Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- The Voice Star Jordan Smith Weds His Longtime Love Kristen Denny
- Read the Cover Story: Matthew McConaughey: Love, Family & What I've Learned
- Meghan King Edmonds Opens Up About Pregnancy Hormones: 'I Was Happy But I Was Sad'
- WATCH: Matthew McConaughey Reveals Which of His Female Costars He Really Had a Crush On Growing Up
- WATCH: Jamie Lynn Spears Reveals Sister Britney's Advice for Dealing With Public Scrutiny: "Trust Yourself"
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- September 12, 2011
- Vol. 76
- No. 10
Erykah Badu: From Singer to Birth Doula
The Soul Star Found a New Calling: Helping Moms Deliver Babies
Meet the ultimate multi-hyphenate star: Badu sings, acts, spins-and helps deliver babies. The Grammy winner, 40, known for her funkadelic sound and even funkier style, has been moonlighting as a birth doula-someone who assists a midwife in natural (anesthesia-free) childbirth-since 2001. "I've always had a mothering nature," says Badu, who helped bring Marley Jae Taylor into the world on June 29. "But I didn't plan on becoming a doula. I just wanted to care for my family and friends."
Badu began studying midwifery after the birth of her son Seven, 13, whose dad is Andre 3000 of Outkast. (She is also mom to daughters Puma, 7, and Mars, 2, from other relationships.) She later coached her best friend through a 52-hour labor and had an epiphany. "When I saw the baby, I cried," says Badu, who has assisted in five births. "I knew what I was supposed to do with my life."
Her work with moms-to-be starts one month before their due dates. In weekly 45-minute sessions, Badu discusses their health, massages them and performs Reiki (an energy healing practice). She also shares her own at-home birthing videos. "It's important they see I did not cry and scream," she says. "They're amazed they don't have to be afraid." On the big day, she comforts them during labor and prepares teas-of herbs from her garden-to help with relaxation, post-delivery bleeding and lactation. "My services are free," says Badu, who's helped deliver babies both at birthing centers and clients' homes. "My music permits me to do that."
While Badu's first four clients came from her inner circle-including friend Valerie Gillespie, who had a daughter, Zoe, on Mother's Day-she met Marley's mom, HR manager Felicia Taylor, 31, at a Dallas Buddhist Temple. "She came up to me and offered to be my doula," recalls Taylor, who had been thinking of hiring one. "It was almost too good to be true." After one appointment, she was sold. "Erykah did Reiki on my swollen feet," says Taylor. "The pain disappeared for three days. I told my husband, 'Whatever she did, I'm going back for more.'"
Badu, now an International Center for Traditional Childbearing spokeswoman, hopes to get midwife certification (she needs to assist in 17 more live births) and open inner-city birthing centers. Though she still makes music, she's happiest as "Erykah Badoula," as her clients call her. "Nothing gives me more pleasure," says Badu, "than being the welcoming committee for a mother's new joy."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!