Jessica Biel’s Natural Birth Was Perfectly Planned—Until She Needed an Emergency C-Section
Like so many mothers-to-be, actress and entrepreneur Jessica Biel took being pregnant seriously. Very seriously. As they prepared for the arrival of their first child, she and husband Justin Timberlake dove headfirst into impending parenthood, focusing on creating a perfect natural birth by which to welcome Baby Biel/Timberlake to the world. Jessica’s natural birth was perfectly planned—until she needed an emergency C-section.
As Jessica told author and celebrity nanny Connie Simpson in The Nanny Connie Way: Secrets to Mastering the First Four Months of Parenthood, she and Justin had transformed their home into a “labor training facility,” and had hired not only two midwives, but also a doula. Fully committed to having a natural birth, the pair had also attended meditation birthing classes so they could welcome their baby into the world calmly and naturally.
But, as so many women soon discover, preparation does not equal outcome when it comes to birthing children. Jessica continued in Connie’s book, “All our plans fell apart… The serene, natural childbirth we had envisioned ended with a transfer to the hospital and an emergency C-section, we arrived home exhausted, disillusioned and totally in shock.”
Being unprepared for an alternative plan, especially one as serious as a C-section, is not limited to Jessica’s experience. As journalist and first-time mother, Angela Garbes author of the new book, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy, explained to Terri Gross on Fresh Air recently, “I didn’t know what happened to my body until afterwards. Because I wasn’t prepared for a Caesarean. It never occurred to me that that might happen… But we talk about it like it’s nothing, and it is major abdominal surgery. You know, they cut through your skin. They cut through the peritoneum, which sort of encases everything. They move your abs out of the way. They cut through fascia. And then they have to move your bladder out of the way using a tool that I think rather horrifyingly is called the bladder blade. And then they get to your uterus, which is, you know, a muscular wall, and then they cut through that. So, you know, you’re informed that you’re going to have this surgery, but you don’t—I would say that most people don’t really know what’s going to happen to them, and they don’t know the extent to which their organs and their muscles are being moved around. And you’re definitely not prepared for … what your body’s going to feel like afterwards.”
Jessica and Angela both had healthy babies via their unexpected C-sections. “I was obsessed with everything organic, toxin-free, natural and homeopathic for our kid, who came into this world in an operating room through an incision,” Jessica said in The Nanny Connie Way. And while there is no way to prepare for every possible scenario when it comes to childbirth, Angela has words of wisdom for mothers-to-be: “An informed patient is generally a better patient, a happier patient.”
So go ahead—prepare for your ideal, natural birth, and then ask your doctor to give you all the facts on what could actually happen along the way.
Learn more about one woman’s journey through fertility and to healing herself after miscarriage here.