Jodie Turner-Smith Was in Labor for Nearly Four Days Before Giving Birth: 'I Was Fatigued'
Jodie Turner-Smith spent nearly four days in labor at her Los Angeles home while bringing her and husband Joshua Jackson's baby girl into the world.
In an essay for the September issue of British Vogue, the actress reflected on her pregnancy journey and the moments leading up to becoming a first-time mom. (Reps for the couple confirmed to PEOPLE on April 21 they had welcomed their first child together, and Turner-Smith publicly celebrated the news two days later.)
"Every stage of my pregnancy brought its own challenges and lessons," the 33-year-old said. "Nobody really teaches you about what your body goes through to bring a child into the world until you're actually doing it."
However, the Queen & Slim star also found herself having to navigate being pregnant in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and the restrictions that came with that. Turner-Smith and Jackson ultimately decided they felt most comfortable welcoming their daughter with at home, due to the high-risk of pregnancy-related deaths in Black women in America.
"We had already decided on a home birth, because of concerns about negative birth outcomes for Black women in America — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of pregnancy-related deaths is more than three times greater for Black women than for white women, pointing, it seems to me, to systemic racism," she says.
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"We never imagined that in the coming weeks, hospitals around the country would begin restricting who could be present in the birthing rooms, forcing mothers to deliver without the support person or people of their choice," she explained. "Delivering at home ensured that I had what every single woman deserves to have: full agency in determining my birth support."
Turner-Smith then spent nearly four days in labor in late April, and give fans a candid glimpse into the "sacred" experience.
"Early in the morning on my third day of labour, my husband and I shared a quiet moment. I was fatigued and beginning to lose my resolve. Josh ran me a bath, and as I lay in it contracting, I talked to my body and I talked to my daughter," the star shared. "In that moment, he snapped a picture of me. An honest moment of family and togetherness — a husband supporting a wife, our baby still inside me, the sacred process of creating a family."
She then praised her husband for unconditionally supporting her throughout the pregnancy and birth.
"It made me realize how lucky and privileged I am to have a partner willing to follow me around the world, supporting me while I did my job," she explained. (During the early months of her pregnancy, Turner-Smith was in the midst of shooting her first action movie, Without Remorse, with Michael B. Jordan.)
"Both of us had watched our own mothers struggle to raise children without such support," she adds. "Both of us were determined to create something for ourselves," she said of Jackson. "He kept saying to me, 'There's no part of this that I'm going to miss.' "
In the months after giving birth, Turner-Smith says she's "laughed" when looking back on her "early pregnancy naivety" about her life getting back to normal after becoming a mom.
"I thought it would be feasible to move house, have a child and go back to work a month later. I felt the pressure that we often place on new mothers: to get back to 'normal,' to have what is considered a perfect post-pregnancy body — one that bears no trace of the fact that a tiny human was once held inside it and, only weeks before, passed through it," she explained.
Now, the new mother is taking time to think about raising her daughter in a world seeing a wave of social reckoning.
"Sometimes I wonder how I will explain to my daughter what it meant to be born in the year 2020. The historic events, the social unrest, and me — a new mother just trying to do her best," she said. "I think I will tell her that it was as if the world had paused for her to be born. And that, hopefully it never quite returned to the way it was before."