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Social Media and the Delivery Room

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In a world of constant media access, when is the appropriate time to share the news about your new baby? Should you live tweet your labor? What about snapping a selfie within minutes of birthing your child? In today’s always-on society, the question seems to be how soon during or immediately after should you share the big news. But what about waiting hours before making the announcement?

Social Media and the Delivery Room

Last week as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across this status update from my friend Dan Vukmirovich:

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO TODAY, my wife, Lisa and I sat in a hospital room… having brought [our daughter] into the world. It was just after 4am and before the days of Facebook, smart phones and instant messaging. So, Lisa and I made a very specific decision. For around 2 hours we kept this brand new little girl a secret – ALL TO OURSELVES – for just 2 hours. This was an amazing time together to simply PAUSE and BE with our girl.

We took time to hold, kiss, feed, and smell this sweet bundle of joy. But even more we took the time to pray for her life. That it would have impact to bring more of God’s love into this world. That her light would SHINE BRIGHTLY. We dreamed for a couple hours of how she might grow and who she might become. The wondrous and beautiful thing about being a parent is that we generally underestimate a lot of what our kids will mean to us. Looking at this picture I KNOW that I INSTANTLY loved our new baby, but the truth is, I didn’t really know her. NOW, 15 years later, I KNOW my daughter and I can say that I love her INFINITELY more because of the time we have spent together.

I was struck by the beauty of this, and not just because of the love he has for his daughter, but also because of that intentional time that he and his wife took to keep their little girl a secret from the rest of the world, so that the three of them could get to know one another.

As I thought about this, I began to wonder how much intentionality we have for our post-birth delivery room moments. I had my first two children before social media became all-consuming. By the time I had my third child, I was on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn…and checking each of them more frequently than necessary.

My third child was born early in the morning and I remember wanting to share the news with all my friends and followers. But for an hour or so after having her, I was seeing spots. I’m not sure if it was low blood pressure or blood sugar, but my vision was somewhat impaired and I had a hard time looking at the screen on my iPod to be able to write and post a status update. And it was good. Because instead of announcing to the world that our little girl had been born, my hands were free to cuddle, nurse and embrace her.

Sure, technology can be a wonderful thing, but reading Dan’s words once again, I am struck by how peaceful, serene and intentional those two hours after birth were. They weren’t interrupted by pings and notifications of congratulations. Lisa wasn’t busy primping for a selfie. They were silent and still and consumed by becoming a family. It was a sacred moment.

Much has changed over the last few years when it comes to our sharing habits. Interestingly enough, Dan’s post came at the same time that another friend was experiencing a home birth. She had friends on hand who were photographing, documenting and sharing her progress on Facebook and Instagram. And there was much beauty in it as well. Those photos of a focused and peaceful mom having a natural birth did a lot to normalize birth for others who saw the pictures. I give her kudos for openly sharing her journey, so others could learn from it.

So the question is: does social media have a place in the delivery room? I’m not saying there is a right or a wrong answer, but what I am saying is that all of this should be considered before labor begins. While I talk a lot about making a birth plan and being intentional about your choices in pregnancy, and labor and delivery, I’d like to challenge all you moms-to-be out there to also consider what your post-baby moments will be like. (Of course, this conversation best applies to normal, vaginal births where the mother has more of a voice and the ability to practice skin-to-skin contact, which isn’t always the case with c-sections where the mother is heavily drugged and being sutured, and the baby is being examined by the medical team.) Think about how you want to spend those first minutes and hours together. Invite whomever you want into the delivery room. Maybe that’s just you and your baby. Maybe it’s all of your Facebook friends. Just remember, this is your birth, your baby, your choice.

Comment below and tell us your thoughts. What were your post-birth moments like? Did you have time to cuddle, nurse and bond? When did you tell the world the news?

Want to share your birth, pregnancy, breastfeeding or motherhood experience with us? Here at Unexpectant, we believe that every woman has a story and that every story matters. We believe that through open dialogue, we can support and encourage one another through our motherhood journeys. So, what’s your story?

{Photo credit}

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