Styling by Sarah Stanley
On Location at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey
Laila Ali: I don’t put a due date on the baby, whenever he’s ready to come out.
Have you had any cravings?
I’ve always had a sweet tooth and that hasn’t changed. It is really important not to have too much sugar because that’s how you end up with a big baby—so that’s a struggle for me. I’ve been told that in my third trimester it’s really important, so I’m there and I’m really trying.
How do you stay fit?
I stay active. I try to work out at least four days a week. I do an hour of cardio on the elliptical and then light weight lifting, just upper body. I don’t do lower body because you want your lower body to loosen up to make room for the baby to come through.
What has surprised you about being pregnant?
I’ve just maintained [my weight] well and I’m very surprised about that. I always thought I was going to gain a lot of weight because I’m a big girl naturally. I walk around at 175 pounds, I’m 5’11”, and I love to eat. I [thought] “Oh God, I’m going to be like 250 pounds and huge.” I think a lot of women have that fear. But because I’m already a big girl, I was just imagining myself to be this giant.
How did you decide to have a home birth?
I saw Ricki Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born. I think all women kind of like to be in control, but I want to really experience [the birth]. Society tells you, “You get pregnant, you go to the hospital,” and that was just naturally what I was going to do, but once I saw that there was another option, it just fit me. I want to be fully present—I don’t want any medications. I just want to be in control of the situation—as much as I can be anyway. It’s not for everybody. So you have to do your research and at least be informed. Even if you don’t decide to do a home birth or work with a midwife, you can at least be aware of the fact that you can have a voice at the hospital. And make sure you pick a good doctor.
Are there any details you can share about your birth plan?
I’m going to have the water there, but I know that I might not end up giving birth in the water. Or, I might just use my own tub.
Do you feel any trepidation about giving birth? Now if I was the first woman in the world having a baby, I’d be scared to death! I have never experienced it for myself, but I see all of these other women that I know are nowhere near as strong as I am physically, emotionally, mentally. So if they can do it, so can I. There’s gonna be pain, and my thing is learning the ways to reduce that pain and to be in control of yourself so you’re not making it worse and working against yourself. I feel like I have an advantage just with my mindset and with my experiences as an athlete and knowing my body.
Do you plan to breastfeed?
I’m definitely breastfeeding. God gave us this gift. Our bodies are made a certain way to nurture our children. To a certain point, anyway. I’m not going to be one of those mothers breastfeeding my 3-year-old.
What kind of mother do you hope to be?
I hope to be patient and fair and just a good example to my kids…and consistent. I think that it’s important to teach kids values and morals and how to love themselves and be a leader, not a follower. Hopefully, I won’t be too strict, because that’s something that I could see myself doing—being too protective and too strict.
Are there things about your own parents you’d like to avoid or emulate?
I have lots of things I want to avoid. Some people loved everything about their parents, but I don’t know many. My dad has always taught us never to step on people to get ahead. He treated people with love and respect no matter what their position in life was—I learned that from him. Both of my parents, regardless of their faults, are good-hearted people, and that’s what’s important to me.
Athletics must be pretty important in your house. They’re gonna be some high expectations in this household! Our kids are going to have to play sports, they’re going to have to pick a sport, and they’re going to have to stick to it. I just don’t want my child wanting to fight, that’s all. Hopefully, the boxing ends with me in this family. If he’s going to play sports, he’ll play something else. No boxing.