If there's one thing most parents can agree on in 2014, it's the importance of an artfully crafted pregnancy announcement on Facebook. When I first tackled this unavoidable subject two years ago, we saw examples like the ever-popular Prego spaghetti sauce announcement (which still makes no sense), and talked about whether a person can have "too many" sonogram pictures on her page (answer: yes). Since then, the thought and effort that parents-to-be put into their pregnancy announcements has managed to ramp up on social platforms, because you can never have too much of a good thing. Plus, by now most parents have caught on to the fact that pregnancy announcements on social media are the first truly demonstrative acts of love for their child that the public will see, so it's crucial to win over friends and family by the second trimester. Parents must communicate that yes, they're having a baby, but also that they have a great sense of humor, are culturally in tune, hip to the latest trends, and really, REALLY want to celebrate this new life with their entire social network.
It's not that I don't understand the impulse behind announcing a pregnancy in a fun and creative way. I do, and plenty of Facebook users think a major announcement warrants custom flair. But sometimes people post things that make you wonder why. Or rather, who. Who art directed this? Who made these composition choices? Are attention-grabbing pregnancy announcements just harmlessly amusing, or are they arguably self-serving and obnoxious? Read the second installment of this ongoing "trend journalism" series, and decide for yourself.
1. Well-Intentioned Movie Poster Announcement
This couple's idea to play off 'Inception' kind of makes sense? But so does their friend's question, which, after giving the poster some thought, somewhat disproves the whole theme. Is this movie poster just a preemptive notice that the couple is planning to conceive in May?? I suppose any good marketing effort has an early rollout. Maybe that's actually what pregnancy announcements will be like in the future. People will make fake movie posters to advertise their future attempts to get pregnant so everyone can get in on the process in the pre-embryonic stages.
2. Family Shoes Announcement
You could make the case that the family shoes trend has all but replaced the Prego trend, but I'm sure Prego is still going strong in some random pockets of social media. Still, the family shoes trend arrived hard on the scene in the past couple years, and I'm not sure it's shown any signs of slowing down. Some people like to tailor their shoes pictures to be more "original," while others go a more traditional route by lining up dad's dress shoes, mom's cute flats, and baby's new shoes all neat in a row and edited with a Valencia filter. In the case of the above photo, Leslie wants the world to know two things: 1. She and her husband are tooootally non-traditional (she in cowboy boots, he in Vans), and 2. Making a baby and making gun jokes are actually not mutually exclusive. This baby's coming out with a BANG, emirate??
3. Explosive Sex Reveal Announcement
When I first saw this picture, I was struck by the excitement and confetti, thinking, "Who doesn't like a little confetti?" But after really looking at it, I noticed some other things, too. Like, I assume this photo is from the couple's "sex reveal party," which elicits an eye-roll or three, and I guess they hung up sonogram bunting, as one does, to celebrate. Then they gave their friends confetti to throw on them when the sex was revealed, and then they used the picture someone took of that moment and turned it into the Facebook sex reveal announcement. From start to finish, it's a several-stage process.
But if you want to get technical, could this couple have feasibly thrown together this party, had this photo taken, and edited the photo for Facebook all in the space of about 10-15 minutes? Sure. I'm not judging the amount of time this took so much as acknowledging that this is how overtly excited we all get about ourselves, in public, in 2014. Yay, us! Any excuse to throw ourselves a pre-baby shower shower, right? Also, does anyone else think the font and color choices for 'It's a boy!' kinda looks like one of those old school screensavers? It's a minor stylistic decision that I can't stand behind.
4. Higher Calling Announcement
Okay, maybe some of you think this is adorable, but to me, combining a cute little poem with a photo taken of your pregnancy test as it's being held over Bible scripture comes off a bit smug. I get that she's just conveying that this is a special gift from God, or that she's meant to be a mother or whatever, but really, Taylor, take that maudlin crap back to Pinterest.
5. Morning Sickness Thumbs-Up Announcement
Ahhh, the fake vomit picture. How prevalent these have been. Look, I'm not saying that I can't get behind good humor, and I love a woman who can laugh at herself. But the thing is, you never SEE the woman laughing in these trendy pictures, because she's too busy pretending to barf while crouching on her knees in front of an open toilet. It's always the man you see, grinning in the foreground, possibly with a thumbs up, as if to say, "I did that! Job well done, DAD!", and I'm not so keen on that. Yeah, yeah, I know most people enjoy these pictures for what they are and don't read into them too much, but I have to say, I find this trend to be extremely "male," which is ironic, given the circumstances.
Last but not least, if you've ever asked yourself the question, "Is it possible to announce a surprise pregnancy that's 21 weeks along without looking like a jackass?", the answer is yes! Most of us have had at least one friend who didn't know she was pregnant until she was several weeks, if not months, along, and there's always a cautious air of restrained congratulations in the comments of the Facebook announcement. But if you're Lauren, there's none of that. Just laughing, virtual high-fiving, and heartfelt congratulatory messages of joy. When in doubt, make anchorman Ron Burgundy do your dirty work. There may be no better way to say "I'm having a baby!" than that.