Birth Announcements & Child Abductions

Missed this one over the holidays:

The [Wisconsin] State Journal will stop publishing birth announcements later this week because Madison’s two birthing hospitals will no longer provide the information to the newspaper.

The end of the traditional keepsake for parents and notice to the community stems from a growing concern about infant abductions, hospital officials say.

Birth listings “set people up as targets for somebody who might want to steal a baby,” said Kathy Kostrivas, Meriter Hospital’s assistant vice president for women’s health services.

Birth announcements still go in the paper? I MIGHT put one in my old hometown paper like I did a wedding announcement, but most of the people I know in town are on Facebook now and the ones who aren’t I didn’t talk to all that much anyway so who gives a shit?

Speaking of birth announcements, we’re about two weeks out here, and there are some administrative things involved with the site happening. I’ll be gone for a bit, probably, but this isn’t going to be a nonstop mommyblog when I come back. The ferrets are pissed enough about the attention being diverted from them, and it’s not like Republicans are going to stop being idiots.

Little Kick is a planned c-section, a result of all the surgeries I’ve had over the years, so no live-blogging the delivery, either. Assuming I’m not anesthetized, I’m going to be somewhat … occupied at the time. We will, however, post the news when she’s born on Jan. 25, and a picture once she’s all cleaned up and cute and ready to meet the Internet.

And we very, very, very much appreciate the warmth and love and support you’ve all given us since we let the news slip. You’ve all been there for most of the distance we’ve traveled to get here, and that has pretty much kept me from losing my mind.

Mr. A and I have had many, many conversations over the past 8 months about when and how to tell people, and who to tell about what. We’ve both gone back and forth on the privacy concerns involved with putting your kid on the Internet to whatever degree, not because we’re afraid of an abduction (absurd) but because she’ll be a person in her own right, and she deserves some say in how much of herself she really wants out there.

Before she can make that or any other decision, we’ll have to make it, and erring on the side of caution just means there will be more material for her to discuss with her therapist later. Besides, if there had been an Internet when I was a kid I’d still be grounded, and while I hope she avoids most of my mistakes, I want to preserve her opportunities to repeat the really fun ones at least once.


5 thoughts on “Birth Announcements & Child Abductions

  1. My kids didn’t grow up pre-internet but I was never on FB and never put any pictures of them up. However, I did keep extensive records, in the form of emails to my husband’s parents. Why them? Because I was so close to my own mother and father that we talked about the children more than I had time to write about them. I don’t like my husband’s parents much and they were living in another state anyway. I wrote to them about the children as much as I could precisely because our relationship, which was cordial, was conducive to writing about the children in a newsy, chatty, informative way that was impersonal. I didn’t include anything about our lives and I stopped keeping these notes when the children began to have privacy issues around their tween years.
    I’m really grateful for these emails at this point. Because his parents weren’t really well aware of our lives I had to stick a lot of background information into the emails whilch I would have left out of a journal–if a friend is mentioned I needed to sketch them out, if an event is mentioned I needed to situate it for them. Now, years later, my own journal notes are filled with ellipses which I can’t fill in. Who was that guy? What was that family doing at our house? But on the other hand I eliminated embarrassing things or things that the girls might find cruel or insulting–like there are very few comparisons between the children because I worried that comparisons would be invidious when the girls came to reading these notes. they are always the heroes of whatever account I am writing.
    My early notes on the children are fascinating and really amazing to reread. I highly recommend you pick a relative or friend, even a dead one, and write off to them every chance you get. Keep a copy and you will have a record tha tyou will treasure.

  2. FWIW, I posted stuff about my kids online until they started school. After that, they were marginally less secure, and I also figured that they had the right to develop their own online presences (with grown-up guidance, of course) when the time came. Sometimes one still has to step in — I made my daughter delete her Snapchat account because of the data hack and because it’s basically marketed to predators, for example — but in general she’s behaving responsibly online. And all my son does online is play video games, so we’re cool for now.

  3. Birth announcements tempt kidnappers? WTF are we, Somalia?
    that asked out loud so God, if She’s watching at the moment, may notice …
    Congratulations Athenae & Mr. A.
    As a twice-blooded veteran of “natural childbirth” (and somebody whose docs did not even want to discuss pain meds), I applaud your decision to do this sensibly and in a more controlled, and therefore likelier to go off properly, fashion.
    I won’t second-guess your Internet decisions, but I will recommend, highly, that you also keep a series of letters or emails — or even private postings of photos with words — not just for your sake but your kids’ because someday they’ll want to compare their children’s children’s noses or ears or first ringlets of hair to the ones you captured for history’s sake.

  4. Please take care of yourself.
    On the main topic of an article. It is amazing how spooked hospitals are that someone may walk out with a baby – perhaps partly explained by high profile but rare cases when someone did walk out with a baby. In many, one can neither confirm nor deny if a person is a patient. A chip is attached to the baby. If the chip goes near the elevators, the elevators will shut off. etc.
    I can imagine that there are folks out there advocating that we teach the infants to exercise their 2nd amendment rights so they can blow away any kidnappers. (I’d say concealed carry, but infants do a good job of that with their poop already).

  5. If all goes as planned, your sprog will share a birthday with my soon to be 4 year old granddaughter.
    I like that.

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