Oh ... Baby!: Couples find fun ways to reveal pregnancy
Moorhead -- When Abby and John Fisher learned they were expecting their third child, they told family right away but wanted “something extra” to announce it to everyone else.
Photographer Penny Burns of Penny Marie Photography suggested a pregnancy reveal photo while she documented the family making s’mores around their backyard campfire.
An extra tiny purple chair was situated between 4-year-old Julia and 2-year-old Esther, and Burns added the text “Make room for one s’more around the campfire.” The photo was uploaded to Facebook “in about five minutes,” Abby Fisher says.
“We giggled because we thought it was the cheesiest thing, ‘Make room for one s’more,’ ” she says. “It was on a whim, and we went with what was cute and fun for us.”
Announcing a pregnancy can be as simple as a phone call, but many couples, like the Fishers, opt for creative announcements that suit their personalities.
Tyson and Jon Cluever, of Benson, Minn., told friends and family about their second pregnancy at their son’s birthday party. The Star Wars-themed bash for 4-year-old Kael included a poem about him becoming a “big brother Jedi master.”
They announced their firstborn spontaneously at a family Christmas gathering. Tyson Cluever explained that she brought a really fun present for everyone – a fetus.
“Everyone laughed and cheered. It’s fun to do something that way,” she says. “We have a comical twist on everything, that’s our personalities.”
A Moorhead couple revealed their third pregnancy with stickers on the back of their van. Matt and Kristi Smith added a baby sticker to their foursome and surprised family in southern Minnesota as they entered the driveway.
“Everyone noticed the stickers right away,” Kristi Smith says. “It fits with our lifestyle, and we tried to think of something original.”
An impromptu family photo session more than 11 years ago turned into Missy and Tim Wenstrom’s pregnancy reveal. Missy told their parents and sister to say cheese for the first photo, and for the second, she instructed, “Now everybody say ‘New baby in December!’ ”
The photos of the family’s reaction didn’t turn out as well as Missy Wenstrom had hoped, but she knows it’s a snapshot that won’t soon be forgotten.
“We were lucky that we were able to tell our immediate families in person because it is a very personal thing adding a member to the family,” Missy Wenstrom says. “Newer methods of announcing big events like this are great for reaching family who do not live close enough to tell in person and to let friends and extended family know, but for me, nothing beats the personal connection of telling news like this to family face-to-face if possible.”
“Newer methods” of announcing pregnancies include posts to social media outlets like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Social media has changed how we communicate major life events, and pregnancy reveals are no exception, says Rachel Blumhardt, a clinical supervisor and counselor at The Village Business Institute in Fargo.
“Social media can be a fun way to reveal information as long as you’re aware of who you’re putting that information out to,” she says. “It has become a way for everyone to communicate good news.”
Blumhardt cautions that if a couple wishes to keep a pregnancy private for a while, they should make sure the people they tell know it’s a private matter. A well-intended Facebook post, Tweet or Instagram photo could ruin the surprise.
“Sometimes you will accidentally have someone else reveal your pregnancy without getting a chance to reveal it yourself,” Blumhardt says.
Overall, revealing a pregnancy on a social media platform that friends and family frequent is a positive decision because couples garner a large network of support, she says.
“It’s an opportunity where, at one time, you can share it with a big group of people. Emotional support is really important during pregnancy,” Blumhardt says, adding that it becomes especially important if the pregnancy ends in a miscarriage.
The Fishers told close friends and family about all three of their pregnancies right away because they wanted their encouragement and prayers.
“We feel like the more people that know, the more people there are to support you if something were to happen or if you have troubles,” Abby says.
On social media or in person, support for soon-to-be parents is crucial, especially with a first-time pregnancy, says mother-of-two Missy Wenstrom.
“You just don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know what to expect,” she says. “You can read books, but it’s just nice to have someone who’s close to you who you can ask questions and hear their stories.”
Parents gain guidance and reassurance from family and friends after revealing a pregnancy, but they’ll also need to give it. Telling other children that a new family member will arrive is essential, Blumhardt says.
How parents tell a child depends on their age. Books that explain what’s happening and what siblings can expect are helpful, and additionally, parents should talk to the children about their role in the family and how they’ll still have a place once the baby arrives, she says.
“Reassuring them of their role – that’s really important for them,” Blumhardt says.
Kari and Wade Hazer, of Fargo, presented their 6-year-old daughter, Kelsi, with a T-shirt at one of her dance performances that read “I am finally going to be a big sister.”
Kelsi was the first person to know about her little brother.
“To see our daughter’s face was priceless,” Kari says. “She had been asking for a brother or sister for years.”
A pregnancy reveal, through a photo, video or told in person, is an important step for every family, Blumhardt says.
Figuring out who each person wants to tell, when they’ll do it and how they’ll do it should be discussed right away, but there are no right or wrong ways to share the good news, she says.
It’s all about what’s right for each person and their family.
“A big part of telling people about it is the social, emotional support,” Blumhardt says. “It’s a very exciting, fun time in a couple’s life. The more people you share that with, the more support you have going through the pregnancy.”
Anna G. Larson, INFORUM