The Commodification of Pregnancy

By Noah Boonov

A video of a family revealing the sex of their baby goes viral online. Each month, a young mother captures the journey through pregnancy on TikTok. A YouTuber hits one million views on their baby’s name reveal video. These posts are not uncommon for those who use social media daily. What was once popular with celebrities has become common practice for anyone who is expecting and has a social media account. From pregnancy and birth announcements, a gender and name reveal to birth and first birthdays, mothers and families are hoping to gain fame by capturing their journey through parenthood on social media. It has become obvious when posts are performative and when it’s just a simple update. 

“Baby” and/or “family” content has influenced Millennial and Gen Z social media practices. It has encouraged families to make their child a star before birth. This has impacted the person with 80 followers, to the person with over 15 million. Once their videos take-off, who knows what can happen. One viral moment can lead to dozens of other pregnancy and parenting videos from someone who has suddenly become the newest social media sensation. 

Why are these videos so popular? Once they have you hooked on their story, they can build anticipation. Each moment becomes a shocking or eventful surprise to profit from. During the global pandemic, these celebrated moments became impossible to celebrate in-person.  We turned to social media to access and share information, making it accessible for everyone. It’s not that these types of announcements didn’t exist on social media before. Yet, I was almost bombarded by pregnancy content on social media during and since the pandemic. It could also be the age I’m at. I’m in my mid-twenties, and I have friends and family who are starting families. Many online celebrities I’d been following for years also shifted their content to their new lifestyles as parents or parents-to-be. Still, I was surprised at the sheer number of viral pregnancy-related videos I came across online.  

What does it mean when someone goes viral online, especially when it comes to motherhood? It could mean free products and brand deals. Many posts and videos feature items that are given to them for free to promote. Some brands offer codes where creators receive a percentage of the product sales from a purchase. These offers and product placements can seem enticing for a parent who’s worried about the costs of raising a child. The future child becomes a way for the parent to make money. Here lies the “viral pregnancy announcement to mommy blogger” pipeline. Is making pregnancy content worth the potential judgement and harassment from viewers that at times comes with posting it? Almost everyone has an opinion on pregnancy, and many will share it unsolicited. 

I don’t think every moment in someone’s life, including my own, needs to be captured and shared for everyone to see. There’s something special about living in the moment and celebrating those big life events with the people we love most.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t share big celebratory moments online. Heck, it’s your account. I don’t make the rules. I believe that not EVERYONE needs to be a social media star, including the young children in your life.


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