Excerpt from: The Sexiness of Delivering My Own Baby
An interview with Donald Sutherland
by Barbara Graustark, Redbook Magazine, February 1983
A nonconformist on screen and off, Sutherland is happily unmarried to his live-in partner of ten years, French-Canadian actress Francine Rachette. And not long after completing work on his new film, Max Dugan Is Back, he delivered their third son.
Q: Why did you want to deliver your own children?
A: Why would anyone not want to? It’s so friendly! It’s so sexy! And it’s such a romantic thing to do. At first I did it only to help out. We thought our first baby, Roeg, [now eight] was going to be born in the jungles of Borneo, where I was to be making a movie and where it would have been necessary for me to know how to help Francine. We never got to Borneo—Roeg was born in a hospital delivery room in Los Angeles. A doctor was present but we didn’t have a standard hospital birth, and we have followed that method ever since.
Q: What method did you use?
A: The method we used stresses total relaxation, allowing the body to go with the contractions—the way animals do. That’s very different from Lamaze, which emphasizes taking short, deep breaths with each contraction and which we consider a form of hyperventilation. I timed Francine’s contractions and massaged her, and during one delivery, she was so relaxed, she fell asleep! The most important thing is not to inhibit the contractions. For example, Francine was very, very relaxed this last time. She had one big, strong contraction and said, “Wow, that was good.” An older nurse who was watching reacted very differently, saying, “Gee, that was a horrendous contraction.” Francine told her to get out. It was like having someone observing you while you’re making love.