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Can Women Have It All?

Aired April 20, 2011 - 21:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: All right. Here we go.

Women -- careers, husbands, kids -- can you have it all? We`re going to try to answer that.

And Kendra Wilkinson is here. She is the self-proclaimed tomboy, and she is a puzzle, a sex symbol, a "Playboy" centerfold, and a dancing star, but she sees herself as something else.

And I`m on call answering your questions about anything.

So here we go.

Now, I was thinking this morning that I wanted to take a minute to hearken back to our show yesterday, when we met a remarkable family. This is a family with a son showing some symptoms of what guys like me or clinicians call gender nonconformity. For those of the rest of us, it`s he likes to dress like a girl.

He is a wonderful, sweet little boy. And yesterday I was fighting the clock, and I didn`t have time, first of all, to properly thank that family. They were an inspiration. They really gave us a perfect example of acceptance and unconditional love.

I really -- I was inspired by them, and I didn`t get a chance to say thank you. So I wanted to take a minute to say so today.

Now, thanks to advice from his older brother, Dykobe, the family became who they are. Watch this.


CHERYL KILODAVIS, "THE PRINCESS BOY": And it was just that moment, and Dykobe said, "Why can`t you just let him be happy?" And at that moment I thought, you know what? You`re right. I`m teaching you -- I`m modeling negative behavior, and that`s not right.

PINSKY: And what did you think when Dykobe stood up for you?

DYSON KILODAVIS, CHERYL`S SON: It made me feel happy, and I liked it because for who Dykobe is.

C. KILODAVIS: I`m really hoping that we can get to a place of acceptance. I mean, we have got to start accepting differences. There are children who have interests, and they may not make us comfortable, but difference equals discomfort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fathers play a pivotal role in this. You know, they are leaders of the household. And if your leadership is not accepting of you and welcoming of you, you`re leading down a path to later on, not being able to have open, honest communications with your children.


PINSKY: Dyson`s father is absolutely right. And if you remember, he said he didn`t want a carbon copy of himself, he wanted that person, that kid, to be who he is.

Our goal as parents is to have open communication, be honest with your children. Now, research shows us -- and this is something I think you`ll agree by watching the show -- that biology does play a role here, right? That there`s -- we want to be who we are intrinsically. And biology has some function in that.

But science can`t teach a family to be accepting. And let`s point out that this story, this family, stood out in bold relief from the story that followed about bullying and dad who encouraged his son to fight.

I`m sick of that stuff, guys. Can`t we have a little more of the accepting family? It`s a sad story for the rest of us who are struggling to be accepting.

The world would obviously be better if we could all adopt something similar to this family. I was telling somebody, if I were a 6-year-old boy and I wanted to wear a dress, I would want those parents. They would be perfect.

So, I want to say thank you to the Kilodavis family. Thank you for inspiring and enlightening us all.

So, now to another issue that is affecting families. I think we`re all aware that women have had to fight very hard and for quite some time for gain rights, particularly in the workplace. Now some moms are feeling guilt for leaving the kids at home and heading off to work.

So, joining us to have this conversation about whether or not women can have it all are Amy Finley. She is the former star of "The Gourmet Next Door" on the Food Network. And Monika Cirsch. She is a committed stay-at-home mom, a militant stay-at-home mom. Plus, Lora Somoza, the "Naughty Dear Abby." She is joining us.

And Amy has written a book. It`s called "How to Eat a Small Country." It`s about a family`s pursuit for happiness one meal at a time, so the title goes.

And I want to ask you first off, Amy, why you left the TV show.

AMY FINLEY, "HOW TO EAT A SMALL COUNTRY": The short answer is because it was not going to work with my marriage. And I came to a place where we needed to make a decision about whether or not it was more important for me to push forward with my professional goals or whether or not I wanted to redouble and make certain that my family was stable, happy, that my marriage was going to be able to be a foundation that would see us through things in the future.

PINSKY: Is this book about that recovery process to some extent?

FINLEY: It is to some extent, yes. I mean, actually, "How to Eat a Small Country," I actually end up likening fixing your process to the process of eating a small country.

We went to France, we traveled all around France. And what I realized was that fixing a marriage is not something that you accomplish overnight. It`s something that actually is a long process. It`s something that takes a lot of very, very small steps. Almost instead of trying to sort of take on the entire monolith at one time, it`s something that you do sort of incrementally, with lots of different choices.

PINSKY: Sure. Any healing is a slow process.

But the question that gets begged here -- and I`ve got to ask, and I`m going to toss it out to all three of you, not just to be polemic, but to put it out there -- why should your professional career have been the one to suffer? Why did you have to give up yours and not your husband?

FINLEY: You know, I think for us -- and there wasn`t -- you know, in terms of was mine going to have to suffer versus my husband. But one thing that was a definite consideration for us was finances.

PINSKY: So he made more money?

FINLEY: He made more money.


Lora, is that enough of a reason for a woman to sacrifice her career?

LORA SOMOZA, WANTS TO HAVE IT ALL: I really think that you have to sit down with your husband and have that conversation and see, because I know I was in a relationship with someone before and it was like, well, I need to move.

PINSKY: For your career?

SOMOZA: He did, yes, for his career. So we`re going to have to move. And I thought, well, I don`t understand why your career means more than mine does.

Where is that line? You know, where did that -- where is it said someplace that all of a sudden, your needs and wants are more important than mine?

PINSKY: Monika, what do you say?

MONIKA CIRSCH, SEARCHED FOR HUSBAND WHO WANTED STAY-AT-HOME MOM: Well, I feel that if we`re bringing kids into the mix --

PINSKY: Which you have kids?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have two children, right.

PINSKY: Two children. No kids.

You have kids?

CIRSCH: I have one daughter, yes.

PINSKY: So there`s children in the mix, and --

CIRSCH: If there`s children in the mix, and you`re talking about whether the husband should stay home or the wife, I think that, you know, raising the child should be the most important. Of course, money these days, everybody needs to be concerned, you know, with the finances of the family, but also who`s going to do a better job at raising the child the way the family wants it raised.

PINSKY: So mothers do a better job of raising children?

CIRSCH: In my opinion, I would say.

PINSKY: That`s an opinion. I`m wanting to hear that.

FINLEY: You know, one of the things that we discovered over the process of -- you know, the trip that we took -- but then, in the year long that it took me to write this book, it was actually -- we learned how my husband was, and I had to step back and let my husband be a father and let my father do things in his own way.


FINLEY: I actually discovered that that was probably one of the initial sources of tension between the two of us way before Food Network ever started, was that I probably had, by virtue of being the person at home, doing most of the child care, I had some really definite opinions about how it should be done, and I wasn`t necessarily willing to let my husband do it in his own way.

PINSKY: We`re going to take a phone call here from Jeff in California in just a second. But I just want to frame this a little bit by saying it makes me sad how much women absorb the responsibility for all of this.

As you say, I`m going to be the best caretaker. I have my opinions about care-taking. I`m also going to work.

Women absorb an awful lot on behalf of children in a family, and they do it without really stopping and thinking about it.

Let`s take this call from Jeff.

Jeff, what`s going on?

JEFF, CALIFORNIA: Nothing much. How are you guys doing?

PINSKY: We`re good. What`s your question?

JEFF: Well, I came from -- my last marriage I had, I had kids, and we both worked. We were both professionals, and we both were striving to do things both as parents and as professionals. And we actually worked at night, and so we missed a lot of core things.

We missed saying prayers with our kids at night, putting them down to bed, having dinners with them. And since then, I got remarried. And with my wife I have now, we have been blessed to have her stay at home, by choice.

PINSKY: Jeff, is there a question here? I just have got a minute. What is the question?

JEFF: I guess my question is, after the kid is to a point where the wife can go back to work, is it safe to say that there is future suffering that could be caused because the child is used to the mom being at home?

PINSKY: OK. Thanks, Jeff.

So, the question is, are there risks to children by the mom going back to work at all or too quickly?


CIRSCH: Well, being a teacher, I`m at home now, but I could definitely see differences in the children that go home either to an after- school program or go home to a nanny or go home to another caretaker. I could definitely see differences in the children that didn`t -- they didn`t get a lot of one-on-one homework help. They didn`t get concepts reinforced at home.

PINSKY: So your point would be somebody needs to be at home. Does it have to be the woman?


PINSKY: It doesn`t have to be the woman?

FINLEY: I think that what a lot of families find themselves trying to do right now, and certainly what we`re trying to do in my family, it`s like you`re trying to juggle. And I think that a lot of what they`re doing is trying to find sort of that perfect job or that perfect circumstance. I have a lot of friends who, the way that they are making it work is, you know, you`ve got both parents telecommute so that somebody is always at home or at least somebody is always home in the afternoon.

PINSKY: But why don`t I have the conversation with my male friends about trying to find the perfect job so they can spend sufficient time at home? We don`t have those conversations.

FINLEY: Well, my husband has that conversation.

PINSKY: Does he?

FINLEY: Yes. My husband has actually become a really enlightened father, I would say, over the course of going through a marital discourse. You know, something that almost fell apart because he really tried to polarize us on the issue of work, to now, he is a really very supportive guy. He is supportive of my professional goals, and he`s a really, really, really great father, and I respect his parenting.

PINSKY: But Monika, I understand you have a very strong opinion about staying at home. Last word. We`ve got to go to break.

CIRSCH: OK. I think that taking into consideration your child from a very early age, I think that they need that one-on-one attention, whether it`s a mother, father, grandmother, someone at home with them nurturing them and helping them through their discoveries, and helping them really gain self-control, self-confidence, self-esteem. I think it`s really important.

PINSKY: All right.

Later, our guests are going to be answering more of your questions about whether or not women can have it all.

As we go to break, think about this -- is it selfish for moms to work? We`ll talk about that next.


PINSKY: All right. Before the break, I asked career moms if you can afford not to work and are in a two-parent home, do you think that it`s selfish to work anyway?

Let`s get some answers from our guests: Amy Finley, Monika Cirsch, and Lora Somoza.

Do you think it`s selfish?

FINLEY: I don`t think anyone ever asks a male that same question.

PINSKY: I agree with you.


SOMOZA: No, I agree with you. But I also -- I don`t think it`s fair to give a blanket judgment. I think you have to look at each scenario, case by case, because some people may have smaller jobs. Some people may have a job that gives them some self-esteem, something that broadens their life in some way.

PINSKY: All right. So would it be accurate to say that one of the things we`re sort of all saying here is that women should be free to choose?


PINSKY: And we agree with that?

FINLEY: It would be ideal if women were free to choose.

PINSKY: OK. It would be ideal if women were free to choose.

That having it all may be unrealistic all at once, but at least some women can do it in stages if they choose so?

SOMOZA: What if you don`t even want it all?

PINSKY: Fine. Good. I think Monika was --

FINLEY: It depends on what your definition of "all" is.

PINSKY: I was going to say, maybe having it all is staying home with your kids.

FINLEY: Exactly.

PINSKY: Well, here. Let me give you a piece of data.

Here is a study by the Biomedical Library of the University of Minnesota. They showed that children of mothers who worked 30 or more hours a week lagged developmentally. And that`s a pretty vague notion, lagging developmentally. But I think what they are going at here is that when there is not sufficient attention from the gene pool, something happens.

Monika, you wanted to say something about that.

CIRSCH: Yes. You know, I look at it every day with my 14-month-old daughter.

When she discovers something for the first time, she looks to see my validation for that. She looks for me. She wants to know that I`m proud of her, she`s proud of herself.

If she`s in a daycare all day, with none of that one-on-one attention, she`s going to say, wow, I did something. OK. I don`t know if it was that great or not. You know, I don`t know.


SOMOZA: Well, I think that`s great in theory, but I think you have to remember, too, that there are so many people that just don`t have those options. There are so many people that have to work that --

PINSKY: What would be nice to know is if we could come up with a number of you need to spend so many hours a day focusing on that child for them to be healthy and attached.

FINLEY: But again, is that a mother needs to spend so many hours a day, or is it just that they need to have a dedicated caretaker who spends that sort of -- that face time, that smiling interaction, all of those things?

CIRSCH: I think the first five years are the most important. And I feel that if a child is away from a sole caregiver, they develop attachment issues later in life.

Maybe, Dr. Drew, it turns into addiction.

PINSKY: Oh, for sure. People who have ambivalent and disturbed (ph) attachments, they are at risk for addiction. There`s no doubt about that.

We have a phone call before we go on here, Margurite from Illinois.

What do you want to say to the group?

MARGURITE, ILLINOIS: Yes, I am -- I had a career as a rehabilitation (ph) aide, and I decided after our second son that I would go -- I would just stay at home with them.

And I guess my thing is, you know, I gave up the career to stay at home. And I love every minute of it. But there`s always messes being made or things to clean or cook or appointments to get to.

So I lack social communication for being a stay-at-home mom. But at the same time, children are like sponges from birth to 5 years. So they soak up everything. And I would rather them be there with me for me to be influencing them in good decisions instead of outside influences.

PINSKY: Got it.

What do guys say to that?

FINLEY: Well, in part, I think that, one, I don`t know of a parent who is lazy in terms of deciding who their children are going to be around including -- my sister works. My mother actually held two jobs for a lot of my life.

And I know that they all really, really agonized over the choices about who to leave their children with. It`s not a casual decision ever, I don`t think, for a woman to -- we don`t drop our child off on the corner and say, you know, I`m sure you`re going to be fine with this person.

PINSKY: You didn`t put him in a basket and leave him somewhere?

FINLEY: No, no, no. There`s a lot of due diligence involved in finding a great person.

PINSKY: Monika, do you have something to say about that?

CIRSCH: Well, I think that, Amy, it`s very well put. It`s hopefully not a decision that people take lightly.

PINSKY: You`re a teacher, though.


PINSKY: And what age group do you teach?

CIRSCH: Second grade.

PINSKY: Did you see a lot of inattentiveness to that issue?

CIRSCH: Of course. I mean, another thing that I dealt with was that they`re were with so many different people. Let`s say if they go from mom to grandma to teacher to nanny, there are so many sets of rules. These children become confused. They don`t know what they are doing is right or wrong because of one person that`s right, with another person that`s wrong, and they get conflicted within themselves, and they end up with low self- esteem and lack of confidence.


SOMOZA: You know, I have to say, from all the women that I know that are mothers, and they say that even if they are stay-at-home moms, or if they do work, the one thing they say is that there`s still never enough time, they`re always going to have a sense of guilt for not doing enough. So you can sit here as much as you want and say, you know, we have to be here for a certain time, but people are always going to feel like they make mistakes. People are always going to feel like they should have done it better in some way.

PINSKY: Let`s get a Facebook question. I think it`s kind of interesting that this whole conversation about women and career goes back to being a mom. You don`t see men having the same conversation about career and dad. You just don`t see it.

Career moms, do you ever feel guilty putting your desires for career before your child`s best interests? I think that`s what we`re talking about here.

And I think, Lora, you said everybody would feel that guilt.

SOMOZA: Yes, absolutely.

PINSKY: Monika, no?

CIRSCH: I would hope so.

FINLEY: I think you keep peeling the onion, because, I mean, when you`re talking about a child`s best interest, another thing that`s in the child`s best interest is having a stable home, a loving marriage, a happy mom, two parents who have a good and tight and communicative relationship. And I know a lot of women who that becomes possible because they also feel that sense of self that comes from, I trained for this, I went to school for this, this is my professional career, this is sort of my journey of self-discovery, and I --

SOMOZA: And having a well-rounded sense of self.


PINSKY: Which is a great thing for a child, too. And should we be making --

SOMOZA: And you`re a role model as well.

FINLEY: Right. We can model that to our children.

PINSKY: And should women be thinking about sacrifice. And I think if we had real guidelines about how much time here, how much time there, it would be much -- we don`t have that. We don`t have that, though.

A personal reveal, my wife stayed at home. I have triplets who are 18 who are fantastic. They would not be who they are. I would not be who I am had she not done this. I get choked up thinking about it.

And thank you, honey, for doing that.

But now they are going off to school. And she`s trying to figure out who she is in the world and wants to -- for her it was about I think stages.

Is that a good option for many women, do you think? Do it in stages?

SOMOZA: I think so. I think there`s a lot of women that have careers for a long period of time, and then become mothers. Now, I think there`s a lot of women who are having children later on in life.

PINSKY: And vice versa, having their careers -- hang on. We`ve got a statistic here.

Sixty-seven percent of women say having children and staying at home when they are young is an important choice for them. So being young having kids is -- let`s face it, listen, I hear women my age talking about how the biological drive diminishes too. So when you`re younger, there`s sort of this push to reproduce and be a mom, right? Isn`t there?


PINSKY: That`s biological.

FINLEY: Right. Well, no. And I think that -- you know, I know for me, I was always sort of counting eight years into the future, 18 years into the future, too, to sort of imagine, well, where am I going to be sort of at the end of this process, too.

PINSKY: I see. Which is good, right?

FINLEY: Oh, yes. Sure. I mean, I had my first child when I was 28.

PINSKY: Because you don`t want to lose yourself into the kids, and then where are you?

FINLEY: And you`re talking about stages. That`s actually I think the thing that becomes difficult sometimes, too.

When you have a career -- I had a professional career. I was cooking. I stopped. I stayed home.

And the longer you see that gap opening up, you do have those realistic worries about --

PINSKY: Going back.

FINLEY: -- am I going to be able to go back? Am I still marketable in my same field?

PINSKY: When we come back, we`re going to answer more of your questions.

And later, Kendra Wilkinson. She is not who you think she is.


PINSKY: It is time for our on-call segment.

But before I get to this phone call, I want to say one thing -- that I spoke to an author once who went out and interviewed the most successful women in the country, and Oprah and Diane Sawyer, and she found only one common thread amongst all of them. None of them had kids, and they were really angry about it.

They had been sold a bill of goods that they could do things in stages, and just when they were ready to have kids, go right ahead. We have to plan for these things. And these biological realities can be dealt with, but we have got to have the conversations, we`ve got to plan for it.

Let`s go to the phones.

Susan, what`s up?



SUSAN: How are you doing?

PINSKY: We`re good. What`s your question? Go right ahead.

SUSAN: My thing is I think that you can be a mom and you can have a career. It`s just a matter of prioritizing and making significant sacrifices.

When we chose to have children, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. We didn`t want to have our children and have someone else raise them.

And so I stayed home, and I worked nights. And when they are older and they`re in school, then I`ll go back to college and then I`ll start my career. But while they`re young, I choose to do my stuff at night and be a full-time mom during the day.

PINSKY: So your thing and Lora`s thing is do it in stages. So that works for her, evidently. And we don`t disagree with that. Do we?


PINSKY: All right. Let`s try another call. This is Lori. She`s in California.

Lori, what do you have to say for us?


Well, I chose to be a stay-at-home mom once I got pregnant because I was raised by a stay-at-home mom, and it was the best thing for our family. And we`re all still very close.

And my husband and I discussed this before we had our daughter. And as long as we have the means to, I`m going to stay at home.

PINSKY: All right.

LORI: So I was wondering what you thought about that.

PINSKY: All right.

So, again, we`re saying that`s her choice. That was hers. And Monika supports that strongly.

CIRSCH: I think it`s fantastic.

PINSKY: You think it`s fantastic.

SOMOZA: If you have the means, that`s great. But my feeling is there are so many people that don`t.

FINLEY: Well, ultimately, this is a personal decision. There`s no right answer for anybody. There`s no right answer for all women.


PINSKY: Do you think stay-at-home moms feel judged by their peers, their female peers at work?

SOMOZA: I think that they can.

PINSKY: I think that happens a lot.

SOMOZA: But I think that`s an insecurity that -- again, that`s a personal thing.

FINLEY: I know a lot of women, too, when they go back to work, that they have pressures that they say their male counterparts don`t have. For example, maybe a manager who`s looking over your shoulder a little bit more, wondering about, how committed are you, are you going to continue to do the same sorts of hours, are you still going to make the sacrifices for your career?

PINSKY: And that`s really -- and also, we don`t have a system that supports women doing things in stages. I mean, do you want to take five years off your professional career, or 10 years off --

FINLEY: We`re not Sweden.

PINSKY: It`s not Sweden. How do we get you back to work?

Here is a Facebook question. It is from Debbie. She asks, "What are the biggest cons" -- meaning the negative aspects" -- of being a stay-at- home mom.


CIRSCH: I was -- I couldn`t wait to be a stay-at-home mom, and I couldn`t wait to have a baby. Since I was very young, and I loved being a mom and everything. But it`s hard. It`s a lot harder than I thought.

PINSKY: Staying at home?

CIRSCH: Staying at home.

PINSKY: You sacrifice a ton.

CIRSCH: It`s a repetitive routine. There`s housework. You`re trying to be the best mom, you`re trying to get your social life in. I mean, it`s a balance. It`s really just about balance.

PINSKY: I want to remind you that you probably spent your entire life getting educated, getting a professional degree, being a professional, and then, boom, you`re stepping back.

CIRSCH: You`re cut off. My work family is --

PINSKY: They cut you off.

CIRSCH: -- and I feel disconnected from them already.

FINLEY: And you can get that sense, too, that life is going along without you. You see your friends achieving in their professional careers. You see people -- you see even just like the little perks that come with a paycheck.

SOMOZA: The happily ever after is still very much a myth.

PINSKY: Well, but I think what I`m taking away from this conversation is we need to come up with better systems to support women to make their choices, and do it flexibly, to do it in phases if they want.

FINLEY: Or better options for childcare so that you don`t have to worry.

PINSKY: We have got an issue. We need to keep this conversation going.

Now, when we come back --

SOMOZA: We need wives.

PINSKY: We need wives? Oh, you need a wife?


PINSKY: I`ll see what I can do for you.

When we come back, Kendra Wilkinson, but the Kendra you do not know.


PINSKY: She became famous for being Hugh Hefner`s girlfriend. Now, she`s an international sex symbol, but Kendra Wilkinson doesn`t see herself that way. Take a look.


KENDRA WILKINSON, STAR, ABC`S "DANCING WITH THE STARS": I don`t feel beautiful, you know. I feel like a boy, you know? And everybody thinks I`m like that "Playboy," like sexy girl that`s confident, and I`m not that, you know. This is about so much more than dancing for me. This is about being somebody that I never thought I could be. Oh, man.

PINSKY (voice-over): On TV, she plays that confident blonde. But if you think that`s the real Kendra, think again. Beneath the sexy centerfold image, there`s a fragile young woman whose insecurity is taking center stage on ABC`s "Dancing with the Stars."

WILKINSON: Carrie Ann kind of made me feel like trash when she was judging me and saying that I was afraid of elegance.


PINSKY (on-camera): Kendra`s here with me. Now, looking at her as this beautiful young mom, you would never guess that there`s a pretty heavy past. There was drugs, there was institutionalization. There`s all kinds of stuff. Kendra, we just heard you say you don`t feel like a girl. I got to say something. I wonder where that comes from. But more, you and I`ve been around together for a few years.


PINSKY: You used to visit my radio show, but I`ve never really sat down and really focused on you before. And we were talking just for a couple of minutes before we went on the air, and one the thing that struck me right away is you are really fragile.

WILKINSON: I am. I`m really fragile.

PINSKY: And you cover a lot with that beautiful smile. That smile comes up, and I think, ooh.


PINSKY: What`s behind that is really delicate.

WILKINSON: Yes. You only get so much time on TV. You don`t get, you know, your whole life on TV. You get a couple of minutes here and there. So, I try my hardest to hide, you know, that secret, that fragile --

PINSKY: The fragileness.


PINSKY: So, where did that fragility come from? You had a suicide attempt at a young age, right?

WILKINSON: Yes. I did.

PINSKY: Can you tell us about that?

WILKINSON: Well, I was a cutter. I went through a really depression part of my life.

PINSKY: When did the cutting start?

WILKINSON: It started right when I hit high school, like ninth grade, right when I entered high school.

PINSKY: You know, I wish we had you here a few days ago because we had some shows on cutting. Are you doing any education for kids about cutting or anything like that? I may use you for that.

WILKINSON: Oh, I would love to be a part of it.

PINSKY: Yes. Great.

WILKINSON: But no, I haven`t.

PINSKY: Where did you learn about it?

WILKINSON: You know, I was just very lost at that age. You know, I felt like nobody was there -- nobody understood me. I felt very lost and alone. I felt like I was, you know, just very cold and alone, and I felt nobody was understanding me, not even therapy. I went through therapy my whole life, and I didn`t even think that they were understanding what I was going through. So, I just felt cold, and the pain like helped me.

PINSKY: And was there -- was it a numbing you got from the cutting?


PINSKY: Numbing of pain that was already there?

WILKINSON: Yes. It was like --

PINSKY: What was the pain?

WILKINSON: Just being alone.

PINSKY: And were you alone at home? Was your family ruptured or something?

WILKINSON: You know, my dad left me at an early age. He left me and the family, and --

PINSKY: How old were you?

WILKINSON: I was about six years old.

PINSKY: You know what I found is really sort of brings -- shines a light on the pain for young girls when their dads leave, which I can see in your eyes now is there --


PINSKY: Is they don`t show up at birthdays.


PINSKY: They don`t show up at Christmas.

WILKINSON: Yes. I mean, it was -- you know, it was hard.

PINSKY: And that`s that icy cold alone feeling is your birthday, and your dad isn`t there.

WILKINSON: Oh, yes. Definitely, you know? I did. I felt alone. I felt like nobody was understanding me. I feel like, yes, there`s something missing in my life.

PINSKY: Did you blame your mom for his departure?

WILKINSON: No, no. I didn`t -- I mean, I blamed myself, because I remember the day that I had to choose who to live with. So, I blame myself.

PINSKY: Do you still --

WILKINSON: But I got past that.

PINSKY: You don`t blame yourself anymore?


PINSKY: Does that have something to do with your feelings about like you`re a tomboy or you`re a boy and not a girl? That hole (ph) seems all conflicted. What`s that all about?

WILKINSON: Because -- everybody has their way of healing, you know, when something bad and tragic happens. Everybody has their way of dealing with it. And my way of dealing with it was, you know, becoming an athlete and going into sports, and that was my way of feeling happy in that miserable time of my life. And, you know, like this is so interesting, because being in this dance world now like my partner, Louis, you know, he`s been through some struggling times when he was a kid, and he chose dance.

So, everybody has their ways of, you know, going into something and dealing with their -- what happened to them as a child. And, so, that`s what I mean. Like, I`m emotionally healed when it comes to sports. Like that`s my way of dealing with my pain.

PINSKY: But, then, it seems like you flipped from that successful strategy of using sports and your sort of masculine self to sexualizing yourself.

WILKINSON: But I was still a tomboy.

PINSKY: In your mind, but not in everybody else`s reading those magazines. You know what I`m saying?

WILKINSON: Yes, but --

PINSKY: You used that, and then you get into "Playboy" mansion, and people are going to -- I think I understand what that was about. How do you make people at home understand that?

WILKINSON: I actually look at it as a blessing in disguise. I mean, I know it`s hard to hear. It`s hard for outside people to really understand. But for me, I think it was a blessing in disguise that -- before I got to the mansion, I actually stripped. I was a stripper. And that actually -- I`m not joking, that actually was confidence for me. That actually gave me the confidence that I needed.

PINSKY: I hear that a lot from people that do that kind of thing, but usually, it`s some sort of often a traumatic re-enactment that we call it, like something there was some sort of sexual trauma as a kid, and you`re drawn back into sort of empowering yourself over that, and it might be something as simple as inappropriate touching by another child when you were six or something. Did anything like that ever happen to you?

WILKINSON: No. I was just in it for the money.


PINSKY: Well, there is that, too. You fit the right size and shape, but honestly, sometimes, things happen in childhood that kids sort of go, that was just playing doctor, and then, when you really think about it, it`s like, oh no, wait a minute, that was a little more.

WILKINSON: No. I mean, before I became a stripper, I actually was a dental assistant. And being a dental assistant was my joy. That was something I thought I was going to be for the rest of my life was a dental assistant or dental hygienist, but that wasn`t making me my money at that time, and I just felt like, at that time, I really wanted to branch out on my own. And, you know, live on my own at 18. And that money wasn`t --

PINSKY: I get that, but usually, the money -- I totally get you, but usually, the money doesn`t get people into stripping. It gets them stuck in it once they`re there.


PINSKY: It`s the getting into it. Again, that`s usually some sexual trauma. I don`t want to -- if you don`t want to talk this on television I totally understand.

WILKINSON: Oh, no. There was no sexual trauma there.

PINSKY: There had to be something. I don`t know if you want to talk about this. How old were you when you lost your virginity? Can you talk about that?

WILKINSON: I was 14.

PINSKY: OK. But you weren`t like 12 with a 19-year-old or something?

WILKINSON: No. I was the dominator.

PINSKY: How old was the guy? I`m not sure I want to know.

WILKINSON: The guy was my age, yes.

PINSKY: OK. See, again, that`s -- something, something. I don`t know.

WILKINSON: It`s just I think it just fell into my lap. I mean, it was just the time in my life. It was right for me at the time. I didn`t make my decisions off of my depression. I made them because of simple things like trying to make more money, like -- and I understand what you`re saying like if I would have stayed in, you know, stripping, yes, I totally understand that.

PINSKY: Let`s just look at how conflicted you felt even on "Dancing with the Stars." You`re like, I don`t feel like this sex object. It bothers me that people keep looking at me like that. And yet --

WILKINSON: Yes. I think --

PINSKY: That`s a big part of you.

WILKINSON: I think when you see me on the cover of "Playboy," when you see me dancing, and when you see that big smile on my face all the time, yes, sometimes, it`s like being in a superman costume. Like, I feel like I can zip it up and act like --

PINSKY: Your character.


PINSKY: Your cartoon character.

WILKINSON: Yes, of course. I mean, if I`m not, you know, like last week with "Dancing with the Stars," like I showed a real side of me. And people didn`t agree with it because, oh, now I`m considered, you know, a B- I-T-C-H because I`m being real. But, no, that was something real that came out. And, you know, that was real. That was the real side of me.

PINSKY: There`s a lot to talk about. I mean, you had drug and alcohol, I guess, abuse. I don`t know if you`re an addict, right?

WILKINSON: I wasn`t an addict. No.

PINSKY: Just lots of drug and alcohol use. All right. We have to take a break, and let me just point for people, there is a big difference between drug abuse which can be intense and drug addiction which they progress in process. It has a specific treatment and will go on progressing if you don`t get that treatment. We`re also going to talk about Kendra`s life with Hugh Hefner behind the closed door of the "Playboy" mansion. So, sit tight. We will be back in just a minute.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like you`re afraid of elegance.

WILKINSON: I just don`t care about it. For me, elegance is fake. It`s so fake for me. As she pointed out, the way I was holding you and said like that hold wasn`t elegant enough for me, then I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kendra is very sensitive to the sexy and elegant issue, but she has to understand that the judges are actually trying to help her.




WILKINSON: I think this (ph) is definitely best party, like I was getting really nervous, and there`s like I can`t help it.


PINSKY: All right. That was Kendra on E`s! "The Girls Next Door." Kendra became one of Hugh Hefner`s three girlfriends when she moved into the mansion when she was just 18, and Heff there is a spry 78. She also very sort of appropriately pointed out to me today that she is honored to be in my presence on 420 (ph) .


PINSKY: For those of you who don`t know what that means, I hope you`re part of our audience, by the way. We`d like to have you watching the show. So, -- and to point out on Kendra`s behalf, too, not an addict. You used a lot of drugs, not an addict.


PINSKY: There`s a difference there. You were wildly trying to deal with a lot of pain, as you mentioned.


PINSKY: Cutting, drugs, all that stuff is part of it, but you didn`t trigger an addictive disease.


PINSKY: But, you got drawn into a pretty interesting lifestyle there.


PINSKY: What drew you in?

WILKINSON: It was all timing. I mean --

PINSKY: I remember you said you were on the beach or something, and somebody came up to you. Isn`t that the story?

WILKINSON: Yes. I was on the beach, and I got a call from Hugh Hefner, himself, and he`s right then and there, he`s like, would you want to be one of my girlfriends and move into the "Playboy" mansion? I`m like, huh? I was like, who is this? I didn`t even know who he was. I mean, I didn`t even know. I mean, I guess a picture somehow ended up at the mansion, and he ended up seeing it and got my information off that picture. I mean, it just happened.


WILKINSON: It was crazy.

PINSKY: It is crazy, but you became a sex symbol and appeared in a number of "Playboy" issues. You`re going to be looking here at some of the covers of "Playboy." Kendra, what is it like to know that people do look at you -- well, you know what guys do. Does that bother you?

WILKINSON: I think it`s girls more.


PINSKY: Whatever.

WILKINSON: Yes, but I mean -- yes. I don`t like when guys look at me like that, though.


WILKINSON: I don`t like it.

PINSKY: And you`re a mom now, too. That`s got to be extra weird for you.

WILKINSON: Yes. Like, the other night, some guy comes up to me, and Hank just so happens to get up real quick, and you know, wants to talk to one of his friends, and a guy sits down right next to me, and goes, hey, sweetie, what`s in your glass? And I`m like, you better get up right now. Don`t even do that. Don`t even play like that. I don`t play like that.


WILKINSON: I don`t like that stuff. I don`t like when a guy looks at me like that.

PINSKY: Yes, yes, yes. And again, you made a lot of money doing that.



WILKINSON: My superman costume, remember that.

PINSKY: Which is what`s interesting, and again, if I could interrupt you and talk to my viewers that it`s a common thing that people aren`t aware. Celebrities often tell me that they feel like they`re playing a cartoon character.


PINSKY: And that that`s the celebrity that`s out into the world is not the real person. It`s a way of protecting the real person and also getting from the world what you need with what we call pseudo self. You do that.


PINSKY: So, Heff is your boyfriend?



PINSKY: OK. Really your boyfriend?

WILKINSON: No. No, no, no. It was -- you know, it was all fun. I mean, I understood like my position, and where I was. I was number three and everything, but, you know --

PINSKY: Holly was number one.

WILKINSON: Holly was number one. Bridget was number two, and I was three. And, you know, I went in for it because I was young. I was wanting to explore a little bit more than just seeing an inside of a strip club. So, I decided to do it and go.

PINSKY: You also said Heff saved your life. How is that?

WILKINSON: I think it`s because of where I was. You know, I was stripping at the time. I wanted to get out of stripping. I needed something -- I needed a way to get out of it. And he was my way of getting out of it. And, you know, I was looking into school. At the time, I was naturally distancing myself from stripping. And I was looking into school, looking into wanting to, you know, further myself in the dental, you know, field.

PINSKY: You were already a dental hygienist, though?

WILKINSON: Dental assistant.

PINSKY: Dental assistant. I see. Going to go on to hygienist --


PINSKY: OK. We have a Facebook question. Here it is. `Kendra, you seem to have more of a fatherly relationship with Hugh Hefner. Is that the case? And if so, was it difficult to have a sexual relationship with him? That`s our Facebook question.

WILKINSON: No, I wouldn`t call Heff a fatherly figure. He is a friend.

PINSKY: Grandfatherly.

WILKINSON: Grandfatherly figure, yes. No.

PINSKY: Then was it more difficult?

WILKINSON: No. I think Heff -- I mean, Heff is a great man. He`s always been so inspirational to my life. I mean, he -- it was never a boyfriend thing. It was never a boyfriend-girlfriend. You know, we knew we -- we knew what we were at that time. I mean, we were friends. We always would get together and watch boxing together, watch a sporting event together. I mean, it was -- yes, of course, there was, you know, sex involved, but it -- you know, it was all out of friendship.

PINSKY: Friends with benefits?


PINSKY: Do you have any bad feelings about it now?

WILKINSON: No, no, I don`t. You know, and if I were to look back on my life and really, you know, cry about something, that`s not something I would cry over.

PINSKY: What would you cry over?

WILKINSON: I guess the cutting part of my life and the drugs. I mean, that just wasn`t me. That`s just -- you know, I didn`t understand why I did that. I will never understand why I got into that. I don`t even like being on drugs. I never liked it. I just did it just to do it.

PINSKY: The way people like me think about it is that your emotions are so unregulated that you`re trying to feel better.


PINSKY: You`re just trying to get some relief.

WILKINSON: Yes. And attention. I can, you know, be honest and say I was doing it out of attention. Nobody was giving me the attention that I needed.

PINSKY: Particularly not dad.


PINSKY: And that`s something to cry over.

WILKINSON: Oh, yes. For sure.

WILKINSON: Do you have a relationship with him now?

WILKINSON: No, no. I mean, you know --

PINSKY: There`s that smile again.

WILKINSON: You know, through the grapevine, people, you know, of course, people know him, and they`re like, you know, me being in the spotlight and talking about this, like people get mad around him. And they go, you know, because he lies to them and says, oh, I try. I try. What? He tried to send me flowers on the day of my son`s birth. Come on.

PINSKY: So let`s go to motherhood. How`s that been?

WILKINSON: Oh, my God. Motherhood. I couldn`t have -- this is the highlight of my entire life. I mean, everything that I have learned in my life, I will use to my advantage with his life. I mean, I look back, and I look at the school that I went to. I mean, I`m not dogging the school. I`m dogging some of the teachers. I mean, they would be involved in a smoking weed and all that stuff. I will not let that happen with my son. I will be there. I will know each teacher he`ll be with.

PINSKY: Are those tears of joy you`re about to shed?

WILKINSON: Yes, yes. I mean, he is -- I mean, every morning, before I go to practice for "Dancing with the Stars," he and Hank come in and jump on mama and tackle me and kiss me good morning. And last night, I can tell you that it was one of the special moments in our life together. Baby Hank, we woke up Baby Hank just to wake him up just to have some time with him. Out of selfish reasons.

PINSKY: Of course.

WILKINSON: But -- and he was so happy, and he grabbed my head, and he grabbed Hank`s -- my husband`s head, and he puts them together, because he wanted to see us kiss. And then, he was so happy that he actually leaned in and kissed us both. And that`s my life. That`s life.

PINSKY: Sweet.

WILKINSON: That`s my drug.

PINSKY: Right. It`s a good one. More kids?

WILKINSON: Yes. yes.

PINSKY: How many?

WILKINSON: One more.

PINSKY: One more?



WILKINSON: I don`t know. I don`t know right now.

PINSKY: Are you pregnant now?

WILKINSON: No, no, no. I can`t be because I`m hypothyroid. So, I can`t be pregnant. But when I get better, I can`t wait.

PINSKY: Well, we have only scratched the surface with Kendra. We`re going to be back in a minute. We`re going to talk more about what her life is like off camera. But first, I want to turn to my colleague, Joy Behar, for a look at what`s coming up with her on her 420 show.

JOY BEHAR, HOST: Well, hi Drew. Let` see. I`ve got Donald Trump`s wife, Melania, on my show, and I want to know, you know, is he really going to run for presidency? I want to know what`s up with the birthists. I want to know, you know, if she has to call him Mr. Trump like they do on "The Celebrity Apprentice." I want to know if the son, Barron, has learned how to say "you`re fired" in Slovenic (ph). And I want to know what she thinks about his hair. Oh, it`s going to be great. I hope you`re going to watch.



WILKINSON: I think it`s time for me to move on. This is my first time, Heff, that I will be on my own.


WILKINSON: And, you know, there are things I`m nervous about, you know, because I`ve been here since I was 18.


PINSKY: Hugh Hefner actually looked distraught that you were leaving. That`s Kendra, of course, Kendra Wilkinson on E!s "The Girls Next Door" telling Heff that she was going to move out of the mansion and move on with her life. Now, you did. It must have been tough for him to let go of you. I can just see it in his face. Are you still friends?

WILKINSON: Yes, oh, yes. We email each other. We`re such close friends, yes.

PINSKY: All right. You end up getting married, having a baby, then Kendra suffered from something called postpartum depression. This is important for everyone out there. If you have any mood disturbance, there`s actually a postpartum psychosis, too, which sort of a manic thing, but the depressions are more common. If you have a mood disturbance in the first year after the delivery of a child, please talk to your doctor. These can be very, very serious.

You also, apparently, were very self-conscious about the weight you had gained, and that contributed to your depression, right? And, I guess, what helped you out of it was exercise and weight loss, and now, you`re actually a spokesperson for Ab Cuts which is a weight loss product.


PINSKY: Tell us about that.

WILKINSON: It`s an all healthy pill. It has no, you know --

PINSKY: No stimulants or appetite suppressants or anything?

WILKINSON: Yes, you don`t get addicted. It`s just, you know, it`s all healthy. So, it definitely helped with my metabolism, and that`s the one thing I needed to concentrate on after giving birth.

PINSKY: Is that product right here?

WILKINSON: Yes, yes.

PINSKY: (INAUDIBLE) It came in with you.

WILKINSON: My trophy.

PINSKY: You know, earlier in the show, Kendra, we were talking to women about so-called having it all, you know what I mean? Women have to work and be a mom and be a wife. I mean --


PINSKY: It kind of -- it hurts my feelings to think about all we lay at the feet of women. You`ve got a lot going on right now.


PINSKY: I bet it`s hard even just to leave your child in the morning.

WILKINSON: It really is. It definitely is. That`s why I make sure I leave before he wakes up or during naptime. I don`t want to -- I can`t say goodbye. It`s so hard for me. So, I try to avoid it. I try to go when he`s sleeping.

PINSKY: He`s the love of your life?

WILKINSON: He is the love of my life. And, yes, I mean, leaving, it`s -- it does. It brings some issues to mine and Hank`s relationship sometimes, because, yes, sometimes, I`m like, oh, I want to be is a stay at home mom, you know, but I`m happy that, you know, I do have that balance. Balance is very important, I think, for a woman.

PINSKY: Would you ever just do that, you stay at home for a while? Because another option is to do it in stages. This is what some women come to.

WILKINSON: Yes. I mean, I would be very happy to be a stay-at-home mom, but

PINSKY: Why don`t you?

WILKINSON: I don`t know, because I think this celebrity life actually helps me in a way too with my confidence. I think it does. I feel - like, right now, with my hair and makeup done, I feel pretty. I feel prettier than I would if I was sitting at home like --

PINSKY: Well, 30 minutes ago, you said you were a tomboy. Now, I`m totally confused.

WILKINSON: I know, but today, I look pretty.


PINSKY: Yes, you do. But I think the point is, again, trying to help people at home who are struggling with this, that balance is a good option.


PINSKY: And for some women, it is doing it in stages, isn`t it?

WILKINSON: Yes, I`m all about the yin and yang type of thing. I`m all about it. I think that everybody needs that balance. I mean, if you have too much of one thing, it`s overwhelming. If you have too less of something, it`s just --

PINSKY: So, eventually, being a stay-at-home mom would -- you would lose some part of you?

WILKINSON: Yes, I think so.

PINSKY: And then having more of yourself to be present as a parent is may be better for your child?

WILKINSON: Yes. I think I`m a hard worker. I love working hard. I love my fans. You know, my fans love me. I don`t want to just get lost. I want to keep showing my fans that I appreciate them. That`s why I`m doing what I`m doing is because of them.

PINSKY: Well, we appreciate you coming here and talking to me and being so honest and you`re such a great guest. It`s so fun to talk to you, it really is.


PINSKY: And I hope you lots of success and I hope you win with "Dancing with the Stars."

WILKINSON: Thank you.

PINSKY: No matter who are those judges to tell you you`re not a good dancer, anyway?


PINSKY: Thanks to all of you out there. We will see you next time.