I tend not to pay celebrity pregnancies any kind of mind. I mean, the stories always seem to whip up all kinds of innuendo, insult and hysteria—Beyonce wasn’t really pregnant! Jessica Simpson was fatter than a Beverly Hills McMansion! Mariah Carey got her body back three months after birthing twins, and every other new mom sucks if she can’t drop her baby weight quickly too! Right. But news of Amber Rose’s choice to have a water birth when she and fiancé Wiz Khalifa welcome their first baby is worthy a note, mos def.
Amber, 29, recently took to Twitter to shout out Ricki Lake and her film, The Business of Being Born, as the impetus for the couple’s decision to go with the unconventional delivery method. That documentary, which Lake executive produced, juxtaposes hospital deliveries against the growing popularity of at-home natural childbirths as it takes a hard look at America’s maternity care system.
Amber later said on the Los Angeles radio show Big Boy’s Neighborhood that she’s planning a drug-free at-home birth, with Wiz being intimately involved in ushering their child into the world. “I don’t want no medication,” she said during the radio interview. “We take home birthing classes to teach us how to do it, and we’re gonna have our midwife, and when the baby’s head comes out, he’s gonna be Dr. Wiz. He’s gonna be the first person to touch the child. No doctors, no gloves.”
Wiz said that while he’s nervous about what’s to come, he can’t wait to be a dad and he’s totally with the game plan. “We gonna have a midwife and a doula at the crib, and she’s gonna be in a pool, and it’s gonna be like a relaxing environment, and when she’s ready she’s gonna tell me when to stick my hands down there and I’m gonna pull the baby out,” he told Big Boy’s Neighborhood.
I can’t say I’m mad at Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa’s aggressively progressive stance on the birth of their baby. For sure, there’s a small but vocal community of doulas and midwives actively trying to change the tide of out-of-control infant mortality rates in the African American community by exposing black moms-to-be to birthing techniques of Africa, the Caribbean and the Deep South, and encouraging us to take a much more serious look at moving our deliveries out of the hospitals and into the hands of midwives and doulas who can assist in much more humanized at-home births. What a powerful pregnancy and birthing statement for Amber and Wiz to make, then, particularly in unconventional arenas like black radio and magazines like XXL. A round of applause for the happy couple—and others like them who use their platforms to promote more meaningful dialogue on black birth and parenting. We’re wishing Amber and Wiz’s new baby a safe journey!
1. Tackling Infant Mortality Rates—Without Stereotyping Black Mothers
2. Erykah “Badoula” And The Business of Birthing: Can Midwifery Help Stem Black Infant Mortality Rates?
3. Birthing While Black: This African American Mom’s Experience Was Anything But VIP
4. Going It Alone: Survey Says Black Mothers Get Little Help, Support While Giving Birth