Having a baby is the best news you’ve ever been blessed with spreading. Except that not everyone will see it that way. And thus you should be careful about how you post said best news to social media. Very careful. Because how you announce the birth could get you unfriended, blocked, or snoozed as easily as that co-worker who had hard opinions about the Ikea Monkey and that’s the last thing you want when sharing such splendid news.
Why? Well, for one, you’re about to potentially insult a phalanx of childhood friends, relatives, and other folks who consider themselves very close to you. Because why were they not told by you beforehand? Do you consider them on the same level as all your social-media stranger-friends? Like that guy who sat behind you in freshman year sociology? Is your Aunt Carol the same as that guy? Hmmm?
For another, the parenting world — much like the wedding world — is one of clichés. While photos that compare your beer belly beside your wife’s pregnancy belly or where you and your wife and dog announce that there’s a fourth member of the family are undoubtedly fun, they can easily veer into overly saccharine territory if you’re not careful.
So, we’re psyched you’re having a baby. It’s a wonderful thing and that news should be shared. And because we want you to feel nothing buy joy, here a few small things to keep in mind before posting that announcement.
Keep it Simple
Take it easy, Melville. There’s no need for a wordy update about how you’re overjoyed and you’re blessed and you’re sorry everyone else knew before you and blah-blah-blah. You are having a baby. We understand the concept. Just a photo is great. Your wife holding a jar of Prego and smiling works. So does your belly saying “beer” and hers saying “baby.” Or a pair of your shoes, a pair of hers and a pair of baby shoes. Classic!
This doesn’t mean reduce this miraculous time to a dumb joke just for the sake of friends who enjoy ribbing you. But you can certainly cut its unicorns-and-rainbows sweetness with a twist of self-deprecating wit. Example: My wife and I employed a photo of me, wearing a diaper and sucking my thumb, superimposed inside a sonogram of my wife’s uterus. The congratulations went on for weeks, as did the ribbing. While not perfect for everyone, is was perfect for us.
Involve your existing children and/or pets
Already have a child or a beloved pet? Consider posting a photo of a sibling to-be in a crib with an eviction notice taped on the front. Or holding a sonogram photo. Or why not hang a sign around the dog reading: “I’m getting a new human.” Those are pretty funny. And charming. That’s the idea.
Hold Yourself to a One Photo-Gallery Limit
Remember those couples who had, like, five engagement photo shoots, photos from three bachelorette parties, and a phalanx of wedding photographers at their ceremony and posted every single one of those galleries to Facebook? Kind of annoying, right? Don’t be the parent-to-be version of that. Go ahead, post that photo with your hands making hearts over her belly, and the one painting her belly to look like a sandwich or a mascot. But understand that, like DMing unsolicited nuggets of wisdom to 30 friends at once, your friends will put up with this behavior exactly once. Curating a small, sweet announcement is key. So keep this gallery to exactly seven photos maximum, and never ever do it again.
Block these people from seeing it
1. All professional connections to your partner and people who are mutually connected with them. (Do the best you can.) Because you’re basically giving extra move-plotting time to that one co-worker gunning for her job. Also, her boss might be secretly deciding who to lay off right now. Finally, the news could kibosh a job offer that might otherwise have come her way.
2. The creepy guy who had a huge crush on your partner when they worked together in 2012, whose friend request you accepted because you thought he was someone else with a similar name. (He’s there, we checked!)
Consider a Video
Honestly, some of the best pregnancy announcements were made by pointing a phone camera at fathers, grandparents, and siblings to-be, breaking the news, and capturing the screaming and crying that ensues. (Especially effective is telling someone on their birthday, along with a birthday present or card they’re handed that reveals the news, so they’re not suspicious about why they’re being filmed.)
But, please, don’t spring for some high-end production value. (See Tip #1). That superhero blockbuster you began preproduction on in 2011 may nearly have gotten financed, we really do believe you, but this is not your chance to be discovered as a director. You’re going for charm and authenticity here.
Whatever you do, don’t …
1) Create a new profile for your unborn baby and send out friend requests.
2) Show your wife’s pregnancy test – especially with pee droplets still on it.
Honestly, these are just some ground rules. We’re happy for you. Really happy for you. Whatever you post, we’ll give it a like.