Like many millennials, I live a life deeply invested in social media. Whether it’s my social life, my hobbies or my beliefs anyone anywhere can easily take a look at any of my profiles and figure out a lot about me. It’s a risky lifestyle my generation takes; we forfeit a lot of our privacy and risk the wrong people seeing unwanted sides of us. The internet is littered with testimonials of job losses and Catfish-esque relationships gone wrong, but we continue to release our personal lives for all to see. So as I enter into pregnancy, I’ve created a blog that I plan to use to discuss an extremely personal event in life, but what role will social media play in even the deepest and darkest parts of this experience?
Wylie recently came across an article detailing one woman’s experience live-tweeting her entire pregnancy, exposing herself, her partner and their child, and while I’ve never been one to censor myself, I was astounded at how much she shared. The article, posted by Huff Post’s Parents section, made me question how much of this was really necessary to show to the world and at what point social media becomes too personal. But as my loving partner pointed out labor isn’t as magical as it’s cut out to be. It’s scary, messy, a little inappropriate and extremely personal.
But as an expecting father I know very little of this whole process and it’s soul-baring testimonials like this that help us all understand it. I won’t say I completely understand what she’s going through here, but being in touch with all her thoughts, feelings and emotions is a pretty crazy thing. Not too mention that as messy as this all looks, creating an actual life and bringing it into this world is about the most beautiful thing any human, man or woman, can do. So there’s that.
On the other hand people have been videotaping their births for as long as personal camcorders have been available, so this isn’t an entirely new thing. The question has to be asked though, what happens with those videos? Do you hold a viewing party for your friends and family complete with pregnancy themed snacks and cocktails? When your kid is 15 and hates you, do you re-watch it to remind yourself how hard you worked to bring them here and that it’s not worth killing them? It doesn’t quite seem like that valuable of a thing to have, but God knows I won’t be telling my Baby Mama that. The apparent upside to social media is that it connects you to family and friends not directly in the room as well as other parents and would-be parents interested in the process of pregnancy.
It’s also worth noting that this woman chose a home birth through a midwife, where this personal experience is openly shared. It makes you question though how different these tweets would have been with a team of doctors and nurses, and pain meds in the equation. Clinical is the word that comes to mind.
While I’m not certain the Twitterverse will be following the play-by-play of my partner’s birthing process, I’m excited to continue to blog and tweet about my thoughts and opinions. This is all a new learning process and although this is far from investigative journalism (I’m avoiding AP Style Books right now) I’m doing as much research as I can to somewhat understand all of this. So as opposed to posting embarrassing pictures and talking about comic book news, my social media feeds will be flooded with baby news, baby research and, in about 9 months, embarrassing baby pictures.
Of course this will all be anonymous until I get up the nerve to tell my father about the pregnancy, but hey we’re working on it. There’s nothing scarier to a father-to-be than their own father. Or their future father-in-law. Or their pastoral “father.” Pretty much unmarried pregnancy scares the shit out of fathers of all sorts. But hey parenting is all about conquering fears… and dirty diapers.
-Dad In Training