There is no end to the level of personalization (or depersonalization, some might argue) you can achieve on Facebook. Married? You can make it known with the click of a button. Just got a divorce? You can let them know that, too. Now you can let folks know if you are expecting, too. Beyond a simple status update, with the “Expected: Child” option you can let others know your baby’s due date and even your choice of names.

 Facebook users have been able to add family members' to their accounts for almost a year. But this new option allows users to add an expected child to their profile and to simultaneously let others know about their baby news. To add a baby-on-the-way to your status:

  • Click 'Edit Profile' on your Facebook page
  • Choose the Family & Friends tab and select 'Add another family member'
  • From drop-down menu, click on 'Expected: Child'
  • Enter your baby’s due date and if desired, the chosen name
Still, not everyone is excited about the new Facebook option. Some users have complained that it is an incredibly impersonal way to announce that you’re expecting. At least with a status update, you can add exclamation points and happy faces and all of the other good stuff that let’s your friends know how you feel about your news. Compared to that, the “Expected:Child” update is a little boring. 

But why is it assumed that this is the only method that an expecting parent will use to announce the big news? And honestly, if that’s the way you choose to announce it, then chances are that you aren’t the kind of person who was going to be making a lot of personal phone calls about it either. To each his (or her) own.

But there is another concern about the option that is slightly more valid. What if — heaven forbid — something should happen to the baby. Of course, this concerns exists regardless of whether or not the expecting parents clicked the “Expected: Child” option. Losing a baby is brutally painful, and dealing with the aftermath of answering questions — or worse, constantly having to explain the situation to unsuspecting well-wishers — only adds insult to that pain. 

But if these soon-to-be parents in any way announced on Facebook that they were expecting, they will probably have to share news of their tragedy as well. And that will be hard. Toggling the option on the “Expected:Child” feature will also be hard. Some folks think it might just be too hard for someone dealing with a miscarriage to bear. And they may just have a point. But following that logic, expecting parents shouldn’t mention anything about their news on Facebook until after the baby is born — safe and healthy. Nor should they tell anyone but the closest family and friends.

But if you have family and friends — online and on Facebook — isn’t it better for them to know what’s going on in your life, even if it’s bad news, so that they can offer comfort and support and avoid making painfully inappropriate comments?

What do you think? Would you use the Expected: Child option of Facebook?

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