July 29, 2011 at 2:22 PM ET
Sharing news about a pregnancy — yours or anyone else's — is pretty personal. Some people can't wait to get the word out; others are intensely private, and the last place they'd want to put that info is on Facebook (talk about issuing a media alert). But now you can, if you want to. The social networking site has added that option — "Expected: Child" — that users can add as part of their family members.
You can add the baby's name and anticipated date of birth, and the word does go out, as an update, published in your news feed.
As the Daily Mail noted, previously, "parents had to create a new profile for their unborn baby breaking Facebook rules which state all users much be at least 13 years of age ... The new option now lets users prominently display their momentous news without using a separate page."
Not everyone is crazy about this idea, witness the etiquette question published this week by Philip Galanes, who writes the New York Times' "Social Q's" column:
My husband and I are expecting our first child, and we plan to tell his parents after the first trimester. My mother-in-law posts photos and personal information on Facebook indiscriminately. But for privacy and safety reasons, I prefer no mention of my pregnancy on Facebook or anything about our child, even after he is born. Subtle messages don’t always register with her. How can I inform her that her involvement in my baby’s life will wane if she does not comply with my wishes?
Galanes' response, in part:
Because you care deeply about this issue, why be subtle? Why not say: “It’s important to me that you not mention my pregnancy on Facebook until the baby is born. Understood?” Then see what happens. As a mother, you have every right to restrict online photos and other identifying information about Baby Cakes. But the idea that you control the very mention of her grandchild’s existence is a little self-aggrandizing, on par with Donald Trump.
Agree? Disagree. But we digress.
Some people do want to shout such pregnancy news from the rooftops — or the modern-day version of that, Facebook.
The "At what week did you announce you're expecting on Facebook" question was also discussed some months ago on the JustMoms website. There, the answers varied as much as the moms themselves: "12 weeks." "At 9 weeks after my first appointment :)" "We haven't yet and i am already 15 weeks we will wait until we know the gender" "I wont be announcing on fb, my closest family and friends know and thats enough for me."
But it may not be enough for everyone.
So, to see the new Facebook "addition" yourself, click on "Edit my profile," then on the left-hand side of the page, click on "Friends and Family." There you have the option of adding the names of family members by their relative status: Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Sister, Brother and so on. You'll also now see "Expected: Child" there.
A Facebook spokesperson said Friday the social networking site sees the add-on as "another way people can express their identity and show what's important to them."