I have nothing against sending photographs of your children to friends and family. In fact, I think it’s great when someone uses their family photo as a holiday card instead of a cartoon drawing of Frosty the Snowman. But I object when the photograph is sent under false pretenses. Birth announcements fall into this category.
I would argue that in the course of human history, a birth announcement has never been sent to someone who did not know that the baby had been born.
Therefore, it should hardly be characterized as an announcement.
Instead, these so-called announcements are more like opportunities for printers and photographers to generate a little extra income for utterly unnecessary reasons.
They are sent by justifiably proud parents who are under the misguided notion that newborns are cute. While I understand the desire to send these photographs, I would simply like to suggest that we stop sending them under the allusion that we are announcing the birth of a child.
Just send the photo with a note that says, “Yeah, I know he’s pink and wrinkled. I realize that his head is somewhat misshapen and he doesn’t know how to smile yet, but isn’t he cute!”
At least this would be honest.
Unless, of course, you’ve had a C-section baby. Without the trauma of passing through the birth canal, these babies can actually look cute from time to time. Less pink and considerably less misshapen, but still a little funny looking from time to time.
And yes, my daughter was a C-section baby, and she was cute as hell.
Some day, when my wife isn’t looking, I’m going to respond to a friend’s birth announcement with a note that says:
I visited you in the hospital a day after your baby was born. Have you already forgotten, because you sent me an announcement. I am well aware that your baby currently exists, and therefore any announcement indicating his existence was entirely unnecessary. In fact, didn’t we just speak on the phone last Sunday? All you could talk about was the damn baby.
But good news! I’ve forwarded your birth announcement to a stranger, chosen at random from the phone book, thereby preserving its status as an actual announcement. And don’t worry. Babies get cuter as they get older. This pink, wrinkled, misshapen appearance is only temporary.
Perhaps I’ll even include a copy of a poem that I wrote on the subject
And for the record, no, we did not send a birth announcement upon the arrival of Clara. While many of my friends assured me that we would (“You just wait until you have a child of your own,” they would assure me), Elysha and I thought it would be downright stupid to send an announcement to people who already knew about Clara’s arrival.
So there. I told you so.