Every once in a while I hear about a post on Facebook where an over-eager friend or family member has made a birth announcement and/or shared photos of a new baby before the parents have. If you’ve shared an announcement with permission from the parents to introduce the baby, fantastic! Consider yourself an extremely valued member of the new parents’ lives. If you didn’t have permission: shame on you.
I know exactly how easy it is to be so overwhelmingly excited about something that you want to shout it to the world, and with the advent of smartphones and the integrated social networking channels available on them, it’s all too easy to be swept up in the moment and share something that’s maybe not yours to share. The birth of a new baby is one of these things.
When our little Katelyn was born four years ago, my husband and I considered the possibility that someone else could share our news before we had the chance. I knew that should it happen, as angry as I would be, it wouldn’t happen out of malice toward either of us. But I still didn’t want it to happen.
We – my husband and I – were the only ones (besides my OBGYN and the delivery nurse) present at her birth. After we had an hour or so of alone time with her, both sets of grandparents came in to marvel at their first grandchild, and Tim and I had a few moments to choose our favorite photo and write up a short Facebook introduction for our excited and friends and family scattered across the country. We had already texted the announcement to a few friends and our siblings, and while we trusted these people to keep our news to themselves, we also knew that word of mouth travels fast and her arrival could easily be unintentionally Facebook-announced by someone outside of our immediate circle. So, while I certainly wasn’t posting on Facebook while delivering the placenta, Kate’s photo and birth stats were on social media pretty quickly.
Our next daughter is due sometime in December, and the plan right now is to leave social media out of her arrival for a little longer than we did the first time around. This may not happen because, hello, EXCITEMENT and we’ll want to tell EVERYONE, but for now, that’s our plan. Once she’s here, we’ll have to share her with the world – she won’t be just ours anymore. She’ll be a sister and a granddaughter and a niece and a cousin and so much more to so many people. For the little while that we can, I want to keep her as just ours. As the little person that I spent nine 9 months carrying and nurturing and protecting within my body. The baby that we’ve been praying for and planning for and anticipating for so many months.
So, to our friends and family on social media: I know you’re excited, too. I know she’s a little bit yours, and that you’ve been praying for her and anticipating her arrival for many months, as well. But please, once you know, wait for us to share the news on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Give us some time to get acquainted with our new family member. Let us introduce baby to her big sister. Give us a moment to take it all in and realign ourselves as a family of four. Let us have her to ourselves until we’re ready. Once the word is out, she’ll never be just ours again.
It might only be a couple of hours again or it might end up being a couple of days before we share her on Facebook, but I promise that we won’t keep you waiting for too long.