Don't Share News That Isn't Yours To Share

by Caila Smith
Originally Published: 
Julia Meslener for Scary Mommy and Pexels

I can’t say that I’m a fan of folks who make social media posts that swoop in and steal another’s thunder. With this world’s love for social media, people have forgotten how to be a safe haven for another’s secret. Or, at the very least, how to just keep our mouths closed and our thumbs from clicking “Post.”

The foremost victim of this unwanted oversharing from others? New parents… of course.

What baffles me the most is how many expecting mothers and fathers are forced to publicly share the news before they’re ready just to avoid someone else spilling the beans about their baby’s birth. I mean, shouldn’t this just be common knowledge? Doesn’t everyone know that the parents of the baby, those who nurtured, grew, and waited ten months for their little one, should be the only ones allowed to first share their big news? Even before the days of social media, wasn’t it well known not to make that special phone call to others without permission?

You’d think so, but apparently not.

I saw a prime example of this two weeks ago. As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I happened to stumble across a mother-in-law sharing the birth of her grandbaby before the mother or father were even given the chance. In the photo’s caption, this new grandma shared her grandbaby’s weight, time, and date of birth… as well as just about everything else under the sun that a new mom and dad should have the right to share first. When I looked at the timestamp of her post and compared it to the time the baby was born, I realized she had given this new mom a whole two hours before taking the liberty of making this post herself.

Not that it would be any different, but this mom had a C-section… and she gave her two flippin’ hours with her new baby before getting all of social media involved. It is downright selfish to do that to any new parent, let alone one that is recovering from a C-section.

C-section moms are usually still laying down and being monitored in the recovery room, hooked up to about a million wires and tubes, during this time. Skin-to-skin is happening, moments that are so fleeting, and the phones aren’t in use unless it’s camera-mode. New parents shouldn’t have to wonder if their visitors are in the waiting room announcing their big news for them.

Nina P/Reshot

But because of today’s social media frenzy, moms and dads are stressing over maintaining their privacy in this aspect. And make no mistake, it’s happening far earlier than the baby’s birth — it’s the entirety of moments leading up to a baby’s arrival. It’s happening at gender reveals. Invited guests are taking another’s big news and blasting it on social media without permission. And it’s happening from the moment parents first see a plus-sign on their pregnancy tests or given their adoption papers.

And truth be told, this oversharing is provoked from nearly every big moment in another’s life too. The happy times, but also the sad ones too.

It’s health diagnoses that aren’t ours to share. It’s the news of a sudden injury that isn’t our injury to talk about. And it’s the loss of a loved one that we shouldn’t out when we will not grieve near as much in comparison. Believe it or not, this world continues to spin without these thoughtless social media posts which are created on a whim… perhaps more smoothly if we could forget our own wants and focus on another’s needs.

We are forgetting that, especially in this day of age, some people are private. With so many of us used to sharing our lives on social media (me being one of those over-sharers from time to time), some of us have forgotten how to respect others who aren’t involved in public announcements and posts in the same way.

And somehow, maybe without noticing, we’ve dismissed the logic that some people have valid reasoning for needing their private life to stay private. Even when it comes to our closest friends and family, what is seen on the outside is just the tip of the iceberg. And beneath it lies so much more than we could attempt to decipher.

When the news of a baby’s arrival is announced before the parents have the opportunity to share, or prior to their blessing, “well-meaning” loved ones are putting new parents who don’t want visitors in a tough situation. Not only that, but these moms and dads are being robbed of their peace and precious moments with their little one.

If friends or family find out they are expecting a baby, they might need time to process the change before sharing it publicly. Maybe they want to wait until their 12-week scan, who knows? And really… what is it to someone else?

As we get older, and the diagnoses and deaths of others become more frequent, we must become sensitized to the grieving- and hurting-hearted person’s needs.

These big moments — the good and the bad — aren’t ours to share. They aren’t the lapses in our lives that define the course of our path. Maybe it’s not you, but someone you know wants to walk their journey without the meaningless noise of social media behind them. Other times, they want to be the one who gets to shout it from the mountaintop.

If we want to be good to those we love, then let’s just be thankful we were the first ones they wanted to share their journey with.

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