For most of us, childbirth is an intimate and intensely personal event. We are wary of letting our partners see the goings on "down there," never mind thousands of strangers. But for some women, the desire to be candid and transparent has convinced them to post their labour videos publicly.
Such was the case for British mom, Gemma Vaughan, who shared graphic footage of her son Freddie's birth on YouTube.
The 25 year-old was moved to record a no holds barred 39-minute account of birth, which has been viewed more than 16,000 times. She did the same with her second child, Oliver. The videos are part of a growing trend, just one of some 1.3 million such videos on YouTube. In a way, it's an extension of the camcorder age in which parents record a baby's every significant "first" — including his first breath — except in this case the audience is the world
Vaughan wanted to be as upfront as possible, as she feels shows like One Born Every Minute give a sanitized, highly edited version of labour.
And health care professionals don't always give moms-to-be the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to childbirth and its aftermath.
"I attended birth classes and the midwives admitted they often kept the more negative aspects of pregnancy and childbirth from mothers because they didn’t want to scare them," said Vaughan. "My argument is that at least if you’re informed about what’s coming, you won’t be as scared when it does happen."
The response to her video has been overwhelmingly supportive, though time will tell how her children will feel about seeing their moms give birth.
"Do I feel funny that men at my work might see me giving birth? Not really," admits Vaughan. "No one has ever said anything negative and if they do, well, that’s their opinion. The positive really outweighs the negative for me."
The birth of my son was a magical moment in my life. It was also a highly vulnerable, and not exactly dignified moment. Filming the proceedings would have felt like a voyeuristic PSA, and that was totally not for me. Yet I admire these women for putting themselves out there for the greater good.
You tell me: Ever watched a live birth video? Is it TMI or akin to a public service?