The new pregnancy announcement is no announcement at all

Mothers choose the birth as a first announcement for different reasons, including high-risk pregnancies that can leave them feeling vulnerable, the changing laws around reproductive freedom, and the simple desire to keep their best news to themselves. (Getty Images)

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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly said Grace's first pregnancy was ectopic. It was her second pregnancy. The article has been corrected.

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When Grace was about 12 weeks pregnant with her first child, she posted a picture-perfect Instagram announcement featuring ultrasound photos and a knit gray "NEW TO THE CREW" onesie. She even had a customized hashtag for the new addition.

But when Grace became pregnant a second time, it was an ectopic pregnancy. Then she had another miscarriage after that.

And so four years later, Grace, 29, skipped sharing anything about another pregnancy. Instead, she announced her daughter's arrival by sharing a newborn photo with the caption "Surprise!"

What changed? After a terrible time with the devastating losses, Grace decided to keep this pregnancy new for just a chosen few. She and her partner relished the secret of her pregnancy this time around: "Having things that you keep sacred to yourself in a world where you can share so much is beautiful."

Consider this its own announcement: the immaculately styled, made-for-Instagram pregnancy announcement is out and the hard launch is in. During the past decade or so, carefully planned and orchestrated pregnancy announcements, complete with siblings or pets holding signs about the new arrival, empty onesies promising to be filled soon, or framed black-and-white sonogram photos have populated Instagram and Facebook feeds. But as social media trends begin to shift in favor of more authentic and less posed and perfect content, the pregnancy announcement is following suit. Parents are opting out of sharing their pregnancy news, choosing instead to share news of their bundle of joy once the baby has actually arrived.

Mothers choose the birth as a first announcement for different reasons, including high-risk pregnancies which can leave them feeling vulnerable, the changing laws around reproductive freedom, and the simple desire to keep their best news to themselves.

When Grace, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her family's privacy, was sitting in the hospital room waiting to be treated for her ectopic pregnancy, the television was on announcing a new six-week abortion ban in Texas.

That was the first time she asked herself whether it made sense to share news of pregnancy online.

Grace's next pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and during her third pregnancy, the laws in her politically purple home state changed twice. "Suddenly, my body is this battleground and my safety and autonomy is not guaranteed," she says. "Do I want there to be evidence online that I'm pregnant? God forbid something goes wrong, I don't want it documented."

Kristy Ihle, 26, announced she was expecting another baby by posting a photo of her daughter holding a "Big Sister" sign. But somewhere between her second and third pregnancies, Ihle started to wonder: did the people she knew only peripherally and kept in vague touch with through social media need to know?

She began to think about the privacy of children online around the time she was pregnant with her third child, and so she culled her social presence. "I deleted a ton of people and stopped sharing as much," she says. "I wanted my pregnancy with him to be our own little special thing."

When Ihle's son was born, she posted a photo from the hospital. "I got a lot of messages from people that were like, 'Oh my God, I didn't even know you were pregnant!' I was like, 'That's the point.'"

On Etsy, there are seemingly countless digital files for parents-to-be to buy and personalize to make their social media pregnancy announcement perfect. Would you prefer holiday-themed or more centered on religion? Do you want people to know your child was the result of in vitro fertilization or a total surprise? Do you know the baby's gender already or are you having a personalized gender reveal down the line? Because those are all options.

Alyssa Slatton, 24, didn't choose any of the above. "My number one fear was announcing I was pregnant and then losing the baby and having to announce that," she says. "I was high-risk from the get-go."

Her Instagram grid didn't feature any photos starring her baby bump. Pregnancy brought with it a fierce feeling of protection: She wanted to keep her unborn baby to herself and her husband for as long as possible. It all felt so intimate, Slatton says, and being more incognito meant she and her husband could delight in their changing family privately.

When their son was finally born, they decided to share the news. But not with the whole world. They posted a photo to Slatton's private Facebook account.

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Fortesa Latifi is a journalist based in Los Angeles. Find her on Twitter @fortesalatifi.

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