The Case Against Facebook's 'I'm Expecting!' Option

The social network's newest addition just doesn't feel right

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Facebook rolled out a new feature which allows you to share your pregnancy with your Friends, reports the Daily Mail. You could previously add family members to your profile, but now you can also indicate your not-yet-born relations too, with the "Expected: Child" option. Over the years, Facebook has added more opportunities for personalization, like their recent addition of domestic partnerships and civil unions to the relationship status options. People appreciate this type of increased inclusion--the more options, the better, right? Maybe not.

The first odd thing about the newest addition is the way Facebook decided to label the pregnancy: "Expected: Child."  As if you could expect some other family member. Like, Expected: Camaro, or Expected: Diamond earrings. The construction makes it seem more like a UPS delivery notice, than a new human. Didn't Facebook foresee the endless mocking possibilities?

Beyond the funny labeling, making a life changing announcement via Facebook sucks the emotion right out of it, argues The Stir's Maressa Brown, "Isn't it just a bit anti-climatic to have your besties or your mother-in-law find out while scrolling through their News Feed, and the only reaction you get from them is a "Like"?" Of course, Facebook isn't new to pregnancy announcements--women could update their status with the news, but just clicking a button makes it seem even more removed and robotic than a status update. "If I've got to learn about a friend's pregnancy via Facebook, I'd rather see that Rachel Beth So-and-So posted an actual status update that says something along the lines of, "DH and I are expecting!! Due date: 12-4-11 <3" or "30 weeks along now!" than see that she added "Expected: Child" to her profile," writes Brown.

Maybe you don't care about the medium through which you give and receive birth announcements. But what about the possibility of miscarriage? As with any Facebook update, the knowledge is very public. If you suddenly change your status from "In a Relationship" to "Single," people notice and talk. On the spectrum of touchy emotional moments, a miscarriage ranks pretty high. If you toggle the "Expected: Child" option, imagine how difficult it is to deal with that loss in public. A woman, AngelaM84, who went through a miscarriage on Facebook explains the pain she faced on a BabyCare message board.

I announced my pregnancy on my Facebook page at something like 6 weeks, which I now completely regret. I wasn't sure how to handle letting people know I'd lost the baby, so I just didn't post anything specific. Right afterward, some friends/family who knew made it pretty obvious what had happened with their posts. However, I've had several people write to me asking me how the baby is doing. It is so hard to get those messages/posts.

Although she chose to post her miscarriage as a status, women who choose the "Expected: Child" option will struggle with similar issues. And making a pregnancy announcement a click away only makes it easier and way more normal to choose this very public disclosure.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.