by Danelle Frisbie © 2009
While I am not much of a 'star-gazer' myself, it is always beneficial when those in the media do things that shed light on natural and gentle birth and baby-care practices.
Recently, another celebrity mom joins the list of those who have birthed babies peacefully at home. Supermodel, Gisele Bündchen, brought her son, Benjamin, gently into this world via home waterbirth on December 8th. Media headlines rumored that Bündchen had gone into labor and was whisked away to a Boston-area hospital. Rather, she corrects reporters, "I gave birth at home in my bathtub."
Bündchen birthed in a physiological manner - no drugs, no interventions. "I wanted to be conscious and present for what was happening," she said. "I didn't want to be anesthetized. I wanted to feel." Her homebirth team consisted of her husband, Tom Brady, her mother, sisters, and her midwife.
It is part of the gentle wonder of waterbirth (and especially of homebirth) that women everywhere have come to love giving birth in this way - often without pain. This was the case for Bündchen as well. She says her birth "wasn't painful, not even a little bit. The whole time, my head was so focused – every contraction, the baby is closer, the baby is closer. So, it wasn't like, 'Oh, what pain.' It was, 'With every contraction, he is getting closer to me.'" How perfect! Just as birth should be.
After birth 'recovery' was equally as quick for Bündchen as other waterbirth/homebirth moms across the world have found. "The second day, I was walking, I was washing dishes, I was making pancakes in the kitchen."
Prior to birth, Bündchen did not know the sex of her new baby and wanted to keep it a surprise for her birthing day. "I wanted the emotion of finding out [at birth] if it was a boy or a girl,” Bündchen told the press. Although Brady knew they would be welcoming a son, he kept the news to himself at Bündchen's request. "I'm really the only one that knew,” Brady, 32, said. “She's a very intelligent woman. I wanted to find out and she didn’t. So she said, 'Go ahead.' It would be a surprise for her."
The most difficult part of Bündchen's birthing day ended up being the selection of a name for her new son. The couple wanted a name that would sound good in both English and Bündchen's native tongue, Portuguese. Bündchen liked David (pronounced 'Davi') but Brady was not a fan. She also had Joaquim as a selection... but in the end, it was Benjamin that was chosen. Benjamin will also share both last names, and learn of his dual heritage as he grows. "He's also Bündchen, he's not just Brady," notes Bündchen. "And he certainly won't stop being Brazilian." But no matter what life brings the supermodel and her new son, "for me, there is no name. He is my benzinho (beloved)," said Bündchen.
Bündchen, from Três de Maio, Brazil, is currently the highest paid model in the world, and also the 16th wealthiest woman in the entertainment world. This past fall, Bündchen was named a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and said she was doing her best to maintain a healthy, natural family lifestyle while settling into her new home in the Boston area (where her husband is quarterback for the New England Patriots). A recent reporter described Bündchen as having such, "simplicity and spirituality" that she "shows she has concern with living well, being happy, and now, with being an excellent mom."