When my daughter was born in 2003, my husband and I made the calls to our friends and family from our hospital room. Each call reminded me a bit of the movies and TV shows when the dad walks out of the delivery room into a crowd of people anxiously awaiting the good news and says, “It’s a girl!” and the group erupts with joy.
In reality, new parents are tired after labor and nurses are in and out of the hospital room. It’s hard to make calls or even texts or emails to everyone. In 2003, I created a phone chain: my boss so they could tell my co-workers, my best college friend to share the news with our sorority sisters, etc. Even if you are far removed from the hospital room, it is so fun to be the messenger when it comes to new baby news.
For my brand new baby, born in late October, I was presented with a dilemma- do I announce the baby’s birth via Facebook or Twitter right away? I decided I wanted the joy of talking to my closest friends via phone. I wanted my aunts and cousins to find out if we had a boy or a girl from my mom, not from a photo uploaded to Facebook.
The baby was born at 1pm. We made our calls and sent emails to our groups of friends and co-workers, little by little. At the end of the day, we uploaded a picture of the baby to Facebook. I was happy we did it this way, but was upset that I forgot to contact a few friends via email. Even a mass email would have been more personal than finding out via the status update to my 500 Facebook friends. I get the practicality of Facebook for announcing this type of news, but feel like digital technology adds some outside pressure to an intimate experience. That’s why, as a Twitter and Facebook fanatic, I started to wean myself off status updates as I was given a C-section date.
Decidedly not practical at all, a few weeks after the birth, I sent out print birth announcements to our friends and family. Only about 5 percent of my mailing list didn’t know about the baby, but I still hope everyone enjoyed my carefully selected letterpress announcement to formally mark such a special occasion. As much as Facebook is fun for connecting with our network of relationships, there’s still something to be said for old-fashioned social protocol.