Most people would not dream of streaming their birth live on the internet or inviting strangers to be there as a piece of performance art. But just how public and immediate should your birth story be? With social media, it’s easy to have an audience of friends and family waiting for the minute by minute details. If you are thinking about posting your birth on Twitter or Facebook, here are some things to consider:
Who will see it? These days, not everyone you are “friends” with on Facebook is really someone you know. You have even less control over Twitter followers. Do you really want relative strangers knowing that you are away from your home and will be for quite some time? Do you want them knowing the current status of your cervix?
What will others do with the information? You can control what information you put out there. You cannot control what they do with it. I have seen family members show up to the birth – uninvited – after seeing on Facebook that mom was in labor. It got awkward since the parents did not want them there. While you might want to have people thinking of you and sharing your joy in real time, it also means they are waiting for a follow up. Once you put it “out there” that you are in labor, expect a large response of people calling/texting/posting wanting updates. It might make it difficult to focus on your labor.
What will you do with the responses you get back? Similarly, the responses you get may not always be supportive and positive. Some people have nothing better to do than to criticize the choices of those around them. I had one instance where mom was planning a home birth but when complications arose transferred to the hospital. Her husband had posted on Facebook hoping for support from friends and family but instead got responses like “Good! Home delivery is for pizza, not babies.” and “I told you that you’d never be able to do it naturally.” Both comments hurt the parents feeling deeply at a time when they were feeling scared and vulnerable about the change in plans. Might be a good idea to have someone else filter out the unhelpful comments you may receive back and only pass on the helpful stuff.
I urge you to think carefully about what you put out there on the internet. Sometimes staying off the radar until the big “It’s a GIRL!” or “He’s HERE!” announcement might be the wisest thing to do.