Since it’s Labor Pains Week on Mommyish, I figured I’d add to the conversation with a similarly-themed column. Except, instead of sharing heartfelt stories about childbirth, I’ve put together a collection of labor-related status update Don’ts. Because no matter how many times I try to reinforce the STFU, Parents Basics, people continue to post TMI updates about labor and delivery.
First, though, I want to quickly clarify something: I enjoy posting about labor around Labor Day because I enjoy puns, not because I think we should change the meaning of the day from “celebrating the economic and social contributions of workers” to “celebrating moms.” Why do I feel that way? Well, that’s easy. Aside from thinking that celebrating “moms” on Labor Day would be in slight opposition to the true meaning of the day, there’s also a holiday called Mother’s Day that doesn’t just celebrate women who “labored” through childbirth, but rather celebrates all mothers. I make this distinction because I noticed that Pampers posted this joke on Twitter last weekend:
Nothing against Pampers, but this tweet is essentially meaningless. It’s like if I said we’re changing the meaning of Memorial Day to commemorate dead pets. Nice sentiment, but WTF would that even mean? So just as a reminder, today’s column is a twist on the word “labor,” whereas Labor Day is about something other than procreating. Unless you count job creation or something. Just kidding.
Here are some examples of things people shouldn’t post on social media that pertain to labor and childbirth.
1. Code Red Upgrades
Three things worth noting in this submission:
1. Dani only called four of the seven people she addresses in her status update, but they all deserved to be called out on Facebook.
2. Sure, she’s joking when she talks about “code red upgrades” and “random inspections,” but how much can a person really joke about something as serious as labor? Are we not talking about the birth of a human baby?? Pay attention to your phones, people.
3. Emily’s excitement almost comes across as fear. Stay strong, Emily. Momzillas are demanding and terrifying creatures, especially when they take to Facebook to “lightly mock” their friends. It’s all passive-aggressive jokes about never coming to see the baby after that.
2. Labor FAQs
The weird thing about this submission is that I don’t know who M. is or what she’s talking about. But I will say that this kind of message is the reason I don’t usually like chain status updates and “viral” photos. The caption is awkward and unpleasantly worded, and “Can you imagine it now, the mother’s pain and love?” sounds like something you might read in a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet. Call me crazy, but I don’t check Facebook in the hopes of being proselytized to. And while I could be wrong, I’m of the opinion that most people don’t like reading about “20 bones (hypothetically) simultaneously getting fractured” on their lunch break. It is a fascinating analogy, but a little heavy-handed for noon on a Tuesday.
3. Live Birth Updates
It’s almost like the trend of live-tweeting or Facebook-ing one’s labor and delivery has become old news. Everybody’s doing it, and they have an über fancy birth photographer to boot! Personally, I’m a traditional fuddy-duddy who still believes that it’s possible to have a baby without telling the world when the baby is physically being pushed out. I may soon be a minority in this regard, but I will never think it’s a good idea to broadcast the enlargement of a woman’s cervix on Facebook. Eric and I seem to have that in common.
4. Crowning Pics
This is a beautiful moment captured on film in 2002. So why was it uploaded to Instagram in 2012? And why would someone share such an intimate picture with a network of strangers? I know Oprah talks about teachable moments, and the Internet can be used as a platform to educate women about methods of childbirth, but that doesn’t mean water-birth pictures belong on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If there’s one thing my mother’s told me since the day I was born, it’s to try to keep my clothes on in public. I tend to think that rule applies to posting birth pool photos on the Internet, too.