Jessica Biel said that she felt like a failure after the natural birth she had planned for her son, Silas, had to be abandoned for an emergency C-section.
ET’s Lauren Zima spoke with the 36-year-old actress at American Express’ Live Life launch event in New York on Monday about life, work and parenting. And, like many parents, she had all sorts of ideas and plans for the birth of her first child with husband Justin Timberlake, only to see those plans change as circumstances changed.
“That was a very transformative experience because I had such a plan,” Biel tells ET. “I thought, this was going to happen and this is the way it shall be, and everything happened the opposite way and it was a great lesson in knowing in the future, ‘OK, you know things in life you plan and you have to be flexible,’ especially being a parent and having to go, ‘OK, we’re changing the plan, we’re not going there, we’re having a meltdown,’ or ‘We’re having a good day, let’s go get in the car or jump on a plane,’ like, you have to be flexible, and I had a very hard mindset of what I wanted to happen.”
“And I’m just in awe of women who have a natural birth and if I have the opportunity to try it again or do it again, it will be amazing,” she added. “And, if not, I don’t have that feeling anymore. I don’t have that intense drive that it will make me more of a woman or more of a mother or I failed because I felt as if I failed him because my body didn’t work the way it was supposed to work.”
But for now, Biel is using her experiences to try and educate and comfort mothers who may have gone through similar situations.
“I think it’s important to talk about these things because there is so much shame and guilt wrapped around motherhood and birth and what it means and how it happens and how you do it and what your choices are,” she said. “It’s important to just say, ‘Well, this is what happened, and you know what? I’m here and he’s here and that’s what we needed to make happen.'”
She’s been a longtime proponent of candid sex education, having partnered with the Tryst Network to mix education and humour in furtherance of that goal.
“I think, you know, you get a bit older, you have a family, get a bit more confident in your skin and you feel like, ‘Well, this is me’ and I honestly felt a great passion and desire to share my experience and also create a platform for a sex-positive resource where anybody — men and women, young women, young men — can ask questions and get the right answers and we can take the shame away from it all, take the guilt and nasty feeling of ‘hush, hush’ about our bodies and sexuality because it is very human,” she said.
For a look at how parenting has changed Biel and Timberlake, watch the video below.
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