Randi Zuckerberg

Facebook thinks of the children with new "expecting" profile option

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Letting your friends and family know you are expecting a child can be one of the most important announcements of your life. But if it’s too much of a hassle, that task can now be delegated to your Facebook profile. 

Facebook has given expectant parents one new way to announce the pending arrival of their little one. Users can implement the “Expected: Child” feature by adding another family member and selecting from the dropdown list of relations. 

“We’re always testing new features. Earlier this year, Facebook started providing the option to add an 'Expected: Child' as a way for users to more accurately express their identity,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Daily Dot. 

Facebook staff may well have babies on the brain now. In May, Randi Zuckerberg, the company's head of consumer marketing and older sister of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, gave birth to her first child, a son named Asher. Facebook provides extensive company perks to expecting employees, like four months of parental leave and $4,000 in “baby cash." And while half a decade ago many Facebook employees were just out of college, with the passage of years, Zuckerberg might not be the only young Facebook staff member thinking of starting a family. 

It wouldn't be the first time the idea for a Facebook feature was sparked by employees' lives. In May 2009, it was the arrival of Mother’s Day that inspired Facebook designer Julie Zhuo to begin implementing a way for family members to connect their profiles. (Randi Zuckerberg was not available for comment on whether she had a hand in the new feature. But even if it's just coincidence, the Daily Dot views it as a charming one.)

It’s not like parents needed more encouragement from Facebook to share every ultrasound, doctor’s appointment, and growing belly photo on their feeds. However, this option keeps users from breaking a Facebook policy that forbids users under 13—and, presumably, under the age of zero. When a Texas couple made a page for their unborn child two months ago, Facebook took it down within a week. The baby, since born, now has her own Facebook group.

Not everyone is embracing the new option. 

Facebook user Jennah Watters, visibly pregnant in her profile photo, opted not to use “Expected: Child” to announce her pregnancy.

“Though I'm generally very open about sharing, there are lots of variables in a pregnancy that make me not want to add that until the child is here. I actually had a miscarriage before this pregnancy, so I waited until I was almost 4 months along to publicly share the news on Facebook and even on my personal blog,” she said. 

Watters’ opinion is reflected in this Atlantic Wire opinion piece by Rebecca Greenfield: 

“If you suddenly change your status from 'In a Relationship' to 'Single,' people notice and talk. On the spectrum of touchy emotional moments, a miscarriage ranks pretty high. If you toggle the 'Expected: Child' option, imagine how difficult it is to deal with that loss in public."

Watters said she has yet to see any fellow expectant moms toggle the option.

“I haven't seen anyone even mention it on Facebook,” she said. 

Whether mothers-to-be utilize the new option or not, Facebook provides plenty of ways to announce a new baby, from a status update to a profile picture of the ultrasound to a group. 

No report on a Facebook app to help parents share the news offline. But that's the obvious next step for a crafty developer.

Photo via AnythingHollywood.com