Sasha Sagan talks to actor TROIAN BELLISARIO (Pretty Little Liars, Life on Mars) about a tradition older than our species, and the unusual (and slightly terrifying) way Troian once experienced it.

We’ll also hear from professor and author RANDI HUTTER EPSTEIN (Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank) about the often strange and disturbing history of the tradition.

Episode excerpt

TROIAN BELLISARIO: Our first daughter was a week late. She took 27 hours of labor, an hour and a half of pushing. Now I was five days shy of the due date for my second child. So it was definitely cutting it close, but I first thought “I don’t give birth early.”

Four hours after my husband got home from out of town, I started feeling like I was having contractions. I told him, Yo, have a breakfast burrito. Chill, because you know how long this takes, we’re gonna be in the hospital, and we’re gonna be exhausted for another day. And so I really took my time, I was playing with my daughter, between contractions. Then we got in the car.

We didn’t even have a birth plan this time, because we were like, it’s five days too early. I was just like, I think it would be cool if you caught her. Or if I got to pull her out. I heard stories of a doctor was like, hey, reach down and like, pull your baby up to you. Sounds like that would be cool. I’d love that.

He sort of like laughed at me and indulged me kindly, and said let’s just see what happens when we get there. And then I was fine. I was having intense contractions. And they were very, very close together. And then we got to the parking lot, he pushed the ticket…and I just flipped over and immediately went nonverbal.

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