Amy Molloy filmed her first labour - which unexpectedly went viral.
Amy Molloy filmed her first labour - which unexpectedly went viral. Supplied

80,000 people watched me give birth

As I lay in a bath with my husband cradling my body, I was no longer conscious of the camera on a tripod in the corner.

Unlike most videos which end up as public viewing, I didn't care about catching my best side or wonder if our second camera-this one strapped to my partner's wrist-would spot my wobbly bits.

Both lenses were on me, but I wasn't the star of this show-that honour went to my daughter who was about to emerge from my body, she wrote on WHIMN

More than 15 hours of footage, which would later be cut to four minutes, was all leading to one moment-the flash of a tiny hand and a baby's cry.

This was the instant which captured not only my heart but thousands of strangers, who watched my transition from maiden to mother.

Amy didn't know anyone other than herself would ever view the birth footage.
Amy didn't know anyone other than herself would ever view the birth footage. Supplied


During the third trimester of my pregnancy, when I suggested to my husband that he bring a GoPro into the delivery room, I thought the footage would be for our eyes only.

I never imagined that five weeks later the video would be on a public Facebook page with nearly 80,000 views in 48 hours. 

Or, that I'd be receiving messages from women across the world saying, "thank you-you've changed everything I believed about childbirth".

It's the ultimate overshare-posting your birth video on YouTube.

I know that critics of 'sharenting' would cringe at the thought.

However, there was a reason for me doing so.

In April 2018, Instagram changed its privacy policy to allow photos of uncensored births to be posted on the platform, after more than 23,000 people signed a petition to end the ban on birth photos.

Amy and her husband during her labour.
Amy and her husband during her labour. Supplied


It was created by nurse Katie Vigos, the founder of Empowered Birth Project, who was frustrated with her images being removed from social media.

As she explained, "People are growing up-and giving birth-without having ever seen what birth is like and without the knowledge and information that is required to make informed decisions."

As a result, Instagram and Facebook are updating their nudity policies to classify birth images as 'celebratory' and 'educational'.

I couldn't agree more, although I haven't always felt this way.

In my early 20s, a decade before I experienced birth myself, I vowed to never let my future-husband go down the 'action' end. Who'd want to see that?

At that point, my beliefs around birth were formed from movie scenes and my mum's experience of two emergency caesareans.

To me, birth was painful, terrifying and the moment a woman was most vulnerable.

On top of this, I had a disconnected relationship with my body after battling an eating disorder from the age of 17 until my early 20s. 

I knew I'd have the determination to birth a baby, because I'd had the determination to starve myself, but I didn't think it would be pretty.

This attitude shifted in my early 30s when, after not having a period for seven years, my menstrual cycle returned-two weeks after I met the man who would father my children. 

Eighteen months later, when I saw two lines on a pregnancy test, I realised my body was my ally, and I vowed to commemorate its accomplishments.

Amy and her hubby.
Amy and her hubby. Supplied


When my husband and I signed up to the childbirth education program She Births we were encouraged to visualise our perfect labour, but also taught tools to deal with unexpected problems.

Until then, I believed every labour began with a dramatic water-burst followed by a mad dash to the hospital (thank you rom-coms!). 

However, the early stages of our labour resembled my ideal vacation day-walks on the beach, baking, yoga and basking in the sunshine.

After I sent the video to our She Births instructor and she asked permission to post it on their website and social media channels, the most common response I received was: "You look like you're having fun." 

At the end, I was pushed to my edge but this was one small portion of a day filled with love, laughter and enjoyment. It's a far cry from the screaming, swearing birth scenes we see in shows like One Born Every Minute. 

I've had midwives contact me asking if they can play the video in their prenatal classes to show parents-to-be you can birth without terror. More than ever, it's not enough to only inherit your mother's birth story. 

A study of oral and viral birth stories found that women who were pregnant in the 1970s-1980s framed their birth experiences in the 'language of safety'. 

However, women who were pregnant in 2012 framed their expectations in the 'language of choice.'

Thanks to Instagram accounts like Birth Without Fear, Birth of a Mama and Empowered Birth Project I've watched incredible water baths, home births and caesareans. 

I've been moved to tears by a surgeon's skills and a mother pushing out twins. It's an important reminder there is no cookie-cutter shape for childbirth. 

The more stories we can share, the more we can empower mothers (and fathers!) to explore the best options for them.

Nineteen months after my daughter was born, on the 25th April 2018, I was back in the labour ward. 

My son's birth wasn't as seamless, due to unexpected bleeding, the Group B Strep Infection and an induction.  However, every plot twist brought me to a happy ending-and yes our cameras were rolling.

Neither of our birth videos are very explicit which wasn't a purposeful decision. 

Even if the camera lens had been pointing further 'south' I would still be comfortable sharing the videos with my children when they're old enough.

In an online world where people share everything from marriages to breakups, and even tweet photos from their divorce hearings, why shouldn't we also share the magic of child birth-whether we smile or scream at the camera.

Amy is the author of The World is a Nice Place: How to Overcome Adversity Joyfully.

Follow her @amy_molloy  

This article originally appeared on Whimn and is published here with permission.

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