Parent overshare isn’t always about the kids. Sometimes it’s just about us. Considering how complex and often gross our bodies can be, it’s no surprise that some moms feel compelled to share updates about their pregnancy or labor, as detailed in these columns from last year. And to a certain extent, I can understand that. After several months of carrying a baby it can be easy for a woman to forget that her friends might not want to know how dilated her cervix is or that she’s lost her mucus plug. Lines get blurred and before she knows it, she’s describing details that are commonplace to her, but uncomfortable for her friends.
That said, something I’ve been thinking about lately is the degree to which women overshare about their bodies. Back when I started STFU, Parents, posting about having contractions seemed bold, but now, a few years later, it’s not really a question of whether a woman is posting about having contractions so much as what else she’s posting about in relation to those contractions. It’s almost as if oversharing has become the norm, so women are more inclined to give precise details and take the TMI (Too Much Information) to WTMI (Way Too Much Information), seemingly without shame. Whether it’s because they want to commiserate, vent, or simply think the subject of their bodies is a normal thing to discuss on Facebook, the level of “TMI” has been taken up a notch (or five) and continues to trend toward the extreme. Here are six examples that illustrate what I mean.
1. Full Term TMI
Mentioning that you’re uncomfortable in the final stage of pregnancy is understandable, and most people sympathize with the realities of acid reflux. But is it really necessary to go into detail about the vomit spin cycle occurring in your throat? This is what a pregnancy journal is for.
2. Labor TMI
Uses of the word “finger” that do not gross me out:
- Finger sandwiches
- Ring finger
- Pointing a finger at something/someone
- Giving someone the finger
Notice that none of these include the words “contracting” or “thick.” If you’re talking about a finger in relation to how wide your cervical opening is, you’re definitely getting hidden from my newsfeed.
3. Post-Pregnancy TMI
Remarking that you didn’t realize how much hair you’d lose after pregnancy is already a little specific, but taking a picture of your hairbrush and Instagramming it? That’s taking it to documom territory.
4. Stitches TMI
Funny that Tyana very much regrets looking at her stitches but has no qualms at all about posting about the experience on Facebook. Hint: If it grossed you out to see it, it’s going to gross out your friends to read about it. (Hint #2: If you admit you’re oversharing in your status update, you probably shouldn’t have hit “Publish.”)
5. Story Hour TMI
If this is Jess’s hospital story in brief, I’d be hard-pressed to hear the long version. This is the kind of update that a person might write before highlighting all the text, hitting delete, and replacing it with something like, “After a few days of infection, I’m so happy to report that both my baby and I are back to good health!” (Not that anyone needs to know.)
6. Next Stage Of Life TMI
“Slice of heaven” might not be the best terminology to describe a uterine ablation, but then again, why is Kimberly discussing her ablation on Facebook in the first place? Unless the next stage in life you’re describing has to do with a new puppy, home, or job, you might want to hold off on talking about on social media. Parenting forums and extended brunches work just fine.