Welcome back to Parental Advisory, where I answer all your social media and IRL parenting etiquette questions. This week, let’s talk about “creative” pregnancy announcements.
Q: I recently announced my own pregnancy on Facebook, a simple “I’m excited to announce we’re expecting a baby!” with no pictures or unnecessary descriptions of how it happened. People got the idea and congratulated me. The following day my friend posted a two-minute-long movie trailer-like video announcement of her pregnancy that was kind of sweet and not graphic or anything, but I was fighting not to roll my eyes. I don’t know why, but these creative pregnancy announcements are so annoying to me! It doesn’t have to do with her taking the attention away from me, I don’t care about that. And lately there has literally been a pregnancy announcement per day, so I know I’m not in some unique, special situation here. The “Bump Ahead” photos, the pictures of mom and dad’s feet next to baby shoes, etc. I understand it’s an exciting deal and people want to exercise their creativity, so why does this annoy me so much? Maybe I just need an attitude adjustment. Thanks!
A: I feel you, N., and if I had to take a guess, I’d say at least 50 percent of people reading would agree. Why 50 percent? Well, over the years of running STFU, Parents, I’ve adopted some theories, and one of the theories is that “creative” pregnancy announcements are a binary issue. You know, like preferring Elvis to The Beatles or vanilla to chocolate or Kim Kardashian to Taylor Swift. I’m not saying the responses to creative pregnancy announcements are always an even split, nor am I assuming that half the population prefers Instagram Stories to Snapchat Stories.
The numbers might be a little fuzzy, but generally speaking, you’re either unoffended by creative pregnancy announcements, or you have a strong opinion about them, and that opinion is that they’re fucking stupid. I would say this question is in the same vein (er, umbilical cord…? No, that doesn’t work) as asking people how they feel about ultrasound photos being posted online or professional, seminude maternity pictures. They’re all in the same birth pool of examples, because they all deal with pregnancy specifically, which is something most of us don’t experience until adulthood. There’s no playbook, much like there’s no playbook for how to engage with social media, so when something pregnancy related becomes a trend on Pinterest and Facebook, whether it’s painting bellies to look like Easter eggs or “belly casting” with plaster molds, it usually feels either totally off-putting or innovative and appealing. I’m assuming that most of the people who participate in DIY crafts like belly casting are the same people who make two-minute movie trailers to announce their pregnancy. They’re excited, and to them, that enthusiasm must translate into tangible joy. It should be something their friends and family can see so the enthusiasm is properly conveyed. These are the “pics or it didn’t happen” people we’re talking about here.
I’m not suggesting that everyone who posts an ultrasound picture on Facebook, which is one of the tamest and most objectively neutral ways to celebrate a pregnancy online, also dabbles in the art of creative pregnancy announcements or posts maternity pictures dressed up as mermaids; surely that’s not the case. But to answer your question about why it bothers you, N., you must be willing to accept that there are fans of creative pregnancy announcements, and then there’s everyone else (including you). For every person who’s pregnant and unsure of how to publicly announce it online, there’s another person whose natural instinct is — inexplicably — to make a two-minute movie trailer or to stage a “scene” in a lavender field with baby shoes, Starbucks cups, safety pins or perhaps a few jars of Prego spaghetti sauce and a DSLR camera.
Up next: Pics or it didn’t happen