Laila Ali, an athlete and champion of health and fitness, welcomed her first child, Curtis Jr., in August 2008. The youngest daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali stole our hearts on the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars. And not to mention her cameo on the beloved children’s show, Yo Gabba Gabba! The new mom opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her upcoming earth-friendly and toxin free skincare line, life with little C.J. and how motherhood has give her a “bigger sense of purpose.”
CBS: C.J. just turned two! How has motherhood changed you?
LA: “I have definitely become more patient in general and I tend not to sweat the small stuff. It’s all about him now!”
CBS: What does C.J. do to make you laugh? What is he into these days?
LA: “Curtis is very funny. He likes to imitate people laughing and when he does it just cracks me up. He will also go up to our 110 pound dogs and push them with his hands and say “push.” Of course the dogs don’t budge and look at him like he is crazy. Very funny!”
CBS: What are the greatest challenges and rewards of motherhood?
LA: “One of the greatest challenges for me is facing the reality that I won’t always be able to protect my child from everything. One of the greatest rewards is waking up to this little person who brings so much joy and happiness to my life. I have a bigger sense of purpose than I have ever had before.”
CBS: You had planned on having a home birth with a midwife, but required a hospitalized birth with interventions. How do you feel about the interventions you had?
LA: “I would have rather not have had Pitocin or an epidural. Pitocin made the contractions 10 times worse. The epidural relieved the pain so of course I felt better, but I was willing to get the job done without it. I had to make the best decisions for my child as it was all happening so quickly.”
CBS: Do you feel medical interventions are often over/misused with many births?
LA: “Yes. The medical industry is a business and hospitals are always finding ways to make the most money possible. Unfortunately, it’s not always about what is best for he patient.”
CBS: Are you disappointed you didn’t get the natural birth you had planned?
LA: “I was a little disapointed but I have a strong belief that everything happens as it is supposed to. Having faith in God takes all of the pressure off of me. I don’t feel like I have to control every outcome in my life.”
CBS: Are you hoping for another child one day soon? If so, are you hoping for a girl next time?
LA: “I would like to have a girl next. I will do a natural birth whether it’s at home or in the hospital.”
CBS: What is your best advice to new moms-to-be? How about for new moms?
LA: “Moms-to-be should enjoy all of their free time while they have it! Take naps and get lots of sleep because it really is a luxury. New moms should buy only natural, toxin free products for their babies. Visit EWG.org. This website has lots of great information for parents.”
CBS: What makes your husband a great dad?
LA: “Where do I start?! My husband makes all of his decisions based on what’s best for the kids. He is very hands on. When I leave town for 2-3 days, he takes care of our son the same way I do and I feel completely at ease. He is the best partner I could ever wish for.”
CBS: You are also stepmom to 3 children: twins Cameron and Kelton and Leilani. Has it been an easy transition blending your families? What are you best tips for blending families?
LA: “My step kids live with their mother who has a totally different parenting style than we do. This situation always makes things a little tougher. Blended families just have to realize that you can only control what goes on in your own home. When the kids are with my husband and I, we give them structure, love and attention and it works out well.”
CBS: How does your famous dad, Muhammad Ali, get along with little C.J.? What does he love about being a grandpa?
LA: “My father loves the fact that Curtis Jr. looks a lot like him. My father loves kids, so the more the better.”
CBS: You have a business degree and once owned your own store in California. Do you plan to open another business one day? Maybe baby-related?
LA: “That’s not in the plans but you never know!”
CBS: You came in third place on the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars. What was it like being on that show?
LA: “The show was a lot of fun. I always hope for the best dancer to win.”
CBS: We hear you make a mean oven fried chicken dish. Is a cookbook in the works?
LA: “I make chicken that tastes fried but it is actually cooked in the oven. People love it because they get the taste they want without the fat. I’m always cooking and coming up with new recipes to share. I would love to do a cookbook in the future.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
LA: “I am launching my line of beauty and personal care products: Laila Ali Professional Haircare and Laila Ali Derm Essentials Skincare which are earth-friendly and toxin free. There will also be a women’s and a men’s fragrance. The product line will be in stores this fall, and this is simply the first step as I intend to enter into other categories soon, such as health and nutrition and cooking. For more information, visit lailaali.com.”