Pregnancy Announcements: Etiquette
You've been keeping it a secret for weeks, but now that you're starting to show, it's time to tell the world that you're pregnant.
But what's the best way? Pregnancy announcements, while unheard of just a few years ago, are a growing trend. In fact, Tiny Prints, an online card store specializing in birth announcements and invitations, has an entire section devoted to pregnancy announcements.
Expectant parents can announce their pregnancy in style with more than 30 different pregnancy announcements available on the site, including "Stork News," "Expecting," "Coming Soon," or "Due Date" cards.
It appears sending pregnancy announcements is gaining in popularity, but what would your grandmother think of this trend, and just what is the proper pregnancy announcement etiquette, anyway?
Etiquette experts say they frown upon written pregnancy announcements.
"Few of life's events, no matter how significant, are proper subjects of formal announcements. You do not send cards announcing pregnancies, engagements or deaths, and Miss Manners does not really approve of them for births, either," writes Judith Martin in "Miss Manners' Guide for the Turn of the Millennium."
But is the advice of Miss Manners still relevant? After all, she doesn't approve of birth announcements, yet they have become so common that it almost seems rude not to send one. And, in today's world, a birth announcement sent by mail rather than e-mail appears traditional -- even classy -- despite Miss Manners' view.
In a few years, pregnancy announcements may be viewed similarly: Compared to announcing your pregnancy to the world via Twitter, Facebook or a blog post, sending a written pregnancy announcement seems more personal.
Traditional pregnancy announcement etiquette dictates that a woman should wait until she is safely out of her first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is highest, to share the happy news. Family and friends would then be told of the pregnancy in person or by telephone.
But social media has changed the way many couples handle pregnancy announcements -- particularly when telling an extended circle of friends and acquaintances. In August, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., announced her pregnancy via Twitter.
"Brian and I are excited to announce we're expecting; Cole will have a baby sister for Christmas," she tweeted. A few hours later, she posted a longer pregnancy announcement on her Facebook page.
Before making a pregnancy announcement on Twitter or Facebook, however, consider the people who should be told personally first. For example, if your mother-in-law doesn't use social media, the kindest thing would be to invite her over or call her on the phone to share the news before you blast it to the world and she hears it secondhand.
It might be hurtful if she's the last to know. "Well, she should be following my Twitter feed" is not a justification for hurtful behavior.
If you're a working mother, consider how your pregnancy announcement could affect your career. Although pregnancy discrimination is illegal, it still occurs and can be difficult to prove in court. You might want to keep your pregnancy under wraps until you start showing -- particularly if you're trying to get a promotion or are just a few months away from your annual review. When you're ready to announce your pregnancy at work, be sure to tell your boss first and be ready to discuss how you plan to handle your work, your due date and any maternity leave issues.
The world is changing rapidly, and the rules on pregnancy announcement etiquette are not clear cut. But, while showing consideration for the feelings of their parents and elderly relatives, couples should pick the pregnancy announcement style that works for them -- whether it's a formal card or a 140 character tweet.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.