Hurrah! You’re preggers! Now, in addition to taking your prenatal vitamins, peeing approximately 237 times a day, and trying to bank some sleep in advance of baby’s arrival (oh, how we wish that worked!), you’ve got to come up with a clever way of spreading the news online, right? Here’s some tips on how your news in this ever-changing technology era.
With constant tweets, Facebook status updates, and blog posts, it’s only natural to want to share the news with your online peeps. But, to spare you (and your family and friends) some discomfort, we asked readers and Mom Squad member Denene Millner, a parenting and relationship expert and author, for some help in navigating these shifting waters.
Consider waiting until you know the pregnancy is going well
As tempting as the immediacy of a wide response to your news on Facebook may be, try to settle in and wait. For some people, that may mean waiting until the end of the first trimester, while others may wait even longer, if they’ve experienced pregnancy complications in the past. Millner suggests that you “keep the info to yourself until you know that the baby is safe.” A good rule of thumb is to limit the sharing to folks whose support you would want, just in case you should miscarry. If you have posted your news but lose the pregnancy, Millner says, “You don’t have to go into great detail. To avoid inquiring minds, post something like, ‘We’re so sorry to say that the baby has gone on. We’d just like some quiet time to reflect on this news. We appreciate your prayers.’”
Tell close family and friends first
As exciting as it may be to spread the news to everyone in cyberspace in an instant, first share the news with the folks closest to you—who would be upset to learn about the pregnancy online, suggests Millner. And, as a courtesy, ask them to keep quiet about it until you’ve shared the news yourself; don’t let your sister post her excitement about becoming an aunt before your mom can hear the news firsthand.
Take a close look at who’s on your list of friends or followers
Millner says that nowadays, “people share their lives on Facebook regularly, and if your profile is meant for family and friends who would want to keep track of what’s going on with you personally, then it’s a perfectly fine place to share the news.” That being said, are any co-workers (who could conceivably share the news with your boss prematurely) on your friends list? Be sure to scour your full list. And, of course, your privacy settings should be set high. For example, you wouldn’t want to risk a potential employer finding out about your pregnancy (and potentially risking a job offer) before you felt comfortable sharing the news.
Consider how you break the news.
We’ve seen and read it all—photos of peed-on pregnancy tests (sometimes still featuring visible droplets… ew!), ultrasounds with a blurry speck, comments about how many times folks did the deed before getting pregnant… And some of it, well, let’s just call it TMI. Millner suggests, “Anything that you wouldn’t do in person, don’t do on Facebook.” So, if you wouldn’t inform your next-door neighbor over coffee that you got knocked up in the backyard after last month’s block party, then don’t share those details with her (and hundreds of your other friends) over Facebook.
Be respectful of any potentially sticky situations
If friends of yours are struggling with infertility or have recently suffered a miscarriage, think about informing them offline or warning them before you post your pregnancy status on Facebook. “It’s okay to share the good news,” Millner says, “but say something like, ‘I’m really sorry that it didn’t work out for you. My joy doesn’t diminish your loss or struggle.’”
Be selective about your audience.
One of the best things about Facebook is finding appreciative audience members for your updates—and in pregnancy, there can be lots and lots of special updates. Millner says, “It pays to think about who your audience is. If you’re sharing news with everyone on your friends list, stick to less personal updates like, ‘We’re decorating the nursery!’, ‘Here’s her first dress!’, or ‘We’re starting her library; do you have suggestions for her first books?’” But, if you’re dying to share how dark your nipples have gotten, that you’re leaking colostrum, or include photos of your stretch mark-covered bare belly, choose a select group. There’s a good chance that those Facebook friends are interested in commiserating or empathizing—and an even better chance that folks like your brother and your old softball coach would rather not hear quite so many details. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: create a special, limited friends list that includes only folks who you know want to hear all of the down and dirty details about everything going on down there.