Sisterhood Blog

The New Jewish Baby Announcement: a Facebook Pee Stick Pic

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

You know it’s a new day in social networking (virtual and otherwise) when someone puts as her Facebook photo a picture of her pee stick home pregnancy test showing the 2 lines that indicate a baby is on the way.

While I don’t personally know the woman who decided to announce her pregnancy this way, we have FB friends in common, which is how I meandered over to her page (procrastinating while trying to write a Sisterhood blog post).

I love when technology and popular culture bump up against tradition, and this is one small, new illustration of how the former continuously impacts the latter.

It’s the first time I’ve encountered a pregnancy announcement on Facebook, but we Jewish women vary widely in when and how we tell people that we’re expecting.

Mainstream and longstanding Jewish custom has long been to wait until after the first trimester, when the greatest risk of miscarriage has passed, before sharing the news widely. I told my mother and sister as soon as I knew I was expecting, but held off on sharing the news more widely until the 2nd trimester kick off (or should I call it kick-in, because that’s the trimester when you start having the astounding sensation of feeling the baby move).

On the other hand, in an effort to keep the evil eye far away, one of my haredi nieces-through-marriage didn’t tell anyone beyond immediate family that she was pregnant until she was a couple of weeks away from giving birth. That was one surprising answer when I asked, several minutes into the conversation, “so what’s new?”

While that’s a little extreme for my taste, so is a phenomenon I run into much more often: People talking about the name of the baby and shopping for little Max or Rachel the minute they see the sex on the sonogram.

Me, I could never get past that little whisper in my ear that ‘ken’ayna hora poo poo poo nothing bad should happen but don’t jinx it just in case.’ My approach was to have a crib on hand but not assemble it until the baby arrived.

I can’t say I really agree with this Chabad.org article about the ways in which women influence their unborn child’s spiritual welfare while they’re pregnant.

Obviously we shouldn’t smoke or take drugs (ever) or drink (much) when we’re growing a baby inside, but the relationship between what we do – the Chabad.org story advises going to synagogue as much as possible and having your mezuzah scrolls checked by a scribe – and how the baby turns out is not clear at all.

Because of a variety of difficult things going on at the time, I was terribly stressed out while pregnant with my 2nd child, much more so than when I was pregnant with babies #1 and #3.…but my middle one is by far the most easy-going of the three. Who’s to know how these things shape a child’s developing neural architecture or nature (and are these things the same thing)?

When I first suspected I was with child, I went out and bought a home pregnancy test. It was negative. I used the other one in the box. Negative again. I went back to the store the next day and bought a different brand, thinking if they’re both 99% effective, this one would have to confirm the unmistakable signs of early pregnancy. But it didn’t.

Yet about eight months later Boychik was born.

In this age of Facebook and Evite, I wonder if anyone is still sending out beautiful birth announcements the old fashioned way. I loved putting my kids’ together - wording them just so, designing them on the computer, picking out just the right papers, envelopes and stamps and then sending them out.

Artist Elaine Adler does beautiful birth announcement. So does Lenora Leibowitz at Cheled Designs.

On the flip side of life, today I attended the funeral of the elderly mother of a member of our synagogue. She was, by all accounts, a sweet and loving woman. It was a simple funeral, in a simple Borough Park funeral home. After her son and sister spoke briefly about her life from behind the unadorned podium, her long-time home health aide stood by the draped coffin and sang her a beautiful spiritual song. Her thick Caribbean accent and the song’s strong syncopation evoked the spirited funeral services of black culture, rich with music and testimony.

It was an image that contrasted with the starkly simple Jewish funeral.

Perhaps it is Jewish custom to have simple and plain funerals because we are so focused on life. Far more fuss is made, in Jewish culture, when a baby arrives in this world than when we see someone off to the next one.

I like this emphasis on celebrating life.

Even if it is with a picture of a pee stick posted on Facebook.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Pregnancy, Jewish Tradition, Funerals, Birth

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Insatiots Tue. Feb 9, 2010

Hello, as you can see this is my first post here. In first steps it is very good if someone supports you, so hope to meet friendly and helpful people here. Let me know if I can help you. Thanks in advance and good luck! :)




Find us on Facebook!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.