Pregnant? Expecting a baby any day? Not sure how to stop the more excitable or gossipy types in your circle from revealing your big news on social media before you can?
We’ve got a handy-dandy guide to avoiding this sticky situation (and some real-life reasons why you should never share someone else’s baby or pregnancy news!)
Who even does that?
You might be gobsmacked at the idea that this could even happen, but let us assure you it can and does!
Not only are people used to the Insta-publishing ability that social media affords us – conditioned to post first, think later – they combine that impulsive attitude with the excitement of juicy pregnancy or brand new baby news.
It’s a thunder-stealing cocktail and let us tell you, the babies are not the only ones crying.
Tears all ’round
While this excited sharing of big news may be well intentioned, it can take the shine off a family’s very special moment – and disrupt the way they wanted to break their news.
One mum we spoke to was heartbroken when someone shared her special news before she’d even left the delivery suite.
“When my baby was born a relative posted on Facebook the news I’d been waiting to share for 10 months! I hadn’t even left the delivery ward!! I had to quickly take a photo and post the news, in my own words. I was so sh*tty!!!” One mum recalls.
Another mum told Babyology that despite her best efforts, baby beans were well and truly spilled.
“My MIL did it to us, after we specifically asked her to wait before saying anything public. We said that once she saw us make an announcement on Facebook, then, and only then, was she welcome to. [We] ended up just having to do a somewhat rushed announcement because of her.”
Sometimes even speculative pregnancy and baby chatter can have unintended consequences.
“I once shared the pregnancy news of a friend who wasn’t drinking at a dinner party (as in ‘Hey! look who’s not drinking! Nudge! Wink!) who later miscarried. I wasn’t aware at the time how tenuous pregnancies are in the first three months (after miscarriages myself, I am now), and I am eternally sorry for contributing to that pain,” a regretful mum told us.
Well-intentioned, social sharing may sometimes mean that mum is the last to know:
“My entire family knew I’d had a daughter hours before I did, because I had a general anaesthetic. My bloke didn’t realise that he shouldn’t have told them all before I knew, but it has always upset me.”
Unauthorised baby newsfeed updates can sometimes ruin an age-old ritual of sharing the news, person to person:
“I found out on FB that my niece was born while I was sitting by the phone waiting for a call. Thankfully no one announced my 4 babies before me on FB!”
Ill-considered blabbing might sabotage an extra-meaningful plan:
“I had the first grandchild for my very clucky parents. My dad is one of 16 children and loves babies so I wanted him to be able to tell his family before they all found out on Facebook. He deserved to have that joy, before the extensive online family network do that thing where older non-Facebookers don’t have the pleasure of sharing news anymore because everyone already knows. I hadn’t made an announcement to my friends yet. I was waiting till my parents shared the news. I made a status update about being tired. That aunty, whose always the first to comment on anything and laugh at jokes she can’t possibly get made a comment about my pregnancy. I was horrified. Luckily I was quick enough to delete it before anyone saw.”
The blabbermouth struggle is really real!
As you can see the reveals, intentions and consequences are many and varied. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
So what can we do to avoid these sticky, social media situations and make sure our special news is just that, our own?
There’s a whole bunch of things you can try. Let’s begin…
1. Discuss your approach with your partner
Work out how you both feel about this – and what a sensible, united strategy would look like, moving forward.
Make sure you’re on the same page and consider (hopefully unnecessary) challenges like difficult pregnancies, general anaesthetics at the birth delaying mum’s own experience of the exciting news and accidental baby news leaks.
Plan to reveal your big news, on your own terms, in your own time.
2. Set clear boundaries
The first step to keeping your news on the hush-hush is to be SUPER clear with anyone you do tell. Top and tail your news with a warning that it’s not to go ANY further, no matter what.
Reassure the person you are confiding in that they’ll be the first to know when it’s okay to the let the cat out of the bag.
3. Adjust your Facebook privacy settings
There’s two good things you can do on Facebook to stop your baby or pregnancy going viral amongst your circle, before you are good and ready.
The first is to make sure that you can review posts that others tag you in (kind of like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted, but still a good early warning system, if someone has blabbed!)
The second thing you can do is to prevent anyone from posting on your Facebook timeline. That should take care of any ‘Oh my god!!! YOU ARE PREGNANT! I KNEW IT’ type annoyances.
4. Craft a statement – and an infringement notice!
If you are expecting a baby and your pregnancy news is out, you might want to ensure that you manage your new baby news yourself (and don’t leave it to Great Aunt Ethel and her Facebook timeline!)
Craft a Facebook and Instagram update, letting your friends, families and followers know that you’d prefer nobody announces anything about your baby, until you have.
“We’re approaching the time when our baby is due and we’d love your help with one important thing. If you catch wind of any chatter about our pregnancy or even a brand new baby, please keep it to yourself until we’ve made our own announcement on Facebook or Instagram. We know new babies are exciting and it’s hard to keep a secret, but we’d love to reveal our news in our own way, at the right time for us. It’s our big, life-changing moment, and we’d love to share it first. Thanks so much for understanding.”
When you’re writing your ‘please don’t share our news’ statement, you could also craft a polite infringement statement to send to anyone that accidentally mentions your news. Hopefully you can delete any slips immediately and you’ll have the ‘hey, stop that!’ warning up your sleeve to send on to the blabbermouth to ensure they don’t do it again.
“Hello! We notice you mentioned our (hush-hush-for-now) pregnancy/new baby on social media. We realise it’s exciting, but this is just a little reminder that we’d love to be the first to share the news. If you could remove the post, that will give us the chance to announce this ourselves, in our own way. [Alternatively – I’ve deleted your comment, to give us the chance to announce this ourselves, in our own way.] Thanks so much for understanding.”
If you’re pregnant and are trying to keep a lid on it, a statement is obviously not going to work! Review step one, instead!
5. Be camera shy
If you’re concerned that people will share photos of a pregnant you – or your very new baby – establish a photo ban. Nobody’s entitled to capture images of you or your bub.
Draw the line until you’ve shared the news yourself, or if you’d prefer to manage your digital footprint more carefully.
6. Social media detox
Get off social media altogether. If you’re pregnant and want it kept quiet – follow the rules above AND avoid the socials until you feel less concerned about others mentioning your family and your news.
Deactivate your profile on Facebook, if you want to go the whole nine yards. You can go out with a post saying you’ve decided to manage your family’s digital footprint more carefully.
7. Don’t underestimate the bush telegraph
If you have casually told one friend or family member, thinking it will go no further. Know that you may be mistaken!
Unless you’ve explicitly and firmly told that person not to breathe a word, that news has the potential to travel further and faster than you can imagine. So never assume that your secret is safe.
8. Mask pregnancy precautions
We know someone who spent the early part of her pregnancy holding a glass of wine that she never took a sip of, when attending social events. She was pretty keen to conceal her condition for as long as possible, and this decoy vino threw others off the scent.
People are very quick to notice non-drinkers, so this potential giveaway is something to consider and plan for.
9. Be aware of little ears
Sometimes it’s the very young members of a family that mention something to someone and before you know it, the news has spread like wildfire and it’s popped up in your Kindergarten’s Facebook group or in a comment thread on a friend’s page.
If you’re keeping things hush-hush, you might want to consider including the little people at your place in your media blackout.
10. Turn off location posting
Um. If you’ve snapped a photo and uploaded it to Facebook or Instagram and it reveals that you’re right next to the Royal Women’s Hospital, Lamaze Studio or similar, people are going to ask questions!
Turn that location tagging off and avoid posting snaps that are obviously pregnant lady territory – maternity hospitals, doula’s HQ, that kind of thing!
How about you, reader? Has someone stolen your pregnancy or baby news thunder?