My husband, Jeff, and I were three years into our marriage when we got the exciting news of a baby on the way. As an expectant Jewish mother, I knew that I would not have a baby shower due to tradition. But as an expectant Jewish mother excited to celebrate my pregnancy, I was inspired to take part in a different type of tradition–a gender reveal party.
I enjoy a bit of mystery, but Jeff’s not big on surprises. It worked out well in this case, because it made it easy to hatch a plan for the party. Jeff got the news from our doctor while I happily stayed in the dark, ready to share in the surprise along with our family and friends.
To me, the gender reveal party wasn’t about gifts or bad luck (pu pu pu!), but about bringing family together in a unique way to share in a special announcement. So we all gathered for an event to let everyone know “boy or girl” and here are five reasons why:
1. A Great Shower Alternative
I was raised to believe that baby gifts should not be given until the baby is born. While many of my values have evolved over time, this tradition still resonates with me. I’ve always been a bit superstitious. Hamsas, meant to ward off evil spirits, hang on many walls in our home. So there were no gifts… just fun, food, and games as the countdown to the answer began. Plus, I needed an excuse for my virgin champagne drink!
2. Brings The Family Together
Jewish culture calls on us to bring our families together for celebratory events, yet when it comes to being pregnant, there are no set rituals in place. My parents divorced when I was young, so I now have three Jewish moms and a growing roster of immediate family that were just as eager to join in and celebrate as we were.
3. The Element Of Surprise
When I first found out I was expecting, my initial intuition told me I was having a baby girl. In the months leading up to the party, everyone (even strangers on the street) predicted it would be a boy. Isn’t it funny how everyone suddenly develops psychic powers when they see a pregnant woman? As more and more premonitions rolled in, I became convinced we would be having a baby boy.
Just prior to the reveal, we organized a game where everyone placed a bet on whether they thought it was a boy or girl. We continued to play guessing games right up to the climactic moment–the kids especially loved that part!
As the moment of truth approached, I was filled with nervous excitement. Any news was good news, as I already loved our baby more than life itself. Knowing the gender just made it more real. We could decide on a name, think about nursery décor, and fantasize about the future with intricate detail. Sharing this life-changing moment of surprise surrounded by loved ones was surreal and unbelievably heartwarming.
4. The Couple’s Next Step
Planning the wedding had its stressful moments–cutting down the guest list, signing the largest checks we’ve ever written–but this smaller party allowed us to be creative and have fun together. Cooking up the menu, the decorations, and the plan for the actual reveal was something we could both enjoy as a couple (especially once we enlisted the help of our amazing event planner, Florie Huppert!).
We made napkin holders featuring baby pictures of each guest, a garland made of ultrasound pictures, and for the main event, colored drinks that unleashed the secret.
5. Finally, the Big Reveal
While I handed out blindfolds to all the guests, including myself, Jeff let my stepfather in on the fun and the two of them went off to pour and serve the color-coded cocktails.
Champagne (soda for me!) would be mixed with a drop of Blue Curacao (for a boy) or Grenadine (for a girl), and sweetened with either blue or pink rock candy swizzle sticks. All the guests and I sat at the tables, blindfolded. We each felt a soft touch on the arm letting us know our drink was being placed in our hand. Anticipation grew as the quiet became deafening.
Blindfolded, I anxiously expected a blue drink. Once everyone had a drink in hand, Jeff came to my side and announced that on the count of three we could take off our blindfolds. After the blindfolds came off to reveal pink drinks, the party knew, “It’s a girl!” Our photographer captured my reaction as it turned from excitement to shock to genuine euphoria.
Thinking outside the box of a traditional baby shower let us create a unique celebration. It was a totally memorable way to share our amazing news with the people closest to us.
Photo Credit: Susan Zigman