After nine long months of pregnancy, hours of labour and those first exciting (and for some, nerve-racking!) moments holding your baby for the first time, you will probably be ready to announce your baby’s birth to the world.
Friends and family will no doubt be waiting for an announcement, chomping at the bit to welcome the newest member of your family.
You will probably feel like sprinting to the roof to scream at the top of your lungs that you have just welcomed the most amazing baby in the world.
Alternatively, you may feel like taking a full page advert out in a national newspaper, but newspaper sales have plummeted in recent years so it may not be good value for money.
When the baby does arrive, you will probably want to be the one announcing the birth, or at least have editorial powers over the picture and information selected to break the news.
You won't want someone else making those decisions for you, especially without your consent, so here is a guide to share with your friends and family before the big day:
A Guide To Birth Announcement Etiquette
This article contains absolutely everything you need to know about birth announcement etiquette. Following these five simple rules will help you to stay on the good side of the new parents, and will (probably) increase the number of newborn cuddles you get.
#1: Remember, All Families Are Different
Birth announcements aren't always simple. Each family dynamic is unique, and there may be family politics to consider. The new parents may want to tell certain family members the news before announcing it to the world. The new parents are the people who should get to decide who knows about the birth and when, so this is a good discussion to have with the expectant parents well before the birth.
#2: Don't Announce It For Them
If you were lucky enough to be sent a birth announcement text or phone call, you should feel very pleased. You are obviously considered an important part of their life, and they wanted you to be one of the first to know. Excited as you are, this doesn't automatically mean you can announce the baby's arrival for them. If they haven't posted about the birth on social media, don't do it for them. Congratulate the new parents via text, phone call, card or in person, but don't tag them in a status update.
#3: Always Ask Permission Before Sharing The News
Before the birth is public knowledge, you should always check before telling people about the new baby. Friends in common may end up offended or upset if they hear the news secondhand, and it may frustrate the parents that you broke the news for them. Some parents won't care of course, but may still appreciate you checking before sharing their good news.
#4: Don't Share Photos Without Permission
In a world of social sharing, and newsfeeds piled high with baby photos, it's easy to forget that not everyone shares personal things online. Some people are particularly cautious when it comes to sharing photographs of children. While the new parents may be happy sharing baby photos on their social media sites, knowing that each person on there is a real life friend and all settings are private and secure, they may not be happy with you sharing that same image. Your friends are not their friends, and you may not have the same privacy settings as them, so you shouldn't assume that it's ok for you to share photos of their child online. Always ask permission before sharing a photo of the new baby online.
#5: Remember, It's Not Your News
It may seem a little silly to have etiquette surrounding birth announcements, but there have been plenty of fall outs with birth announcements, and social media these days can certainly throw a cat amongst the pigeons. Many parents probably won't care if you accidentally scoop their big news, but some will, and for those who do, it can be upsetting to lose control of this big announcement.
Couples may be waiting until certain people have been informed of the birth before sharing with the wider community (for example, if they have a close relative who is difficult to contact or overseas), or they may be hoping for a few days of privacy before telling the world. They may simply be waiting for an opportune moment, or may be busy planning the perfect public announcement. Whatever their reasons for waiting are, you must respect them. It's not your news, but it has been shared with you early because you are obviously an important person in this new family's life. Keep it that way by keeping their secret until they are ready to invite the world to hear all about their perfect newest addition.