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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Gender Reveal Craze

This past weekend we had family over for a Gender Reveal party. I got a lot of questions and curiosity about this event so I wanted to write a little something about the new phenomenon that is the grand 'gender reveal'. I also wanted to share my personal experience.

Prior to my news of expecting a new child I had not heard of a Gender Reveal Party, but yes, it is a thing! From what I can tell this practice is very new, the popularity seems to be growing now amongst young, twenty-something year old parents, I am sure this is not something anyone was doing back in the day. A lot of the guests at my party who were older or very young had no idea what they were in for but by the end everyone got it and I think they were happy to have given it a shot.

The Basic Idea

The Gender Reveal is a party, separate from the baby shower, with
the sole purpose of gathering friends and family to reveal the gender of your baby. These parties take place early in the pregnancy compared to the baby shower. Usually around 18-22 weeks. Most of the time one or both of the parents are oblivious to the baby's sex until the big moment at the party, which adds to the excitement.
This is accomplished by having the doctor/ ultrasound tech tell one parent secretly, or writing down the gender and putting this in a sealed envelope. From here you have your choice of ways to unveil. I have seen many people have a box filled with either blue or pink balloons. Some parents order cupcakes that have been filled with blue or pink filling. But don't limit yourself. Do your research or come up with a new way to make the big announcement even more fun for you and your guests.

I think the popularity of these parties come hand in hand with the advances in ultrasounds, as well as the abandoning the idea of waiting for the big surprise until you are in the delivery room. Most of the moms that are in my age group (20-29) want to find out their baby's gender and they want to know it NOW. 
Anatomy ultrasounds at your OBGYN are usually the first and were the only place to find out this information but now there are 3D ultrasound clinics that can give you great in utero pictures of your baby and tell you the gender as early as 15 weeks* without having a doctor referral, involve insurance or getting you stuck with a big bill.

 I first heard of these where I hear of most new things, YouTube. Oh, what a wonderful place YouTube is! When I discovered that I was pregnant I found a few family/mommy channels to follow and on all of them there was some form of a gender reveal. At this point, it was mostly a mystery to me but I was instantly convinced that it was something that needed to happen in my life. Which is when I turned to Pintrest and saw that this whole Gender Reveal Party thing was the hot new thing in the street!

And let me just say for the record, no this isn't just a 'white people thing' and if it is I would love to see more black & minority couples adopting it! The families I saw on YouTube throwing these were black and I hope to see more once word of these parties spreads past the internet and into our communities.

During my research for ideas for my own party, I also stumbled across a few 'think pieces' about this new phenomenon. Surprisingly some were negative ideas about them. I saw a lot of women bashing moms who decided to have these, saying that is was a selfish and conceited act. As if there could be anything selfish about celebrating a new life. Who said it's only appropriate to celebrate a new baby at a baby shower? When has one of a good thing ever been enough?!

I personally think Gender Reveal parties, gatherings, and
announcements are amazing. Now that I am going through pregnancy I see the struggle of what women go through. Weeks of morning sickness and tough symptoms, tiring doctors visits and tests every few weeks, and fear of miscarriage or other problems with your growing child can be a lot to handle physically and emotionally. Oh, and let's not forget we are expected (in some cases we have no choice) to continue to work, handle everything at home and be jolly pregnant women all the while! There is so much relief during the second trimester, which is usually accompanied by a burst of energy that I think we all deserve a party!

Outside of the fact that pregnancy kind of sucks and if-a-party-makes-us-happy-then-shut-up-and-throw-one, Gender Reveal parties promote more love and positivity around birth and the expanding of the family unit. This is something I personally believe that we need more of, especially in the black community where there is a high rate of abortion and unplanned pregnancy.
They also are a great excuse for families to get together! As we get older life tends to travel at the speed of light and it's easy to get so wrapped up in your own world that you can go months without seeing family. So why not use a gender reveal party as an excuse to see each other and break bread with close friends and family? This party was actually my boyfriend and my family's first time meeting and it went wonderfully! We both are very family oriented and truly value our time fellowshipping with the ones we love. If we could throw a party like this every month we would.

Our Party

Starting out I knew that I wanted the budget to be small, as we are saving up for Christmas & other upcoming expenses. My first step in doing so was making this a small "get together" of about 25- 30 people, and serving appetizers instead of a big party with a full menu. In total, I spent about $80 on food and drinks for the party. We served foods that were easy to prepare and that would be fun to eat: BBQ wings from a crock pot, hot spinach dip from a fondu set, guac & chips from a silver platter, a chop suey cake and of course a cheese, cracker and meat tray. Everything besides the cake were store bought from Sam's Club or the grocery store. 

My decoration ideas came straight from Pintrest (where else?). Take a look at my 'Baby Showers' Pintrest board for more inspiration for your party, but here are the few things I created:
*Tinted blue mason jars from Dollar Tree & pink carnations from
the grocery store.
*I framed a few of our 18 week 3D ultrasound pictures in frames, also from Dollar Tree.
*The framed picture of my boyfriend and I usually sits in my room but I thought it would look nice and continue the theme of silver accents on the table. 
*Speaking of the table, it is covered in a white, embroidered duvet cover that we already owned. This is a nice way to get the fancy table cloth look without the price. 
*I placed the Jewel Osco blue & pink cupcakes on silver serving trays, also from Dollar Tree.
*And finally I used more of that pintrest ingenuity to come up with the candy filled mason jars as my "guess gifts". Everyone who chose the correct gender went home with one at the end of the night. I only created 10, and thankfully only 9 guests chose correctly!

After ample time for snacking, mingling & guessing we started the main event. First I handed out surveys with old wives tales. This was to help guests solidify their votes. They could ask as many questions as they wanted. A lot of guests asked my mom about her pregnancy symptoms and used that to compare and contrast to mine. After each guest was sure about the gender I had them wear  either a pink or blue clothes pin (also from Dollar Tree). After each guest had a pin I was able to write down their name on either a pink or a blue bow. We stuck the bows on the Gender Reveal box and made a tally. Based on my guests I was more likely to have a boy. Watch my gender reveal Vlog to see what the gender Truly is.

I think my guests truly had a good time and it was refreshing to find a new way to celebrate. Hopefully by my next pregnancy the Gender Reveal novelty hasn't worn off because I would love to have another one! Now it's time to shop & plan the baby shower. More celebration and happiness is in order for the little blessing growing inside me.

Click to watch!

*be sure to talk to the clinic about accuracy rates this early. FYI.

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