Pregnancy, oh glorious pregnancy! You have been blessed with a little bun baking in the oven—now begins the carefully treaded waters of sharing the joy. Social media has allowed us to connect and follow along as our families and friends journey through graduations, celebrations, engagements, weddings and now growing our families. It is a surreal experience to be able to have family and friends, living across the country, take a front row seat to your pregnancy and birth. It connects us in ways that were never possible before.
With social media and pregnancy, also comes a set of etiquette that may not be well known. It is a whole new world for many, especially if you are one of the first to give birth in your family in a while.
After over sharing my way through my pregnancy, birth, and motherhood with Brody, I started writing down some of the tips and frustrations I had along the way. Other tips in this post were shared by the mommas in the Private Momma Society Facebook Group (have you joined yet?). And a few came directly from one of the go-to sources for all things pregnancy–the newest edition of What to Expect® When You're Expecting. This 5th edition has interwoven topics of social media throughout the book and also brings the dad's perspective on pregnancy into the picture.
As our friends and family become excited about the impending arrival of our little bundles of joy, it is best to set the expectations upfront on what your wishes are for sharing this special time in your life. Below are 9 things for your family and friends to consider as you celebrate this joyful phase! Hint, you may want to casually share this post with your family and friends!
The Pregnancy Announcement Should Always Come Directly From The Parents
You may have been trusted with the exciting news of a new baby on the way. The parents-to-be have given you this top-secret information and it should remain just that until the parents of the baby decide to publicly announce the pregnancy news. The timing of announcing a pregnancy is a very intimate decision. Avoid posting public comments on anything that could lead others to suspect the mom is expecting.
Tip for Mommas-To-Be: When you share the news with close friends and family, remind them that you are not going to be announcing this news publicly for a while. It may not be obvious to all and as much as we love some of those dearest to us, they may not be able to keep something this exciting under wraps.
Do Not Live Stream The Gender Reveal
Sharing the gender of the new baby is another area that is reserved solely for the parents-to-be. If they are hosting a gender reveal party, be cautious with social media. Don’t snapchat or live stream the event on your social networks. The parents-to-be will mostly likely have a plan of how they will be announcing whether a baby boy or little girl is on the way. Sharing the excitement of the gender is one of the special milestones for the parents-to-be during their pregnancy.
Do Not Mention The Baby's Name Before Birth
For many mommas-to-be, the baby’s name is something they may not want to share with the world. Often times, parents like to avoid any negativity towards the name, so they wait to share it until the baby arrives. Sometimes parents may not have chosen the exact name yet and other times, they are waiting to see the baby first and make sure the name fits. The parents-to-be may prefer to share the name is only with those closest to them. Rather than asking the parents what they will be naming the child, phrase your question as “will you be sharing the name before your little one arrives?” This prevents the sometimes awkward response of “we aren’t sharing the name” when you ask what the name will be.
Do Not Show A Preference Towards A Particular Gender
Whether baby boy or baby girl, all little ones should be celebrated equally. Before the gender is announced, try to avoid comments about hoping for a certain gender. A healthy baby is truly all that parents-to-be care about. The gender of the baby is one of the few surprises we have in life. Let this be a surprise that is celebrated regardless of XY or XX chromosomes. Just because they may have a little boy or little girl already, does not mean they are wishing for the opposite on their next pregnancy.
Do Not Pester An Overdue Momma
Sharing your little one’s due date is one of the joys of many mommas-to-be. As hard as it may be for family and friends to believe, a due date is merely an estimation. Only 7% of babies actually arrive on their due date. The average birth day for a first time mom who does not have any interventions is actually 8 days past her due date. When that lovely due date approaches (and possibly passes), do not send a text that says “no baby yet?” or comment on her social media with “hurry up baby!”. Seeing the due date come and go can be emotional enough for a mother. The constant comments on the topic just make it harder.
Instead, send an encouraging comment or reminder. I still remember an email my aunt sent me around the time Brody was due. She didn’t mention anything about his due date, just a simple thinking of you note and a little prayer for mommas-to-be. It was so uplifting in the sea of “no baby yet?” comments.
Tip for Mommas-To-Be: if you haven’t announced your due date, consider being vague rather than giving out an exact date. If your due date is February 16th, you can say your baby will be arriving at the end of February.
Ask Parents For Their Policy On Posting Photos
Every parent has a different policy regarding sharing photos of their children. Before you post a photo of a child other than your own on social media, be sure to ask the parents for permission. Even if this is your niece, nephew, or grandchild, the parents may prefer that the photos are not shared on your accounts. As one mom on the Momma Society Facebook Group pointed out, social media posts have a reach far greater than just those in your network. Often times, the picture may be visible to friends of the person who “liked” the photo or someone may click the share button and the parents can quickly lose control of who is viewing the post. Before the baby arrives, simply ask the parents what their policy is on posting photos of the little one. Whether you agree with their policy or not, please follow it.
Tip for Mommas-To-Be: Discuss your wishes for sharing photos of your little ones with your family and friends before the birth.
Do Not Announce The Birth
The news of labor and the baby’s arrival should be shared by no one other than the new parents or someone they have designated. Being invited by the parents to the hospital does not give you permission to post status updates on the labor or a birth announcement. Also, do not casually geotag your location at the hospital when you are posting on social media as you wait. You’ll often share mutual friends with the parents-to-be and a simple geotag is usually enough to tip off the masses that baby is on the way.
Tip for Mommas-to-be: Make a plan for how you will share the news of your labor and birth. Will you be the one calling extended family when your little one arrives? Who needs to be contacted before you post the announcement on social media? Who are you inviting to the hospital or birth center? Would you like your visitors to wait until baby is born to arrive? Be clear on all of the details beforehand.
Avoid Talking About Bump Size
That pregnancy glow! Many mommas feel beautiful during their pregnancy as their bumps start to grow. One of the joys of recording their pregnancy is sharing photos of the process. Try to avoid any mention of their bump size. Whether commenting on how tiny they are or how big their bump is, these comments can unintentionally be worrisome or offensive to a momma-to-be. It is easy for a momma-to-be to become hyperaware of weight gain during her pregnancy. For this reason, comments like “you are glowing” or “you are rocking that bump” or “you are beautiful” are far more supportive.
Do Not Ask A Couple When They Are Going To Start Trying For A Baby Or Have Another.
There are so many factors that go into when, how and if a couple will become pregnant or expand their family. These factors can be very private to the couple. Whether they’ve been struggling with infertility, experienced a miscarriage, or are completely satisfied with their current family structure, these are not topics that people often care to talk about--especially in a public forum, like social media. If and when the time comes and their family expands, I am certain they will be sharing the exciting news.
Just remember, a little support, love, positivity and encouragement go along way with expectant mommas!
What pregnancy and birth etiquette tips would you add to the list? Did you have any experiences with these topics during your pregnancy and birth?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.