THE BLOG

Was Robbie Williams Filming His Wife Giving Birth a Step Too Far?

28/10/2014 12:47 GMT | Updated 28/12/2014 10:59 GMT

The singer has stunned fans around the globe by making a video of his wife in labour as she gave birth to their new baby son. Clips from the film showing Ayda's most intimate moments were posted on Twitter, including her suffering painful contractions and doctors about to break her waters.

The web has gone wild with comments - both positive and negative - but the truth is Robbie has tapped into the biggest parenting trend for 2015.

Billed as the 'ultimate selfie', labour videos seem to be what all fashion-forward mums are getting into - but is filming yourself giving birth a step too far?

Detractors mock labour videos as narcisstic and self-obsessed, with mums to be painting on panstick when they should be pushing. Indeed, the vids have even given birth to the term 'glabour' - meaning a glamorous labour, which campaigners point to as piling too much pressure onto stressed and struggling mums-to-be. Many midwives have warned of the dangers of having mums focused on what they look like on film, rather than on safely delivering their baby. And while dads puffed up with pride taking snaps when their new son or daughter is born is sweet, some still feel shoving a phone or video camera where the sun doesn't shine maybe a step too far.

But for young web-savvy families, labour videos offer the ultimate loving gift to give to a child - the record of the moment they came into the world. While celebs like Robbie undoubtedly use the vids for some serious self-promotion, for the rest of us it's an amazing chance to document the experience from start to finish and - in some cases - to share with the world.

YouTube is already bursting with labour videos as the video sharing site gives rise to the next generation of mummy bloggers - known as "vloggers" for using video rather than traditional text blogs - who share every moment of motherhood with huge fanbases. Examples include Irish vlogger Bubzvlogz, whose labour video notched up more than one million views and London-based Anna Saccone-Jolly, whose husband filmed the birth of both of their babies, attracting more than 2.5m views between them. The Saccone-Jollys' first labour video was posted two years ago - and since then the couple have posted hundreds of videos of their family life, including precious moments such as their baby learning to walk, bath time and family holidays, as well as Anna's entire pregnancy journey - told week by week.

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Anna (credit: SacconeJolys on YouTube)

So why are people so fascinated by labour videos and what's got us all sharing - or as some may feel oversharing - what was previously one of the most intimate and private moments of our lives?

It begun with the amazing success of hit TV show One Born Every Minute which brought birth into everyone's living room. The online vids were watched thousands of times as mums to be prepared themselves to give birth. For the first time ever women were able to see others go through it before they did it themselves - and you cannot underestimate how much that has helped.

If I was a first time mum now, I'd watch them all as you realise now matter how intense the pain or how gruelling the birth journey is, when you hold your child for the first time, every single second was worth it.

Secondly, the camera doesn't lie and the vids tell you what the books and midwives don't. Even when labour and birth go well, it's not a pretty process. Any one who's become a mum will tell you their dignity was left at the labour ward door. Labour brings out the inner animal with some women shrieking, wailing, swearing, crying, being sick or soiling themselves. It's all perfectly normal and natural and part of the process to get the baby out and women need to know this. So no matter how dramatic the vids are, they can make childbirth seem less scary.

And finally, bringing a baby into the world is a huge achievement and quite possibly the biggest thing you will ever do. We record all our other achievements from graduating at college to getting married, so why not giving birth? With advancements in technology there's no need for a camera crew to be present when you can film it yourself. What was originally intended as a private record for the child can become a celebration of life shared right across the world - and what is more wonderful than that?

Robbie's the first big star to make a labour video and the trend will take off now. So capturing all the blood, sweat and tears will become a mainstream thing most mums will do - and the ultimate labour of love.

But let's hope there's not a hot trend for conception videos - as that really would be a vid too far!