Few things about pregnancy are more exciting, and terrible, than ultrasounds. After discovering that you’re becoming one of those "people who make people," and having your whole internal world turned inside out, ultrasounds give you a chance to actually look inside your body and witness the wondrous little being responsible for all that physical chaos. If you’re like any other good millennial, diligently sharing photos of every snap-worthy meal before you eat it, seeing photographic proof of your reproductive prowess certainly registers as a BFD, and something to share with friends and family via the internet. However, before you do, please consider a few rules for sharing ultrasound pictures on social media.
Make no mistake (and I mean this with nothing but sincerity) you should absolutely feel ridiculously, massively proud of the fact that you are making people. Yes, billions of other people have done it before you, but it’s a freaking miracle every single time it actually happens. The day we lose sight of the wonder of this process, is the day we lose touch with our humanity and with what it means to appreciate life itself. However, there's no denying that ultrasound pictures occupy this weird and emotionally fraught social space, where they’re actually still relatively new in the grand scheme of things so we’re not quite sure about who should and shouldn’t see them, and social media is definitely still pretty new in our social history so we’re still figuring out the norms around how we use it to communicate about major events. So already, that’s just a lot of new stuff colliding with a really important moment in your life, when you’re already prone to emotional (read: hormonal) fits and breakdowns. (Admit it, every third commercial on TV makes you cry now. I see you.)
So, if you’re going to post your ultrasound photo on social media, and I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t, make sure you edit off your name and medical facility, double (and triple) check your privacy settings, and then consider taking the following advice:
Make A Definitive Ranking Of All The People In Your Life
Here's the thing about major life events: other people use them to figure out how you feel about your relationship to them, because everything in the world is actually about them. (Oh, you thought your life news was about you and the other people who are actually directly involved? That’s adorable.) If you dare to post about your pregnancy without making this list first, and your third cousin once removed has to find out about your pregnancy along with all the rabble on Facebook, she’s gonna be mighty pissed. Do your homework in advance, so you know exactly who needs to see the ultrasound picture before the internet, in order to avoid major friend and family meltdowns.
Lower Your Expectations For People's Knowledge Of The Human Body
Remember that episode of The Office where Michael sees Pam’s ultrasound photo and exclaims, “That’s the inside of your vagina!” Yeah, Michael Scott is a fictional character, but he is inspired by a lot of ignorant people who are very, very real. If you ever want to rage at the deficiencies of sex education in this country, ask the average person to distinguish a uterus from a vagina from a vulva. Or, you know, post your ultrasound photo on social media.
Lower Your Expectations For People's Reaction To The Content Of The Image
Chances are, if you’re considering sharing an ultrasound photo on the internet, it’s because this ranks pretty highly on the list of "Biggest Moments Of Your Entire Life." However, to a lot of the people seeing it, it’s a kinda awkward photo of someone who may eventually be a baby. Some folks still consider it oversharing, so it's wise to lower your expectations so on the off chance that you don’t get a flood of likes, or even get some negative comments, it won’t be such a big deal.
Just Lower Your Expectations, In General
We’re talking parenthood here, the Super Bowl of online judgment. Don’t be surprised if posting this photo sifts the shaming moms and other weirdos in your feed to the surface. On the plus side, at least you’ll start seeing who they are well in advance of your child’s arrival.
If Possible, Wait Until Your Fetus Appears Discernibly Human
You should absolutely feel empowered to announce your pregnancy whenever and however you see fit. However, if your future offspring is still in the phase of development where it just barely qualifies as a fetus, or there’s still a discernible yolk sac in the image, its picture is probably only exciting to you, its future grandparents, and pre-med students. If the potential for DM whispering about your photo bothers you, maybe keep that in mind when deciding which shot to post.
Maybe Don't Post Those 3D Keepsake Ones?
Most experts say folks should avoid keepsake 3D ultrasounds to begin with, on the grounds that having under-researched medical exams performed by poorly regulated vendors at the mall is not generally the best idea. Still, if you’re going that route, please, please, please think twice before posting the photo on social media. It’s just a lot of detail for a fetus. Lord knows even brand-new, actually born babies still have a bit of that scrawny alien look to them (Except mine, of course. And yours, dear reader.), but 3D close up shots of them before they’re fully cooked? Oof. No. Just, no.
But Funny/Weird 2D Shots Of Your Fetus Are Cool
During one of my son’s ultrasounds, he turned right toward the transducer and his face looked just like Strong Bad from Homestar Runner. Apparently this is kind of common. If your fetus does something funny or weird like that, totally share it on social media so everyone can enjoy. It could even be your shot at viral internet fame!
Double-Check That No One On Your Friends List Is An Amateur Radiologist Or Other Armchair Expert
If you’re set on sharing your ultrasound pic on the internet, it’s already going to be a bit of a downer if people don’t have the reaction you want. The last thing you need in your vulnerable and hormonal state is some drive-by Facebook friend looking at your blurry internet photo and publicly, ominously suggesting you have cause to seek a second opinion or find a specialist or be at all concerned. Being a woman on the internet already comes with too much "Well, actually," moments. Trust me, nobody wants to hear it when it's their unborn child on the other side of that comma.