Mums share far too much information

Mummy blogging is so yesterday—now new parents are posting their birth videos online

Days after the Herald revealed, somewhat behind the eight ball, bless them, that New Zealand mothers are getting in on the international mummy blogger trend, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that American mothers have upped the ante. Big time.

It is no longer enough to share with all and sundry that you spent the morning cleaning spit-up off three dozen organic-cotton bibs and performed a puppet show about the giant turtles of the Galapagos Islands and expect people to be impressed. Now if you want to be a trendy, right-on mummy you gotta post your birth online. Apparently YouTube boasts an am-cam selection of bathtub births, Caesars and hypnosis-aided births posted by new mums who just love to give back.

There really is such a thing as too much information and this is it.

A woman from California told the New York Times that she found these films very helpful, and was so moved when she watched some German guy rub his partner's back during labour that she cried.

I nearly cried too when hubby and me were subjected to birthing videos at our antenatal group—from embarrassment and suppressed mirth. Firstly, a birth is an incredibly intimate experience and seeing strangers go through it, while surrounded by virtual strangers in an airless church hall decorated with posters of the birth canal, made my cheeks flame. Secondly, all official birth videos used for sex-ed and birthing classes were shot sometime between 1972 and 1993. The fashions are hilarious.

Watching an Auckland couple circa-1990 welcoming their second child into the world at their home was, admittedly, a memorable experience. But it wasn't that I picked up tips for my own childbirth so much as developed an even stronger preference for painkillers and privacy. The image of the couple's older child toddling in to the bedroom to check on proceedings and the father's colour-block jersey and gigantic eyeglasses will take years to expunge. Not to mention the family portrait shot minutes after the birth, when the mother pulled the baby and still-attached umbilical cord from between her legs for some impromptu memory-making.

Admittedly, I have never been a let-it-all-hang-out kinda gal. But every person who has heard about the umbilical-cord portrait was surprised, and not in a gee-that's-cool way.

As far as instruction goes, really I don't think there's anything that can prepare you for childbirth. It's a hell of a day and thank goodness you don't have to do it on a weekly basis. Enough said.

Besides, our ancestors managed to do it—once a year, some of them—without the aid of some tech-savvy American chick. My great-grandmother gave birth in a wooden shack in Paraguay multiple times, for goodness sake. I think I can imagine her reaction to an online birthing vid—and it wouldn't have been to set up a camera at the foot of the bed.

But I don't actually think this trend is really about helping other mothers. It's just the latest way of sharing every blinking aspect of your life with the world (think facebook, twitter, reality television, the memoir publishing explosion) so that people won't forget that you exist.