realize pregnancy & childbirth change with every breath we take, OUR PLANS NEED TO BE FLEXIBLE !!! Surround yourself with the best professionals available, meet them to know what their attitude is towards childbirth. Remember patients have the right to REFUSE, at any time, what is done to them. Natural childbirth gave my husband an admiration & respect for me that was totally unexpected, an added bonus. GIVING MY BABIES THE BEST POSSIBLE START IN LIFE WAS MY MOTIVATION.

Happy to have been able to do it-I am still a chicken.-it is OK to panic as a first reaction, then stop yourself & don’t forget to breathe…trust me, it works. :) :) :) :)

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