Will my wife slap me if I post her “labour” face?

Mobile devices that keep you connected with the world at large are now pregnancy and delivery-room essentials. But make sure your social-media use doesn’t cross the line…

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When is it too much? Mail Online had a story on 10 November, about a father whose picture of himself grinning insanely while his wife is in labour went viral. We do wonder what happened after she read the reactions online…

            But giving birth used to be a fairly intimate affair — with just the doctor and/or midwife in attendance, and possibly, the spouse. Today however, a baby’s entry into this world is becoming increasingly public, with many mums sharing details (yes, even gory ones), on their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and personal blogs. It’s become par for the course for today’s labouring mums to post up-to-the-minute tweets that track every detail from cervical dilation to baby’s crowning. Many are even sending selfies moments before and after their babies’ births.

            Says mum of two, Carolyn Ng, 30, “We are used to sharing every aspect of our lives — from the meals we cook, to what we buy on shopping trips and ‘outfits of the day’. Why not share our baby’s birth?”

            Dr Christopher Chong, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital, notes that all his patients bring their mobile phones when they check in for labour. “I suspect all gynaes are seeing this phenomenon. Since the majority of my patients use epidural these days, they can happily use the mobile phone when they’re in labour as they aren’t in pain,” he explains.

Using Social Media for Support

Indeed, the Facebook support group Melony Chay, 28, mum to Delia, 5 months, cheered her on when she in labour. “It was like having this huge community of girlfriends going through the same thing with me…and it made the labour all the more bearable.”

            Certainly, women who feel that giving birth is their biggest achievement are eager to spread the news to families and friends. Facebook is a very easy way to share happy birth announcements. “Plus, it’s trendy. People respond faster, too,” notes Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre.

            Says Ng, mum to Joash, 1, and Germaine, 2, “Mere minutes after I popped, I got my husband to post a baby picture, along with the time of Joash’s birth, as well as his weight and length,” she chuckles. Within a day, well-wishers had sent her close to 300 “likes” and congratulatory messages. “It makes me feel united with everyone I know, whether they’re near or far,” she adds.

            Do remember, though, that not everyone is keen to share your joy. Geraldine Tan, 39, mum to Giselle, 2, and Dexter, 8, is one such. She elaborates, “After having Dex, we tried for years to have another baby and had two miscarriages. It was a dark period for me and I would wince every time I saw another birth or pregnancy announcement.”

            Xu Jia Yin, 30, mum to Holly, 3, hates it when new mums proclaim online that theirs was a smooth natural delivery. “It implies that a natural delivery is superior. I admit it could be a case of sour grapes, as I had to do an emergency C-section when I delivered Holly,” she says. She cites the example of her former new-mum colleague who had posted that women who chose C-sections were missing out on a big baby-bonding opportunity. “I was fuming and couldn’t look her in the eye for days,” she recalls.

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