When are you guys going to have kids? Are you trying? Why are you waiting? My husband and I had been married for more than four years and were getting asked the inevitable questions. These questions weren’t asked in an unloving way. No one was posting them on our social profiles (thanks Grandma!). And the truth was we did want kids. We were trying. We were looking at our internal clocks and heard the ticking. We were both healthy, under 30, and (nearly) financially ready for kids. But we had no news to share.
Then—finally—a baby came. But we decided not to shout it on the rooftops of Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram).
Sure, it’s exciting to share happy news about new chapters in your life. I remember when we posted about our engagement and received hundreds of likes within 24 hours. It felt awesome.
But with this baby news, we decided to keep it off social media for a couple of reasons.
01. We wanted to cherish it just between us.
Our family and friends know that we don't have kids. But what they don't know is that, over the course of 15 months, we experienced two pregnancies that were all too brief. It's pretty devastating when a small stick tells you to expect a baby in nine months, and then three or four weeks later you feel like you got hit by a truck and it all goes away.
Finally, we conceived a third time, and this one stuck. For a longer amount of time. This one was special. This one is special. This one we want to keep just between us for a while.
There is a time and a place for everything. And for my husband and me, we just aren't sure how long our joyful bundle will be with us. Sharing it widely? It’s just not us. Not now.
So at 12 weeks, when most people break the news, we decided not to broadcast the news on Facebook. Instead, we kept the circle of people who knew small—limited to only those in our everyday lives. They would pray with us, they would support us, and they would be shoulders to cry on no matter what the outcome.
02. We like the idea of delivering special news personally.
At about 16 weeks, our news became something we wanted to share over the phone or in person with specific people we cared about. We wanted them to hear it from us and not from a mass-delivered post for the world to see. We will never forget the Skype call with my father that made him jump out of his seat and shout in excitement and then practically cry from being overwhelmed with happiness. I wouldn’t trade that memory for a retweet any day.
03. We want to share with friends rather than acquaintances.
We got to a point where the people who need to know we are expecting know. We spoke to our family, close friends both near and far, our coworkers, and church community. These are the people who will be walking this journey of parenthood with us. They will see my belly growing. They are the ones who are excited and celebrating with us here and now and the ones who will be helping us raise this kid. It takes a village, right? Or at least a support system of close people–certainly not my fifth grade frenemy's mom on Facebook.
Because if we had posted a cute photo of us and a pair of tiny shoes on social media, the excitement of our thousand friends and followers would no doubt be genuine, but nonetheless fleeting. And that’s OK. It would be a “like” or regram and a tidbit of conversation or a text of congratulations later that night. But, inevitably, it would turn into gossip at some point, no matter how carefully we edit our "friend" list on a yearly basis.
04. We want to take care and be sensitive.
Even with our good friends on social media who aren’t in our everyday lives, we still decided it wasn't worth sharing widely. Knowing how tender our hearts were after two losses, we want to be sensitive. We want to be caring to those who are having trouble or can’t conceive, who don’t have kids yet despite their desire, or even those who just long to be in a relationship. Wanting what you don’t or can’t have in a world where social media shows you everything everyone else has isn’t easy. For our friends in those situations who are in the close circles of our lives, we get to engage that pain and frustration with them face to face. For those experiencing such tensions from afar, only connected by Facebook, we aren't there to engage them—to love them, to hear their frustrations, to empathize and sometimes even mourn. For them, the news can be a cold reminder of what they don't have, without the warming touch of seeing us face to face.
So for now, we've limited our baby news to those closest to us—the people I want my tiny baby to know and be known by. The friends who have also heard our fears of parenthood and how our marriage will change or what we are feeling (like the anxiety of finding daycare in NYC!). The ones who know also know how freaking excited we are to meet this little person, and they share in that excitement and wonder. The friends who have heard us, really heard us, have been able to respond in love with encouragement, laughter, commiseration, and sometimes even criticism. Those are the friendships we want to invest in and share our super special wonderful secret celebrations with about having a baby.
We’re pregnant. And if you know, you know.