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Sex, Birth & Videotape

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#1 daviesjv

Posted 16 November 2009 - 09:37 AM

“Has anyone ever videotaped the birth of their child? We’re having our first baby in January and my hubby recently bought a new digital video recorder so that we can record our daughter’s (we’re having a girl) development over the years on film. All good.

He’s now decided though that he also wants to videotape the birth. Not as in the first few moments of bonding after she’s born but the whole process of labour from the pushing to the crowning head etc, etc.

He’s really, really, really passionate about the idea and I’m really, really, really uneasy about it. I don’t even like photographs of myself, I know that I will definitely not like seeing myself on film giving birth.

He’s told all our friends and family that we’re taping the birth and my biggest fear is that if we go ahead and do it that he’ll show the video to some of them. Even if I tell him not to sometimes he does things impulsively without thinking.

I’ve told him I don’t want to video it – he keeps telling me to reconsider, because I might really regret it down the track. What do your readers think? I’d be interested to know if any of them have taped their birth?


Firstly, you haven’t said what sort of birth you’re having, or where, so I’m assuming that you can tape it? If so – well – hmmmmm. It’s definitely not something that I’d do, but that’s just me.

To help you out I have asked columnist, author and social commentator Susan Maushart  - who is also a mother of three – for her take on it.

“My gut feeling is that if she’s uncomfortable with it then don’t go there - she has to make the final call,” says Susan. “There is very little that you can control in your birth experience; you can do lots of preparation but ultimately it’s in the lap of the gods. But there are a few things that you can do to ensure your own peace of mind and one of them is deciding who is going to be present and what is going to be present at your birth, and a video camera is potentially a very intrusive thing for a lot of people.”

A, Susan believes that you wouldn’t be likely to regret your decision down the track: “I’ve been lucky enough to see videos of others peoples births and thought they were wonderful and fantastic and just inspiring,” she says. “So I’m not opposed to the idea at all. But by the same token Ive had three kids – three really amazing childbirth experiences that are in many ways the highlights of my life -  and I don’t have a video of any of them. They are not one iota dimmed in my memory except perhaps in a good way!”

And Susan points out that a video introduces a perspective on the event that isn’t yours. “A video is not going to capture the experience as it really is because that is something that happens from within and from the perspective of where her eyes are, not from where the video camera’s eyes are,” she says. “The ultimate record of this event  is inside of her. Nobody can take that away from her.”

With regards to your husband, A, perhaps point out to him that if he is glued to a video camera throughout the birth he could well find that it diminishes his experience of the birth, which would be a shame. “Being a photographer really interposes something major between yourself and the experience,” says Susan. "If you are really lost in what you are doing, you probably shouldn’t be taking photos. Let him concentrate his energy on her.”

Good luck with the decision, A. And at the end of the day if you end up with a healthy little daughter then that is the only thing that really matters.

EB Members: Have you ever videoed your birth? Is it something you would ever consider?

#2 TheStick

Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:31 PM

My hospital does not allow video cameras during birth, so the decision was simple.  

Honestly, I wouldn't want to anyway.  It really was not a pretty moment and I certainly wouldn't be comfortable sharing it with anyone.  Maybe from the moment the baby is put on your chest would be nice, but nothing prior to that for me thanks!

#3 belindarama

Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:55 PM

Don't do it if you are not comfortable. People talk about dignity going out the window when you are pregnant/in labour. To some extent that is true but you still have some say! I know for sure I would not be comfortable with a videoptape of my labour floating around, especially if I thought my husband might pull it out at our next dinner party. We discussed this briefly and neither of us were keen. I would not pull off my knickers and flash our friends and family on any other day and I really did not see the difference for my own piece of mind. Imagine looking your husband's father or best mate in the eye after they've seen that! Some people will probably say it is beautiful/natural and so on but you don't have a personality transplant just because you have a baby and feel comfortable being so exposed when you wouldn't normally-if you would prefer it was a beautiful, private experience that needs to be respected.

No matter how much your husband wants to do this it is your body, your dignity and your labour being caught on camera. It is your choice and you should feel comfortable saying no to this. Enough people will be prodding and poking your naked body in ways that would horrify you in any other situation! No need to have it on tape as well if you are not 100% into it. You will remember the experience and you won't regret the decision.

#4 samson

Posted 16 November 2009 - 03:39 PM

As long as it is your vagina being filmed, it is your decision - end of discussion!!!

Perhaps a compromise could be him filming from near your head, so he can capture the baby being lifted up but not your nether regions.  That would depend of course on whether you trust him to stay at your head and respect your wishes, because in the spur of the moment you may not be in any position to assert your wishes to him.

#5 offbeatMof4

Posted 16 November 2009 - 03:41 PM

Wow! Good luck with it all. If you were all for it then I'd say go for it BUT as a childbirth educator I think your husband needs to know a little more about what happens to your body in labour. Our instincts tell us to make this a private and safe event - which is why many birth places minimise people coming into the room or darken things and often midwives tell mums to stay home as long as possible ...and why often labour stops or slows when you come into hospital. If you were in any way conscious that this could be made public (and we know you are) then when the video switches on, so does a bit of adrenaline in your body. It perceives the video as a threat. And that adrenaline is telling you that you are going to need to run away or stand and fight - and you can't have a baby while you are doing those things. So it switches off the labour and sends all the blood flow and effort to you arms and legs - ready for a different sort of action. So in my opinion, having the video camera on during your birth is very likely to increase the length of your labour and perhaps cause it to be difficult in a way that might not have happened if it were left outside.
Also, if you allow him to film it after all that, then make sure he strips naked in the room while it is being filmed. I think it is the only way you can guarantee that no-one innappropriate might see it. Or maybe he could perform a naked macarena in front of the lens before heading behind it to film you in all your glory. Maybe a good option would just be that he has the camera there for immediately afterwards. And maybe him watching a few extra births on film before the event might help him get it out of his system. I wish you all the best for a private birth experience.

#6 ~M~

Posted 16 November 2009 - 03:51 PM

I did with my first two sons and if my OB and the hospital still allow it, intend to do so with my third.

With my first, other half filmed the contractions and the hour I was using the gas, and then it cuts to me holding DS#1 on my chest just after his cord has been cut, beaming and staring at him in awe.

With DS#2, the whole thing was filmed - contractions, pushing and all BUT from the other side of the room with no 'juicy shots' whatsoever. In fact, my younger sister and closest family and friends have been able to watch both videotapes as I am completely comfortable with what can (or rather can't) be seen.

The reason I chose to have my children’s births videotaped is because I figured it would be something I would want to remember and look back on for the rest of my days.

The added bonus has come around lately; for the last few years, DS#1 asks to see the tape of his birth. He knows it by heart but still adores watching it. In our first few moments together, he starts to whimper and I kiss his forehead and whisper that I love him and straight away he settles down. When we watch this part together now, he always smiles, hugs me tight and says "see mummy, even then I loved you already". It's an amazing bonding process than never wanes with time, we can never get sick of watching it and every time we do, other half and I always smile at each other warmly and live through this amazing journey again.

I hope as DS#2 grows up we will also start this tradition, and I also hope I will be lucky enough to catch D?#3's birth on video again. I really wouldn't have it any other way wub.gif

#7 alexbot

Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:06 PM

Nooooooo!!!  I find the whole new "tradition" disturbingly documentarian in its attitude toward everyday life, and just downright... weird.

Must everything be on videotape these days?  Be there, experience it, remember it together, but why... video?  Who is going to be running the video camera?  Won't they have something more important, more _engaged_ to be doing?  

And why on earth would anyone ever want to watch a video of a birth?  I simply don't get it.  I certainly wouldn't want to see my own, and I remember my boys' vividly.

#8 alwayshappy

Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:10 PM

I have video's all three of my vaginal births.  I can't say I've really watched them as they are still on small tapes and haven't been transferred to DVD or something watchable.
I have watched them back through the lense and I wouldn't change a thing about having them filmed.  Fortunately, my DH has no interest in sharing them with anyone - I'd be more likely to do that than he would.  I see birth as a beautiful, natural experience and I would be fairly open to people sharing that experience - warts and all.  However, I would want FULL control over who saw it.  And it's in my posession, so I do.
My eldest daughter (8) has watched her birth and enjoys it.  The kids see it as a natural thing and have an understanding of what a natural birth looks like.
More than anything though, I have it so I can look back on it and remember that most magical moment when my darling children came into my life.  I'm very glad I have those video's and I am very glad I captured such a profound moment in my life.
I do think that the DH in the above scenario does need to really listen to his wife and her fears about the video as I agree that it can certainly impede delivery if she doesn't feel comfortable.  Lots of discussions need to occur before they can move forward and ultimately, I think it is the wife's decision.  I like the idea of shooting from the head so that all the more private bits are not exposed - perhaps that's a compromise.

Edited by alwayshappy, 16 November 2009 - 04:12 PM.

#9 samanthan

Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:37 PM

ds1 filmed ds2's birth. He's very proud of his work Tounge1.gif I wasn't sure but figured I could always delete it if I wanted but am happy we have it now. It was a home water birth and is filmed from the front so you can't actually see the actual birth. I am naked in it but that's ok. I have shared it with a few friends but I haven't made it into a DVD or anything. If ds wants to do this baby he can but I'm secretly hoping it will be the middle of the night and they'll all be asleep  wink.gif

Edited by samanthan, 16 November 2009 - 07:37 PM.

#10 Tooth-Fairy

Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:40 PM

I had a scheduled c/s with DS2 and was intending to use the still camera to capture those first moments.  However, somehow either DH or I forgot to bring in the battery for it - we had it on charge and just left it behind.  I was sooooo disappointed.  The memory of my previous 2 births - one vaginal and one c/s had not dimmed, but I really wanted a couple of 'still wet' photos of this little one.  

Anyway, we had the video camera and were planning to use it in recovery.  When we got into theatre, someone - who must have been official! - asked us if we were going to use the video, so we did.  It is amazing.  I am so glad I have this video, first seeing his little face, hearing "It's a boy, a beautiful boy, congratulations!" , hearing his first little cry, seeing us first meeting him and what we said, all the hussell bussell going on around us and the other theatre staff congratulating us and cooing over how gorgeous he is, the ostetrician talking all his medical speak to the 2 students he had - the girl was crying because it was her first birth.

So while I will never forget any of my children births and they truely are right up there with the highlights of my life, it is simply amazing having this event recorded on film.  I won't show everyone - but I have shown the older kids several times and if a close friend or family member wanted to see it, I would show them but not give them a copy.  It is a truely personal moment and I watch it over myself about a couple of times a month.

#11 new~mum~reenie

Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:05 PM

I loved Jacobs birth and wish that we did film it - just for us.  

The reason being that my memory is skewed due to the endorphins - and some thing si thought happened slowly happened quite quick etc.

The student MW at his birth took photographs after the birth, and DH took 2 of me in labour between contractions - but I think it would have been good to see more - like how I moved through contractions etc. And I always figure if I don't want to keep it I can distroy or delete it.

But I would not be happy for DH to share them 'willy nilly' (but DH wouldn't anyway).

#12 voyagersaus

Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:52 AM

Your body, your decision.  If the silly man can't see that then... he's pretty silly!!

Each to their own.  I would be no more comfortable having someone film one of my long, gory and painful births than I would having someone film me having a pap smear, or sex.  

Perhaps you can film the vasectomy, when he has it?  Or his next manual prostate check?

A few happy snaps of the day will help you remember (what you didn't want to blank out), but I think filming the whole thing is a tad... creepy and inappropriate.

Just one person's opinion! wwhistle.gif

#13 daviesjv

Posted 17 November 2009 - 11:45 AM

"...make sure he strips naked in the room while it is being filmed. I think it is the only way you can guarantee that no-one innappropriate might see it..."

#14 chriskq

Posted 17 November 2009 - 03:24 PM

QUOTE (voyagersaus @ 17/11/2009, 09:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Perhaps you can film the vasectomy, when he has it?  Or his next manual prostate check?

Just one minute here - You're comparing a vasectomy or a prostate check with the birth of a child.... bad example there i think voyagerous.... i dont think you should try and compare it - because lets face it - nothing can compare with the birth of a new person into the world.

Im not entirely for the idea of filming the birth, but it should come down to the mothers personal choice. If and when i have a child it might be nice to set up a video camera in the corner of the room and then edit the film later. no close ups or anything - just the experience captured.

my 2 cents.

#15 nano-tyrannus

Posted 17 November 2009 - 05:42 PM

Its usually standard medical practise to prevent this sort of thing, but naturally:
"You'll fart, poop, pee, and scream, all in front of ten complete strangers, all of whom are staring intently at your vagina, which, by the way, has an 80 per cent chance of tearing."

#16 daviesjv

Posted 18 November 2009 - 01:16 PM

"The added bonus has come around lately; for the last few years, DS#1 asks to see the tape of his birth. He knows it by heart but still adores watching it. In our first few moments together, he starts to whimper and I kiss his forehead and whisper that I love him and straight away he settles down. When we watch this part together now, he always smiles, hugs me tight and says "see mummy, even then I loved you already".

That's really beautiful, M!

#17 mumandboys

Posted 18 November 2009 - 01:30 PM

At the end of the day, it's each woman's decision to make.

I personally would not be happy for anyone to film me birthing a baby.  For me, labor and birth are scary, and bloody painful.  There's no good bits until the baby comes out - THEN, the videos and cameras are welcome.  The rest, I actually prefer to forget (or if I didn't I would only have one child) original.gif

#18 Indey

Posted 18 November 2009 - 06:22 PM

No way! Not in a 1000 births!

#19 custardtart

Posted 20 November 2009 - 10:01 PM

My DH decided, without my knowledge, to tape a few moments of the labour of my third child. When I found out, I was in tears of rage and humiliation - to me, he had breached trust in one of the worst possible ways - filming me in pain, at my most vulnerable, during a difficult and complicated labour, without my knowledge or consent.
As soon as he realised how I felt about it, he deleted the tape - but once seen, I can't unsee it. I have no words for what it was he breached, but it was absolutley a violation. Years later, the emotion is still raw.

Never, never, never.

#20 daviesjv

Posted 21 November 2009 - 07:39 AM

Oh yes - videotaping without your permission is a whole separate issue!!

#21 Guest_**KM**_*

Posted 21 November 2009 - 07:17 PM

Its usually standard medical practise to prevent this sort of thing, but naturally:
"You'll fart, poop, pee, and scream, all in front of ten complete strangers, all of whom are staring intently at your vagina, which, by the way, has an 80 per cent chance of tearing."

Yes if birth is 'medical' then you do have a high chance of all this.

My home birth (which my 12 year old daughter taped) was not 'medical' so I had no strangers staring at my vagina, no screaming etc (yes there was some poop  tongue.gif ).

To the OP, each to their own, we didn't video our first two hospital births but decided to video our home birth and I am glad we did, so nice to have one of my births on video to remember it with  original.gif

#22 Guest_Prongdinga_*

Posted 22 November 2009 - 12:33 PM


Edited by Calamity Anne, 01 April 2011 - 06:09 AM.

#23 Jenness

Posted 25 November 2009 - 04:15 PM

I wouldn't want it. I really don't like the idea of the birth being entertainment. You go through enough pain during the birth without having see what you look like doing it. My Aunt once told me that child birth is a beautiful thing. In one way she is right, when you are finally holding the baby in your arms it's amazing, but the lead up I don't really find that beautiful and i wouldn't want it on camera. My husband was very enthusiastic about the birth too, but after he saw what I went through the first time he said I could have whatever I wanted next time. At any rate, it's good to have a support person, someone to give you water or wipe you down or hold your hand when you need it. If your husband was filming the birth, he wouldn't be able to support you when you need it the most. Maybe let your husband know how you feel, I'm sure he'll find being there in person is so special he won't need to relive it with a video.

#24 BekandBraden

Posted 25 November 2009 - 04:20 PM

Ive had my two births video taped. My support person did the taping, so DH could concentrate on me.

I have watched the tapes numerous times and think its a fantastic memento for years to come. I never thought I would be able to have kids,,,after 5 miscarriages and 9 years of trying and a couple of years on IVF... so these tapes for me, are really special.

Each to their own i guess!

#25 scoobeemummy

Posted 26 November 2009 - 09:05 AM

We didn't video the birth of our DS in Feb 2006, so I was determined to capture the birth of my darling daughter...we simply set the camera up on a tripod a couple of metres away, and from the side (not directly zoomed on the business end) then as it turned out the birth was very rapid, and there is only 9 minutes of footage before she was born.  I have watched it a couple of times and still get caught up in the emotions of it all, I chose to show my Mum, sister and best friend, because they showed an interest, but no-one else will see it.  Using a the tripod meant it didn't interfere with actual birth experience, or my husbands enjoyment, he was right there with me while the camera was a forgotten thing in the corner... I'd do it, but stick to your conditions, you can always erase it! original.gif

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