Baby Announcement Etiquette in the Social Media Age

During many of my childbirth preparation classes, one of the things we discuss is how and when to announce the birth.  This was obviously not a huge concern before the advent of social media, but given how effortless it is now to share our thoughts, feelings, experiences, excitement and whatever we’d like without a second thought and with vast numbers of people simultaneously, we have begun discussing this as part of our postpartum preparation.

I begin by asking my students if they have put any thought into how they plan to announce the child’s birth.  Some of them say they will call the people closest to them, others say they haven’t really thought about it, and there is almost always one person who says, “If anyone announces it on Facebook before we do, I’m going to be really upset!”  So, we talk about ways that we can bring this concern to our friends and family ahead of time in an effort to circumvent the problem.  Enter:  the Social Media Etiquette discussion.

I have suggested that expectant families create a graphic to post during their pregnancy so that friends and family understand the importance of announcing the birth in the manner that they choose.  If you don’t see anything posted to this effect, play it safe!  It’s always best to assume that the couple prefers to be the source of the announcement if you aren’t sure.

You may also be asked at the baby shower to refrain from posting anything about the birth until it is officially announced.  If you spend a lot of time on social media or are a “Facebook Stalker,” You may find that the parents are all of a sudden very quiet on social media and think you have figured it out; but whatever you do, DON’T post “Congrats!” on their wall because other people can see that.  (Pro Tip:  This feature can be turned off in Settings.)  Some couples might be okay with an email, message or text, but if they haven’t had the baby yet, and especially if the pregnancy has gone beyond the estimated due date, you run the risk of stressing them out.  There are few things more annoying in late pregnancy than hearing, “Have you had the baby yet?”  Stress is not good for mom and baby, so just . . . be . . . patient.

The babymoon (the period of time after the baby is born and for several weeks afterwards) is a time when mothers and babies are adjusting to life as a dyad; it is both sublime and intensely difficult.  Some of the kindest things you can do to show your support is to bring them a prepared meal (don’t stay too long!), offer to do some cleaning or run errands and … save the big news for them to share.

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