Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shhh… I'm Pregnant! It's a Secret! (But should it be?)

Okay I'm not actually pregnant, but I just read a very thought-provoking piece. Take a moment to read it, if you will. Author, Abigail Rasminsky, details several ideas I have wrestled with concerning when to announce a new pregnancy. 
I found this paragraph to be gut-wrenchingly true:
"I wonder whose anxiety we’re trying to protect in concealing these first few difficult months. Is this supposed to be for my sake? Are we trying to protect me from the embarrassment of admitting that I can’t go 45 minutes without eating and am gaining weight at a rapid clip? That I spend most of the day crying and moaning on the couch, Alicia Florrick my fictional companion? That I’m afraid of losing the pregnancy but can’t fathom that this debilitating state of being has anything to do with an actual baby? Are we really trying to save me from having to share the news if I have a miscarriage? Or are we trying to protect our culture from admitting that not all pregnancies are beautiful and easy and make it to term, and that the loss can be absolutely devastating?" (emphasis mine) 

I think in our culture, addicted to "sharing" anything and everything on various social media platforms, it is a curious thing that the joyful news of a new life is often shrouded in mystery and kept secret for so long. It seems most people find this information to be deeply personal, so therefore only shared in confidence with close family and friends, in person or via the ever-rare-in-our-day phone call. I fully empathize with this position. I think the pomp and circumstance of Facebook (and other social media) pregnancy announcements is a bit overdone nowadays (this coming from someone who herself did a fun, silly pregnancy announcement for Avila, so I get it). 

Except your pregnancy. That's different. 

Something that this essay and "hide the pregnancy" culture has had me realize is this: what people share on social media is often very selective. The VAST majority of us do not share deep and personal things on Facebook. We intrinsically know that the platform is a bit frivolous. So when we think we're "keeping up" with our friends and family on Facebook simply because we've viewed and "liked" their recent stream of posts, keep in mind that what they are sharing is likely a very tailored, censored, and simplistic highlight ream of the events in their life that they deem emotionally safe enough to openly share on a public forum. 

Of course, this is a generalization. Some people have very limited friend lists, so they feel more comfortable sharing deep and personal things on Facebook regularly. But I'd say most of us have a huge collection of Facebook friends that are mainly comprised of acquaintances, and as warm as we may feel about them, we tend to understand that not every person we're "friends" with on Facebook is equally worthy of knowing each personal thing we have to share. 

But our IRL (in real life) friends are different, aren't they?? I feel that we should be free to share our happy news with those people we regularly interact with! The effort it takes to hide a pregnancy from your community seems unnecessary, quite frankly. We shouldn't be ashamed or afraid. Neither of these emotions are from God.  1 John 14:18 says "There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear." 

I would encourage expectant mommies to allow the love they have for their newest child, and the love from our Heavenly Father that they are both being covered with to give them the courage they need to openly share their pregnancy with their community. Let your friends and family share in your joy, and in the life of this new person! Of course, it's a personal choice, but these are my thoughts on the matter. 

What do you think? When do you share the news of a new pregnancy? Do you have different rules for who you tell in person, versus on social media?
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