You’ve just found out you have an unexpected pregnancy. There are probably a million things running through your mind right now. One big question is whether or not to announce your pregnancy. You might also be asking yourself, “Why should I make an unexpected pregnancy announcement?”
Birth Announcements in History
Pregnancy and birth announcements have been a part of society’s history long before social media was invented. The excitement of a new baby in the home has brought parents pride for centuries. Throughout history, friends and family have gathered around expectant parents to celebrate the birth of their new child. Whether it’s holding the child up for all to see or celebrating using traditional music, parents want the community and world to know about their new baby. Even when a pregnancy is unplanned, an unexpected pregnancy announcement is still appropriate.
More recently, newspaper announcements have been a common way to announce the birth of a new child, even for an unexpected pregnancy announcement. The earliest newspapers shared the birth of a new child. Even in the nineteenth century, birth announcement cards became popular/ A birth announcement generally includes the date and time of the birth, the weight and length of the child, and a little bit of information about the family. The gender and name are shared as well. While an unexpected pregnancy announcement in the newspaper isn’t as common as it once was, parents are still sharing their excitement of having a baby through gifts and social media posts.
Why Should I Make An Unexpected Pregnancy Announcement?
Why should I make an unexpected pregnancy announcement? Social media is a major way to share information. As social media has changed over time, so has the things that we share on social media. Facebook was once a place to share short updates on your mood and life and has now evolved into a free-speech outlet to share almost anything you want. Instagram is growing in popularity as well. With so many ways to stay in contact with people we know and love, it’s no wonder that more families are announcing their pregnancies and births virtually.
Pregnancy announcements are a great way to share your exciting news without calling each individual friend and family member. There are many creative ways to announce your unexpected pregnancy. A few ways we’ve found are to:
- Use a letterboard to announce the big news.
- Make t-shirts that say “Promoted to _______” and insert your role in the family.
- Create a onesie with a clever announcement printed on it.
- Take a picture of the baby’s older siblings holding signs announcing the pregnancy
- Have a photographer capture one partner telling another the big news.
- Send out a Christmas ornament to the family that says, “We’re pregnant” on it.
- Take a picture of each member of the family’s shoes with a pair of baby shoes included.
- Line up objects from biggest to smallest with a small object to represent the new baby (paper clips, types of fruit, pumpkins, etc).
- Share a picture of your first ultrasound.
- Circle the due date on a calendar with the words “Baby Due” written next to it.
Announcing an unexpected pregnancy can be so fun because there is an added element of surprise. If nobody (including yourself) knew you were trying to get pregnant, a little baby will be a fun and, hopefully, welcomed surprise. This answers the question, “Why should I make an unexpected pregnancy announcement?”
Friends and family love to be included in all of the baby celebrations. Announcing your unexpected pregnancy is the first of many ways you and your baby will be celebrated.
A common tradition that accompanies a new baby is a baby shower. A baby shower is a party held for the expectant mother to “shower her” with gifts and prepare her for her new baby. Recently, it has become common to have a couple’s baby shower where both the expectant mother and father are celebrated by their friends and family.
Baby showers are generally thrown by a close friend or family member that wants to play an active role in preparing for the new little one. Baby showers can be held anywhere: a restaurant, a venue, a park, or in a home are all appropriate locations. Generally, with a theme in mind, your party hosts will send out invitations, decorate, provide food, and plan games for a little get-together for you.
A baby shower is a great time to receive gifts that will prepare you for your new little one. Sometimes, friends will pitch in to purchase a large ticket item gift like a crib, rocking chair, or changing table. If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, this might be helpful if you don’t have things prepared yet. You can register for gifts to provide guests with information on what you might need. From bottles to clothes, there are a lot of things you’ll need for your new baby. Some of the common things that people register for are:
- Crib: You want to make sure that you buy a crib that is up to date on the current safety guidelines.
- Mattress: Your mattress should be firm and fit tightly into the crib.
- Sheets: You will want to register for at least 2 sheet sets (maybe more). When it comes time to change the baby’s sheets, it’s nice to throw a fresh one on right away rather than wait for one to be cleaned.
- Mattress cover: A mattress cover will save you a lot of time and money. Babies spit up, throw up, and spill out of their diapers. A mattress cover will protect your mattress and keep things easy for you. Some mothers do one mattress pad, one fitted sheet, a second mattress pad, and another fitted sheet, so if the baby has an accident in the night, they can take off the first layers and have a fresh sheet and mattress pad underneath. It saves a lot of time and hassle.
- Rocking chair: A good chair will be your best friend, especially if you are planning on nursing. Look for a chair that is comfortable, rocks quietly, and is within your budget. While it’s nice to have a chair that is really beautiful or trendy, keep in mind that the way the chair looks won’t matter so much when you are up in the middle of the night feeding your baby. Comfort and practicality should come before style.
- Swaddles: You can buy blankets that are specifically used for swaddling, or buy swaddles that have velcro to keep your baby wrapped tight. As infants, babies generally sleep better when they are wrapped tightly as it reminds them of their mother’s womb.
- Blankets: Blankets seem to be one of the items that new moms get the most from other people. You might not even need to register for special blankets because you will likely be given some. Blankets outside of your swaddle blankets are handy to lay your baby down on at home or outside on soft grass. They also help your baby to stay extra warm in his/her car seat.
- Stroller: There are so many things to consider when choosing a stroller. Ultimately, it will come down to budget and necessity. Some strollers are made for running outside, as a quick and light pop up to be used in a pinch, and some are made for comfort and leisurely walking. Keep in mind where you will want to store your stroller, if you need it to easily fold up, and how often you plan on using it.
- Car seat: Obviously, you will want a reliable car seat. Be careful about receiving a hand-me-down because car seats expire. Check your labels to ensure that your car seat is up to standards. When your baby is an infant, he or she will need a carrier that is rear-facing. A carrier can be taken in and out of the car for easy transport. Once your child grows bigger, they will need a bigger car seat.
- Diaper bag: Your diaper bag will be your best friend if you want to do anything outside of your home. The diaper bag will carry all of your basic necessities for Baby and anything else you might feel is important. Many mothers turn to a backpack style diaper bag because they are easier to carry.
- Pack-N-Play: A pack-n-play is a portable, foldable crib. You will use this whenever you travel or sometimes for naps at your own home or someone else’s. Some pack-n-plays come with a bassinet that attaches to the top that can be used for your newborn.
- Baby carrier: Baby carriers are helpful for parents that need to get things done and aren’t able to hold their baby 24/7. If you want your baby to stay close to you, put him/her in a baby carrier, and get your work done. Babies love to be close to a warm body and they find the sound of the heartbeat soothing. Baby carriers are also helpful when you go grocery shopping or on any other type of outing where you will need both of your hands.
- Clothing: One of the favorite things to buy for babies is baby clothing. Your guests will likely plan on buying you a lot of baby clothes. If you decide to register for clothes, keep in mind the seasons that your child will graduate to the next clothing size. If your child will be in 12-month clothes in the summer, make sure that you don’t register for 12 month-size winter clothes. You will also need socks, maybe a winter coat, a swimsuit, and plenty of jammies for your baby.
- Bath supplies: You might consider getting a baby bathtub, body wash, lotion, and soft rags. Your baby will only get a “sponge bath” in the first week or so until his/her umbilical cord comes off.
- Playmat: Your child won’t use this until he/she gets to be a few months old, but it is a great thing to have when the baby is ready to practice tummy time and learns to roll over. The hanging toys are loads of fun and can entertain your baby while you get a little break.
- Books: Even though your baby doesn’t understand what you are reading, it can be very beneficial to read to him/her. Research shows that reading to infants increases connection, improves brain function, and sets them up for success later in life.
- Bottles: If you have decided to nurse your baby, bottles aren’t going to be a big concern right away. It is nice to have some on hand, though, in case you need to pump and have someone else feed him/her. There are so many bottles to choose from. It isn’t unusual to start with one type of bottle and then realize you need to switch. Choosing a bottle that limits the amount of air that goes into the baby’s tummy is very important.
- Burp cloths: You will want a hefty amount of burp cloths, as they get spit upon often, and it is a lot easier to grab a clean one from a pile than to wash the few you have every day.
- Pacifiers: Some mothers choose to give their children pacifiers and others don’t. Talk to your pediatrician to help make a decision about which direction you’d like to go.
- Diaper changing supplies: You can never have enough diapers! The great thing about diapers is if your baby grows out of one size and you still have some left, you can save them for your next child or easily donate them to a friend. You will also want to get wipes, rash cream, and a changing pad.
- Baby monitor: There are many high-tech baby monitors out there. You can watch your baby on video, talk to your child, and even monitor the temperature of the room. Many generations have used the simple “walkie-talkie” baby monitor and have been just fine, too.
- Booger sucker: You will use this more than you realize. Babies don’t know how to blow their noses, so you will use this often.
If you are asking yourself, “Why should I make an unexpected pregnancy announcement?” the bottom line is that a baby is exciting and such a gift! People want to help you to celebrate the new little life growing inside of you, even if it might have been unexpected.
Michelle Donner is the mother to two beautiful children and a hopeful adoptive mama of one more! When she isn’t chasing her kids around, she is working as an adjunct professor teaching college writing and working as a freelance writer. She loves to be creative and runs her own floral design business for weddings and events. Her titles of wife and mother bring her the most joy, fulfillment, and challenge in her life.