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I Regret the First Photo I Sent of My Daughter

New parents, don't repeat my mistake


Published on: June 19, 2018

Surprised boy

I was a pregnant mother waiting to have my first baby. There were many things that I had read and prepared for.

What will I pack in my bag for the hospital?

Did I shave my legs? (lol jk — I gave zero cares about that)

Will the doctor remember that I want an epidural?

Should I write a note on my forehead that I want an epidural?

Does the front desk lady need to know about the epidural thing?

The list was long but, obviously, there were primary concerns and then, well, everything else. But one thing that I didn’t even consider: how was I going to announce to people that the baby had arrived.

I'd seen the emails at work where people sent around pictures of their new babies. Yeah, yeah got it: Snap picture, send. Add name, height and weight so everyone at work knows who won the baby pool. Easy-peasy.

My mistake

My water broke three weeks before my due date. I was pretty shocked because it seemed like the first one was supposed to be late. At least, that's what I'd read.

It was 2:30 a.m. when my daughter decided to make her escape. The hospital had said that when it happened, get there ASAP. In a way, that was super helpful for an anxiety-prone person like myself. There was no debating if this was really it and when we should leave.

On the other hand, I was scared. And I stalled. I may or may not have tried to talk my husband into going to Denny’s for breakfast on our way to the hospital. It didn’t work.

Once at the hospital, I found my way to a wheelchair and off we went. Cut to 4:15 p.m. and the arrival of our daughter. In-between: a 12-hour labor. Not too shabby. I mean, it felt shabby at the time, but really good by most standards.

Once the baby was born, I was so proud of what I had done. I also realized that my coworkers would be leaving work in less than an hour.

While the doctors worked on stitching — or whatever it is that they do down there after the baby comes out — my husband took all of the first pictures. The ones where the baby is still covered by the white, waxy goo that protects their skin.

I'd seen that junk before. Back when I watched those “Baby Story” shows I swore I wouldn’t even touch my baby until she was cleaned up. But that was before, when I was a selfish non-parent.

This birth thing I had done was so amazing, I thought. Sure, she's covered in white guacamole — hold the onions — but isn’t it all so beautiful?!?!

That's when I made my error.

The photo in question. Photo courtesy of Mandy Waysman

I sent a work email with a gooey picture of my daughter attached.

In hindsight, it’s not all that beautiful, but those hormones after pushing a human out are something else. After labor, I was positive that my coworkers needed to see what I had made and they needed to see it right. now.

So, I sent the photo. And I regret it.

I realize now that my coworkers were probably not all that impressed. I doubt when they got the picture they were like "Aww! Look how sweet that baby is." It was probably more "Oh my gosh! Do they not make towels anymore?" 

And so, I beg you to take a moment and think about what is beautiful and acceptable to post and send. In the joyous moments that follow your child's birth, there will likely be some unexpected voices in your head telling you that it’s all fine. Send that picture! Who cares if it hasn’t had a once over or edit?! 

Take it from me: Do not listen to that voice.

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