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WombTubing: Too Much Information or Simply Sharing the Joy?

Posted by Alexandra C. | Friday June 10, 20118 comments

Joining the ranks of kittens playing instruments, infomercial spoofs and people getting hit in the face/kneecaps/other sensitive areas is a new youtubing trend, dubbed “WombTube” by Slate.com writer, Marisa Meltzer. The concept of WombTube is simple: women sharing one of their most private moments—getting the results of a pregnancy test—for all of the world to see on YouTube. 

After reading about this, I was completely turned off. "Who," I thought, "who, would ever want to watch this? This is the perfect example of TMI." In the name of research though, I subjected myself last night to watching a few of these WombTube videos and I am now shamefully admitting that I spent a good two hours of my life, fixated on my laptop screen.

It’s in our nature to be voyeuristic, perhaps that is why I was completely fascinated. Watching something so personal and emotional is so addictive! Some genius television producer needs to pick up on this and create a reality TV show based on this cash cow.

From the process of taking the test (oh yes, there is copious amounts of urine involved), to the results and then their aftermath (which in my opinion is the best part) you bond with these women. I was genuinely happy when they found out they were pregnant and sympathized with them when they weren’t.

Definitely one of the best reactions to seeing a positive test comes from YouTube user thebubblelush. Her actual name is Carla and she comes from Oregon and as she watches her test turn into a plus sign, you can tell she is overjoyed. She is clearly in shock, she starts crying and the camera begins to shake. You can’t help but feel thrilled for this young mother to be, especially when you take into account that she has been struggling with infertility for months. User thisplaceisnowahome, chronicled nine months of trying to conceive on YouTube and in a blog. Indeed, their results video is the stuff of Hallmark cards and iPhone commercials.

In fact, most of these WombTube videos come from young women struggling with infertility. There are videos of negative test results and most of the youtubers document their journey with vlogs, in addition to these “live pregnancy result” videos. One thing struck me as I watched all these videos, the women kept using phrases like “let’s go take a test now” or “let’s hope it goes well” and thebubblelush kept thanking viewers for their support and prayers after her good news, she even says, “I can’t wait to upload this!”

It was clear that these videos were not the products of attention seeking females looking to get rich or famous, it was about the support system that YouTube offered. It was a way to reach out and to gain a new family in their time of need. As viewers, we weren’t just passive watchers to WombTubers, we were actively participating in their lives. I can appreciate the hardship of being infertile and I can comprehend their reasons behind doing this. So, kudos to these women who are brave enough to share their stories through the good as well as the bad.

Have you watched these WombTube videos? Do you think they're offering too much information?
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on June 11, 2011  Josephine C. said:

This is a very passionate and well-written article. Thank you so much for letting us all know about Wombtube!

on June 10, 2011  TammyK  1,073 said:

I don't mind watching these vids but I won't feel comfortable posting one online though. Like MissJudy said, sometimes it feels like an Oscar and that's when I feel like they're really liking the attention that they're getting.

on June 10, 2011  MissJudy  3,649 said:

I don't think this is TMI (unless we're really watching the peeing in action, that's gross) but I don't really care that much. The short ones are better but some of these go on and on with the person thanking their viewers. Feels like the oscars. Anyway, not for me.

on June 10, 2011  beachbabe  4,164 said:

I just watched a few videos and it is really sweet! At first I thought, "How lame". But it is so nice to watch these ladies' faces light up!

Ali, you're right about the potential for a miscarriage and I'm so sorry you experienced that. It's unfortunate that it happens to so many women. I can't imagine how painful that would be. If this were me, I would wait to upload the video until I was in the "safe zone" and other family members and friends could be told. It'd be too painful to upload the video, have so many nice comments, then have to remove the video or make a second announcement. Plus, I wouldn't want those family and friends finding out about my pregnancy on Youtube to begin with!

on June 10, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

Good points, AlexJC. Great article, btw!

on June 10, 2011  AlexJC  50 said:

Some of the comments on the youtube videos are really supportive- especially when the results come back negitive, some on the other hand are pretty mean spirited.
I think this could be a problem if a woman had a miscarriage, can you imagine receiving all these hurtful comments on your video after experiencing such a loss? Then again, receiving all the comments of encouragement and loving support would feel so empowering.

on June 10, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

It's such a personal thing. I can't imagine sharing this with the world before my family finds out. It's also that much harder if you have a miscarriage.

I had a miscarriage last year at 9 weeks but very few people knew I was pregnant to begin with. Miscarriages are extremely painful both emotionally and physically. It was really hard having people ask after me who knew about it because it meant I had to keep talking about it.

Another part of it is shame. You feel like you did something wrong or that losing the baby is somehow your fault. One person who did know I was pregnant responded to my sad news by saying, "Oh no, Ali! What did you do?". In fairness, she was from a culture that blames the woman for everything. Since I like to work out she assumed I had lifted something heavy or worked out too much, which wasn't the case at all.

The only reason I bring this up is because I do think it would be harder for these women if things don't work out and now they have to respond to it publicly when they'd prefer to hole up in a corner and lick their wounds for awhile.

on June 10, 2011  TammyK  1,073 said:

I have seen some and I completely agree that it was such an emotional journey for me as well even though I am just a viewer watching.
I don't think they are sharing too much information. I mean, yes, this is very private but when you compare it to shows and videos showing mothers giving birth, wombtubing doesn't seem too bad.

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