Did you know: When anonymously polled, women reported having up to four separate incidence of false labor. During these so called false starts the women reported timeable, consistent, contractions that lasted between 30 and 60 seconds, for upward of 4 hours at a time and then suddenly stopping.
When I first became a Doula, a million years ago, in 2003, before FaceBook, Instagram or even Twitter; it took considerable effort to spread a rumor, and there was no need for "labor announcement etiquette". Now, with a simple mouse click you can notify friends, family, acquaintances, and enemy stalkers at the same time. While your intentions may simply be to notify people that labor has begun, or ask for prayer and well wishes; others see it as an invitation to offer heaps of unwanted advice and to send "How are you doing? Is the baby hear yet?" messages every hour, on the hour.
So, when is the right time to announce, on social media, labor has begun? It is this doula's opinion that the best time to announce labor has begun is AFTER the baby has been born.
Why? Because it is common for labor to start, then stop, multiple times before it actually progresses to the point of no return. Because although your water may have broken and you may have some bloody show, and are steadily losing your mucous plug; it is possible for contractions to be nowhere in site for hours, sometimes even days! Because after being up all night coping with contractions that demanded your attention, you might want uninterrupted rest. Who wants to field all those calls and answer the text messages explaining over, and over, and over again, why you aren't in the hospital and why your baby hasn't been born yet? Because stress has a direct effect on your body's ability to let go and birth. Because giving birth is hard work and requires focus, and having your attention split in a million different directions just won't work while giving birth. Because, although you are given a due date, it isn't an expiration date. Only 5% of women give birth on their due date. That means, if you are like 95% of every other pregnant woman in the world, you will give birth up to 2 whole weeks AFTER your estimated due date! That's equates to a lot of phone calls and Facebook messages from people asking if you've given birth yet!
Alternatives you may want to consider BEFORE labor begins:
- As your due time inches closer; send a mass announcement asking everyone to please not text, call, or message. Assure everyone that you will make a public announcement once your baby is born.
- Communicate! Explain why you've come to this decision. It helps prevent unnecessary hurt feelings and misunderstandings, and best of all it educates people on proper etiquette.
- Create a list of people who you want notified once labor begins, as your birth progresses, and birth is eminent.
- Select one person on that list to disperse the information to whomever you want
- Let the people on the list know they are on a short list of people being notified and ask for them to keep any information they receive private.
- Be specific with your birth team and people "in the know". Let them know exactly what information and photos you want shared publicly on social media.
Most importantly, TRUST that the same way your body knows how to breathe enough to keep you alive, and pump enough blood to your organs and extremities, without your help; your body surely knows how and when to go into labor. You haven't had to remind your body to nourish your baby and grow it's tiny eye lashes or finger nails, and you won't have to remind your body to let your baby out! It will happen!!!