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Blended family birth announcement etiquette.

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
So, my law school's university-wide alumni magazine seems to publish birth announcements in one of two ways:

1. "Jane Smith Comm'02 and Dan Smith welcomed Jacob Daniel Smith on January 7, 2010. He joins siblings Isabella, 5, and Connor, 18 months."

2. "Michael Jones Law'99 and Tracey Fitch-Jones Nursing'01 welcomed daughter Madison Jones on December 9, 2009. She is the couple's first child."

Seriously, I saw no variation--either the child is the "first" child or the child "joins" siblings.

So...how would you handle this in a blended family?

"ProtoLawyer, Law'09 and Her Husband welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010. He joins Big Sister, 7."

"ProtoLawyer, Law'09 and Her Husband welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010. He is the couple's first child."

Both are technically correct (he will have a big sister, and he is our first child together), but both have their flaws...the first makes it seem as though Big Sister is our child together (which, yeah, I do consider her one of my kids, but at the same time, that construction seems to write her own mother out of the equation entirely...), the second makes it seem she doesn't exist at all (and I could imagine she'd be hurt if she read it and saw she was excluded).

Which would you choose--if you would bother at all? (I'm overthinking this, as usual, but still.)

My undergraduate alma mater, a small liberal arts school that likes the "lifestyle" blurb, will let me write whatever I want, which could be something like "It's been a busy year for ProtoLawyer'97. She graduated from law school, married Husband and gained Stepdaughter, and on July 21, gave birth to a son, Newbie." My law school is way more conservative.
post #2 of 28
Are those your only two options or just the only two variations you saw? I would say, "He is the couple's first child together and will be joining half-sister, 7."
post #3 of 28
Okay, there's the confusing-but-true option:
"ProtoLawyer'09 and Husband welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010. He is the couple's first child and joins sibling Big Sister, 7."

There's the slightly-less-confusing option:
"ProtoLawyer'09 and Husband welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010. He is the couple's first child together, and joins sibling Big Sister, 7.

There's the minimalist option:
"ProtoLawyer'09 and Husband, welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010.

Or slightly more info:
"ProtoLawyer'09, Husband, and Big Sister, 7, welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010.


If you have to choose one of the options you mentioned, I would go with the one that includes your step-daughter. People who know you enough to care about the new baby would know that you have a step-daughter, right? And if they don't, then who really cares if they are confused?
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by treegardner View Post
"He is the couple's first child together and will be joining half-sister, 7."
this
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Sadly, these do seem to be my only two options--at least, out of 30 or so announcements, those were the only two ways they were listed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post

If you have to choose one of the options you mentioned, I would go with the one that includes your step-daughter. People who know you enough to care about the new baby would know that you have a step-daughter, right? And if they don't, then who really cares if they are confused?
This is a very good point, and similar to the one I made to my mom when she got upset I didn't change my name when I got married. "How are people going to know you're married if I put a birth announcement in to the local paper when you have a kid together?" "Well, the people who know me enough to recognize me already know I'm married, the people who don't know me won't even notice, and it's 2009 and plenty of married women have different last names from their husbands and nobody cares anyway."
post #6 of 28
I would just go with big sister. People will know you have a baby and big sister will get to see her name in print. Do people really read birth announcements anyway?
post #7 of 28
I wouldn't call her a half-sister. Who cares what their official relationship is or if people know if he is your first or second? She will be his sister, full stop. People who really know you already know the full story & everyone else is just reading it for interest.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by expatmommy View Post
I wouldn't call her a half-sister. Who cares what their official relationship is or if people know if he is your first or second? She will be his sister, full stop. People who really know you already know the full story & everyone else is just reading it for interest.
Sentence 1: Absolutely. I'm not even sure my stepdaughter knows what a half-sibling is, though I would answer truthfully if asked ( she sometimes asks me for long legalistic definitions of who's in whose family: "Well, Owen is my first cousin's son, so he's my first-cousin-once-removed, and your second cousin, step-cousin if you want to get technical"--I think she thinks getting me off on convoluted explanations is funny). She considers her future brother to be her brother.

Sentence 2: I wonder how moms of children with stepmothers would answer that--I've seen some posts here by mothers who have felt slighted by stepmothers when the stepmothers use terms like "my kids" or otherwise don't correct people when they assume the children are theirs biologically.
post #9 of 28
My DH is not biologically related to DD1. For us, that's irrelevant. She calls him Dad and if we had the money we would proceed with the adoption. So for us, there would be no point in empasizing that DD2 is DH's first biological child. In fact, for us, we demphasise that as much as possible.

So for us, "joins sibling" would be the obvious choice.
post #10 of 28
Yep, joins sibling here too. I have a half-sister, but she's just my sister. I don't tell people, "I have 2 real sisters and 1 half sister." I just say I have 3 sisters, or I'm 1 of 4 girls.
post #11 of 28
lol And of course I have a different opinion...


I beat my head against a wall over worrying about all this stuff while pregnant with DD and making sure to not ever disclude DSD...

What I got for all my troubles? A loss in the joy that is someone's first pregancy. I never got to bask in the giddy first timer stuff because I was so stressed and clouded by all the blended nuances.

I know I'm the adult and should suck it up... but truth is I'm human and have feelings too.

I love DSD, and I do include her in the collective of "my kids" but honestly, I wish I hadn't given up so much of the first stuff to spare her or my H's feelings...

Personally, if I could do it over, I'd choose the "welcoming their first as a couple".

I didn't birth my DSD. So DD IS my first.

And of course all my feelings on this could be clouded by my messed up relationship... But there you go. I'm personally still working through some resentment over the first pregnancy and feeling like I was robbed of a special time because of how much tiptoeing I had to do to be careful to always say "my first pregnancy, but I have a stepdaughter too" or "my first, but my husband's second" it just would have been nice to not have to always put the additional info out there and revel in my first little miracle... at least once.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Sentence 2: I wonder how moms of children with stepmothers would answer that--I've seen some posts here by mothers who have felt slighted by stepmothers when the stepmothers use terms like "my kids" or otherwise don't correct people when they assume the children are theirs biologically.
As a first mother to children who will potentially have a stepmother one day (besides my gf ) I would have zero issue with the one statement:

"ProtoLawyer, Law'09 and Her Husband welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010. He joins Big Sister, 7."

That child is the big sister; it doesn't necessarily lay claim to the parentage of said child... either way, I think a new baby is a fantastic thing and wouldn't be upset/slighted in the least to have my girls claimed as part of a larger family.
post #13 of 28
My eldest has a step-mother, and a younger half-sibling. I don't know if birth announcements were sent, but I would have had no problem with her/them recognizing him as big brother. I probably would have been irked at half sibling language, because as I've discussed with him, you can't be half a brother. But that's just me.

My vote is for "ProtoLawyer, Law'09 and Her Husband welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010. He joins Big Sister, 7."
post #14 of 28
I think JSMa has a point -- we sometimes inhibit ourselves from experiencing all the little "first-time" joys when really no one would be hurt if we did do them. If you want to show your DSD the announcement and you think she would be offended, then you may want to include her, but I doubt she'd be reading your alumni news otherwise.

I think I'd go with the "first child" option, as I'm quite literal, and
1) the baby *is* your first,
2) half-sister sounds rude to some, and it also could mean the big sister is yours by a previous relationship, so that's not clear either
3) the kids are not full siblings, as would be implied with the other verbiage.
Plus, since the magazine is your publication it's to represent your births, not your husband's previous births. For hubby's alumni news, you could go with the Big Sister option if you want. But if you want to combine the two, there's always:

Protolawyer (Law '09) and her husband OtherProfession welcomed Newbie on July 21, 2010. He is the couple's first child together and will be joining Big Sister, 7.


On our alumni pubs, we won't have such a dilemma, as ours just allow "A (major, year) and B welcomed Baby on date." So that may be an option as well.
post #15 of 28
I would probably use the "joins sibling" one. It is not likely your dsd's mom will ever see it to be offended, right?

Although, I am much more relaxed about these things after having my second-with the first, I was a lot touchier about making sure it was clear that it was my first if that makes sense. So, since it is probably also ulikely that dsd will ever see the announcement, if it is important to you, I think it is reasonable to just say he is your first. How does your dh feel about it?

I also think that it is a good point that this is for your almuni announcement, not your dh's, so it does seem reasonable to just include your biokids, not his.
post #16 of 28
Just because it's all you've seen, doesn't mean they can't accomodate your request. I'd ask them before going through all this in your head. I'd just add the bolded to what you've seen when you send in your info.


"ProtoLawyer, Law'09 and Her Husband welcomed Newbie, their first child together on July 21, 2010. He joins Big Sister, 7."
post #17 of 28
DD's were included in neither birth announcement for their two younger half-siblings. However, the second birth announcement went something along the lines of:
John and Jane and proud big sister Smith welcome Baby Smith.
Both girl were hurt. They're sisters too - aren't they? I would include DSD no matter what. As a mother I would rather they be confused as full siblings then just left out as not siblings at all.
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
I would probably use the "joins sibling" one. It is not likely your dsd's mom will ever see it to be offended, right?

Although, I am much more relaxed about these things after having my second-with the first, I was a lot touchier about making sure it was clear that it was my first if that makes sense. So, since it is probably also ulikely that dsd will ever see the announcement, if it is important to you, I think it is reasonable to just say he is your first. How does your dh feel about it?

I also think that it is a good point that this is for your almuni announcement, not your dh's, so it does seem reasonable to just include your biokids, not his.
My husband said, "you're overthinking this." He doesn't care. But by training and by nature, I'm a stickler for accuracy.

It's not particularly important to me to point out that the newb will be my first--I totally understand where JSMa and others are coming from about wanting the excitement of a first child without having to go out of your way to spare your husband/partner/their ex's feelings...but I'm seriously meh. I am not fond of being pregnant (it's a means to an end) and hate being fawned/doted over anyway (I fully intend to use the "we already have everything we need from SD's infancy" to avoid a shower, because those things are hell for me), so I'm probably coming at this from an entirely different place as many of you.

Our actual birth announcements (to friends and family) will likely take the form of a Facebook status update, so there won't be much parsing language. "Newbie, 8 pounds, 4 oz, 19.5 inches, furry like his dad, not yet cursing like his mom but give him time." Something like that.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by expatmommy View Post
I wouldn't call her a half-sister. Who cares what their official relationship is or if people know if he is your first or second? She will be his sister, full stop. People who really know you already know the full story & everyone else is just reading it for interest.


Unless you plan on making that distinction in your household...noone ever made a distinction in our home...I had a different father. But I was their (siblings) sister.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
I'm overthinking this, as usual, but still.
You have a language-based profession. You can't overthink issues of language and the printed word. They matter. Especially in succinct, stylized, formal, traditional formats like this, the precice wording we choose conveys important meaning. It's part of our culture.

So, to me it seems obvious: You simply can't leave out the big sister. It would be symbolically atrocious. If they won't allow you to say,
"...Newbie joins Big Sister, 7. Newbie is the couple's first child,"
then you dump the "first child" part, not the sibling reference.

And congratulations!
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