25 Famous Women on How Crazy It Is to Give Birth

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We’re hearing more about the crazy realities of childbirth than ever before, thanks to a variety of social-media platforms and the arrival of so many celebabies over the past two years. New moms like Serena Williams, Beyoncé, and Kylie Jenner have spoken honestly about the pain, tearing, and unexpected body changes that women experience while giving birth. Ali Wong performed another Netflix special while pregnant earlier this year, and Cardi B told Jimmy Kimmel about her “broken” post-baby vagina last month. Below, read the most refreshingly candid celebrity interviews about childbirth from Maya Rudolph, Nora Ephron, and more.

1. Chrissy Teigen
“I can confirm postpartum life is 90% better when you don’t rip to your butthole. Baby boy: 1 point. Luna: 0” —Twitter, May 2018

2. Ali Wong
“Nobody told me about all of the crazy shit that comes out of your pussy after you give birth. You know what happens after the baby comes out? You know what else exits? Her house. Her living room, her pillows, the Bob Marley poster. All the food that went bad in her refrigerator.” —Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife, May 2018

3. Kim Kardashian West
“After giving birth, your placenta is supposed to come out. But mine was stuck. That’s what women usually die from in childbirth — you hemorrhage and bleed to death and they can’t stop it. To get it out — it’s so disgusting — the doctor had to stick his whole arm in me and scrape it off. It was the most painful.” —Elle, April 2018

4. Keira Knightley
To my girl: My vagina split. You came out with your eyes open. Arms up in the air. Screaming. They put you on to me, covered in blood, vernix, your head misshapen from the birth canal. Pulsating, gasping, screaming. You were pushing yourself up with your arms, furious at your frailty. Wanting to see. Wanting to know … I remember the shit, the vomit, the blood, the stitches. I remember my battleground. Your battleground and life pulsating. Surviving. And I am the weaker sex? You are?” —her essay, “The Weaker Sex,” in Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies, October 2018

5. Kylie Jenner
“I needed Khloé in the room with me. I think it made her more scared. She was there for all my other sisters. She’s just very, very nurturing. So she really helped me through the whole thing. Everyone should have Khloé in their delivery room.” —The Evening Standard, May 2018

6. Cardi B
“People don’t really talk about what you go through after pregnancy. Like, they don’t tell you that you get stitches down there or that your first two weeks you’re constipated. Or that you get contractions because of breastfeeding. I wasn’t expecting that. When Kulture was born, I felt like I was a kid again; everything was making me cry, and I needed a lot of love. I be feeling like, Do babies know who’s they mom? I feel like babies love whoever is giving them the milk, and I want to give the milk the whole time. I want her to know me … I feel ­better now, but sometimes I just feel so vulnerable, like I’m not ready for the world yet. It’s weird.” —W, October 2018

7. Mila Kunis
“Two people are allowed in my delivery room. My doctor and my significant other. And he is staying above the action. He’ll be head to head. Not head to vag. Unless he wants to risk his life and see. But I wouldn’t if I were him. I highly doubt he wants to see that being ripped apart and shredded. Because it will be shredded. It’s just a matter of how badly.” —Marie Claire, July 2014

8. Beyoncé
“I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU. My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me. I am proud to have been a witness to his strength and evolution as a man, a best friend, and a father. I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later. Today I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience. After the C-section, my core felt different. It had been major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that. I needed time to heal, to recover. During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. After six months, I started preparing for Coachella. I became vegan temporarily, gave up coffee, alcohol, and all fruit drinks. But I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too. …

To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.” —Vogue, September 2018

9. Amy Poehler
“I have many friends who have had natural childbirth. I applaud them. I have friends who have used doulas and birthing balls and pushed out babies in tubs and taxicabs. I have a friend who had two babies at home! In bed! Her name is Maya Rudolph! She is a goddamn baby champion and she pushed her cuties out Little House on the Prairie style! Good for her! Not for me. That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.” —Yes Please, October 2014

10. Maya Rudolph
“[A home birth] was not my plan, but that’s what happened … because the baby came out really fast. Luckily, she just kind of glided into her father’s arms. It was scary, but it was kind of awesome. Hospitals make me nervous because I feel like hospital equals death, like it smells like dead people and weird fluids that pickle people … You have to put the placenta somewhere and I didn’t know it at the time, but someone put it in my freezer. Then a couple of weeks later I opened the freezer and was like, ‘What is that weird meat?’” —Chelsea Lately, May 2011

Thandie Newton with her son, Booker. Photo: Rachel Murray/2015 Getty Images

11. Thandie Newton
On the home birth of her son, Booker: “He was born on the bathroom floor. I had just associated hospital with being ill, and I felt beautiful and healthy and wonderful when I was pregnant, and being at home is the place I felt most relaxed and comfortable … So for me, it feels normal, but there was a time when everybody had their babies at home and it wasn’t such a big deal.” —Today, October 2016

12. Kristen Bell
On her C-section: “My perspective was — as someone who has never experimented with drugs — I really enjoyed it. It was kind of a wonderful experience for me. While they were doing it, I actually thought, like, ‘What else could we get done down there’ … About six or seven hours later, I’m sitting in my hospital bed and I say to Dax, ‘Well, I think the epidural has finally worn off.’ And he looks over, and I am scratching holes in my face like a meth addict.” —The Ellen DeGeneres Show, February 2015

Erykah Badu with her daughters, Mars and Puma. Photo: Bryan Steffy/WireImage/Getty Images

13. Erykah Badu
“Questlove of the Roots said, ‘I bet you won’t Twitter while you’re in labor.’ I said, ‘I bet I will.’ So I did … She’s the first Twitter baby, and she’s breastfed on Twitty milk.” —People, September 2009

14. Tilda Swinton
“In the movies where people have babies, they are sitting in a hospital bed with flowers everywhere, beautifully made-up, with a baby in their arms and it is all very lovely. Anyone who has been in that zone will know it’s total fiction. It’s a truly, truly murderous business. Giving birth is a violent thing to go through. It’s a bloody business having a family.” —Marie Claire, May 2011

15. Nora Ephron
“Speaking of the pain of labor, which I seem to be, I would like to interject a small and irrelevant note: Why do people always say you forget the pain of labor? I haven’t forgotten the pain of labor. Labor hurt. It hurt a lot. The fact that I am not currently in pain and cannot simulate the pain of labor doesn’t mean I don’t remember it. I am currently not eating a wonderful piece of grilled chicken I once had in Asolo, Italy, in 1982, but I remember it well. It was delicious. I can tell you exactly what it tasted like, and except for the time when I returned to the restaurant six years later and ordered it again (and it turned out, amazingly, to be exactly as wonderful as I remembered), I have never tasted chicken that was crisper, tastier, or juicier. The song has ended, but the melody lingers on, and that goes for the pain of labor, only not in a good way.” —O, The Oprah Magazine, October 2005

16. Serena Williams
“When I first learned I was going to have a C-section, I was like — even though, like, I had this weird sense that I would have one, I was still devastated. You know, I think every woman, a part of them, wants to have birth naturally and [to] feel that and to be a part of this great moms group, but when you get a C-section it’s different. But then I thought, Oh my God, I’m going to have this scar … the doctor walked in, she looked at me and she said, ‘Alright, we’re gonna have to give you a C-section.’ She was so confident, she said it with so much poise, and I was like, ‘Alright, cool.’” —People, April 2018

17. Miranda Kerr
“I actually thought I was going to die at one point and left my body. I was looking down on myself, the pain was so intense. I kept thinking, ‘How do women do this?’ But if other women have done this, I can do it too. I was determined.” —InStyle Australia, July 2011

18. Zoe Saldana
On delivering her twins through an emergency C-section: “The boys came at 32 weeks. They found protein in my urine; my platelets crashed. I didn’t qualify for an epidural, so I delivered under general anesthetic. I didn’t even meet them until a day later … [Later] I think the boys were three or four months old, and one morning I woke up with just this flood of emotions. Marco had them, too, and we were able to have our deconstruction session in the bathroom while they were napping, to say to each other, ‘Holy shit, did we come close to it all changing forever?’ We allowed ourselves to have a moment of ‘poor us.’ And that was it. Then somebody cried, and it was ‘Got to go!’” —Allure, June 2016

19. Kate Winslet
“I’ve never talked about this. I’ve gone to great pains to cover it up. But Mia was an emergency C-section. I just said I had a natural birth because I was so completely traumatized by the fact that I hadn’t given birth. I felt like a complete failure. My whole life, I’d been told I had great child-bearing hips … There’s this thing amongst women that if you can handle childbirth you can handle anything. I had never handled childbirth and I felt like in some way I couldn’t enter the ‘powerful women’s club.’ … It was an amazing feeling having Joe naturally. Fourteen hours with no drugs at all, but then I had to have an epidural because I was so tired. It was an incredible birth. It was really triumphant.” —Gotham, March 2004

20. Jennifer Lopez
“I had a C-section, but my sister gave birth six months later — we got pregnant around the same time — and she asked me to be in the delivery room with her, and I was, like, ‘Wow!’ Because I had twins and that was recommended for me to have a C-section, and there was a part of me [that] had thought, ‘I didn’t get to do it the way that everybody else does.’ But when I saw my sister pushing that baby out, I was like, ‘Maybe this was all right! Maybe this was a better out.’” —Wonderwall, May 2012

21. Snooki
“Thank God I got to the doctors at that time because it was the perfect time for me to get the epidural so I won’t feel her come out. Everything worked out, but the fact that I felt the contractions up to almost seven centimeters — holy crap! … [Moms who give birth without an epidural] are my hero. You are amazing. You are freakin’ awesome. I don’t know how you do it, but you do and you survive and you’re stronger because of it. Dude, I give you all the props in the world, because me, I cannot take that pain. I was literally dying. I was trying to breathe and, you know, be calm, but it just feels like there’s a million knives stabbing you in the uterus and you can’t do it.” —her podcast, October 2014

22. Gaby Hoffmann
“I have a 14-month-old daughter. I had a lot of help in my birth. I had a home birth, and she was almost 10 pounds and did not want to come out. … We needed like a team of doulas at my birth, which I had, luckily.” —The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, January 2016

23. Emma Thompson
“Everybody lies. Nobody tells you the truth. … There’s no honesty about ‘yes, it’s painful’ and people are now terrified of that pain. So you’re getting an awful lot of elective C-sections, which is a huge operation and very difficult to recover from. The pain of giving birth is now ‘optional’ and yet there’s no honesty about what that option can actually do to your body. It’s odd how frightened we’ve been made to feel about the pain of it [childbirth].” —Vulture, September 2018

24. Angelina Jolie
“We were in this little hospital in Africa when Shi was born. I don’t think there was anybody else in the hospital. It was just a little cottage, the three of us. It ended up being the greatest thing. … I had a C-section and I found it fascinating. I didn’t find it a sacrifice and I didn’t find it a painful experience. I found it a fascinating miracle of what a body can do.” —Vanity Fair, May 2008

25. Caitlin Moran
“Most of it was that I just wasn’t ready. I hadn’t attended any birth classes. I was insanely unfit. I was very, very overweight. And also at that time, I didn’t know that I was hyper-mobile, sort of double-jointed, and basically my pelvis sort of, kind of cracked in half and stretched in a really bad way so I couldn’t walk. When I finally went into labor, not only was kind of the two parts of my pelvis grinding against each other, but the baby got stuck. It was the wrong way round. None of the anesthetics worked. The epidurals didn’t work. I had five of those. They were fun. And eventually they had to give me an emergency C-section. But I would never have written about a bad birth — because I think women do like to sit around and scare each other with bad birth tales — unless I’d had a really good one for my second birth. And I wanted to contrast it between if you go into your first birth unprepared, it could go wrong for you.” —NPR Fresh Air, August 2012

25 Famous Women on How Crazy It Is to Give Birth