Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ways to determine which new parent authors the birth announcement email

Earlier this week I received a birth announcement email message from the husband of a woman who applied for a graduate assistantship in my office a couple of years ago. They just had their first baby and were deservedly basking in the "look at what we just created" bliss. And although the message was signed from the family, I knew immediately that the husband had authored it. How, you ask?

Clue #1: Who?! I barely know this woman. In fact, I almost deleted the message because I didn't recognize the name of the sender. It took me a while to figure out who it was, but I finally did with the help of the pictures attached to the message. My email address must have been in her address book from when we corresponded years ago about the job opening in my office. And I deduced that her husband, not being armed with a preset list of people to contact, sent the announcement to her entire email address book.

Clue #2: TMI. The message included a long paragraph that gave a minute-by-minute account of the woman's labor, beginning with her induction, not dilating for hours and then dilating quickly, finally receiving an epidural, napping for hours, dilating to 5 cm and finally to 10 cm, and then over two hours of pushing. I felt exhausted just reading the message. While I didn't necessarily mind the TMI because I'm secretly fascinated by childbirth stories and I was relieved that the message wasn't crude (as others have been... more on that later), I still wondered if the woman knew that her husband had shared such intimate details with EVERYONE in her address book, including her professional contacts?

Clue #3: Insanely proud, but clearly shell-shocked. The new doting daddy's pride in his wife and new son were definitely endearing. He mentioned her "amazing abilities" and "hard work" and his son's handsomeness and "strong presence". The tone of the email was one of such wide-eyed amazement that I felt that I needed to pat him on the back for simply taking it all in and reporting it to us.

This message made me laughingly recall other doting daddies' birth announcements. Plenty of new dads have written how their sons and daughters simply "popped out" (like baseball?) or "slid into the world" (just like sliding into home base, right? what's up with the baseball lingo?). One husband wrote that his wife's labor was "a breeze" (note: I've known 25-30 women who have given birth over the last few years. While several have said, "it wasn't as bad as I expected", not one of them ever described the experience as "a breeze".).

The most memorable birth announcement of late was sent by one of Brad's former co-workers regarding the birth of his first son. After reading a somewhat pompous message that I think was intended to be funny, but in my opinion just sounded crude and immature, I clicked on the attached picture only to be greeted by a two-minute-old baby covered in blood and who knows what else, swollen genitals front and center of the picture, his mouth agape while screaming his head off, and a look of sheer terror in his eyes. I immediately closed the picture because it scared the living daylights out of me. I never looked at it again, but the image remains with me to this day. Brad said that his coworkers reacted the same way that I did.

I anticipate that maybe that mother will proofread from now on.


Katie said...

I'm always surprised by the pictures dads will send out of the new mom - moments after delivery. I know it's tough, and no woman has to look good in these moments - but no woman has to have her photo taken and shared with the world then either. What are these dads thinking? If I have kids - No PHOTOS of me IN THE DELIVERY ROOM or within a couple of hours of delivery!

Smiling Mama said...

This is so funny and so true! Here's a hint--knowing that my hubby would be sending the e-mail about the birth of our son, I created a draft e-mail that just contained that "to" e-mail addresses so he could just click on that and fill in the details. And, yeah, and I totally agree with Katie. Let's stick with pics of the kid, not the disheveled mom!

diana onorio funk said...

I left the email announcement job up to Lisa... gave her the address list and let her do the rest.

I'm still laughing over the "labor's a breeze" comment. Yeah, that's what it was! It was gentle, like kittens licking you!