Friday, 12 February 2010

Birth announcements

If you have children, how did you announce their arrival to the world?
  • Did you / your partner make a few phone calls to your parents, best friends and then let the grapevine do the rest?
  • Did you Tweet or text?
  • Did you place an announcement in The Times, El Mundo, The New York Post, Le Monde, De Telegraaf et al?
  • Did you buy a pack of birth announcement cards from the local card shop and eventually get round to sending them out?
  • Did you spend hours designing a card yourself and chosing all the right words etc?
In the Netherlands sending out the birth announcement card (geboortekaart) is a major event and given much thought and hours pouring over card designs. There are hundreds of websites where you can choose a ready made design, add photos, text, colour etc or produce something entirely of your own making. It is expected that you'll send these out to family, friends, neighbours, colleagues within a few days of the birth, giving full details of your baby's name, d.o.b., time of birth, weight, proud family members etc. It's also a prompt for everyone to come and visit you and meet your beautitful new baby. The card will nearly always include the times you and your baby will be resting and not taking visitors (otherwise you'll be even more exhausted than you already).
In addition to the cards, a front of house window display of somekind is pretty much essential. It could simply be a string of bunting across the window with meisje (girl) or jongen (boy) printed on. Or a more elaborate huge stork looking like its crash landed in the window! I once saw an inflatible baby around 4 meters tall in the front garden of a new arrival. Maybe cute stickers of babies crawling across the window, or a personalised flag flying from your flag pole with your baby's name on (many houses have flag poles for proudly displaying the Netherlands flag on the Queens birthday etc).
Everyone has seen your growing bump for the past 9 months (or there abouts) and now they'll know your baby has arrived and will want to come and share your enjoyment of your precious little one.
Both of our kiddos birth announcements (both born in the Netherlands) were home made. For Luca we had all the time in the world to prepare. We made each letter of his name from autumn leaves collected at the park, then photographed each one from above, half hanging from a ladder (Huzz not me, I was 8 months gone and had no balance whatsoever). The final photographs were mounted on card. They were a work of art. We had also prepared one for a girl (we didn't know the sex) which was even more time consuming - Isabella - twice as long a Luca, but never used of course.
For Ruby, we came up with various designs, but all for the name India.  Yes, until 2 weeks before her birth, we had planned for India, and then did a last minute switch around of names.  We were so much more busy 2nd time around (no reflection on her importance to us), and the cards didn't get finished until a week after Miss Ruby's arrival. This time we chose a beautiful photograph of her on the day she was born, and in big red letters printed Ruby next to it.

Our window displays were kind of tame compared to some - a banner on our front door for Luca, made with the same leaf lettering as the cards, and for Ruby, each letter of her name printed in red on an A4 sheet, clipped with little pink and white pegs to a ribbon in the front window.

When I was born, my parents sent out cards, embossed with gold lettering to all the family and friends. A bit fancy eh?

What about you?  How did you tell the world that your precious little baby had now arrived?


  1. wow! i´d be a wreck. i must have changed my mind 100 times thinking up names. poor daniel left the hospital with two names (a baby must have a name to leave) because i still hadn´t decided... anyway- no formal announcements here. and i love how you celebrate there:)

  2. These are lovely birth announcements!! I think I am going to make handmade announcement cards and send them to my family and friends!

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I think I told you that years ago I spent some time in the Netherlands with an old (American) friend (who married a Dutch man). I was there to help her with their farm while she was pregnant. She explained the birth announcement and visitors traditions to me, and they astounded me (and her a bit). She happily sent their announcements out right away, though, and then had all the biscoutjes mit moutjes (phonetic - please excuse my spelling) ready for visitors! I couldn't believe it! I think I remember a stork, too. I couldn't have done it. I can barely have people over on a normal weekend. Amazing.

  4. I found the most gorgeous birth announcement cards that I had printed for number five. Loved them! :0)

  5. Wow - interesting! I made our birth announcements by hand as well. They turned out nice. We also put photos online for out of state/country family members and friends...included the URL in the announcements.

    In some places here people put out banners - but in my area not usually with the name out for anybody to see. :)

  6. Thank you for sharing this cute and can be wonderful tradition. We don't do any announcement but relatives from every corner of "the village" will still know about it somehow and will come out to visit.

  7. I really love all these traditions. I love what you did for yours with the leaves. Having a baby is the most special thing and I think it's really important to announce it to the world. It's not like you get to do it every day. Having said that, when my son was born I wasn't quite ready (pre-eclampsia meant he came earlier than expected) and so news just trickled out. I did send some handmade ones out but by the time they let me out of hospital everyone knew. With my daughter, I did some handmade ones - I copied the idea out of a Martha Stewart magazine!

  8. this where I dropped the ball and try to make it up every birthday.

  9. There are similar traditions here in California -and I love it :-) It's always so exciting to hear the name of the baby+see the pictures ;-)

  10. Wow, that a lovely tradition, better than a facebook announcement.

    I've tagged you for an award at mine. xx

  11. i'm in love with the owl announcement! adorable! we announced our baby boy's birth with handmade postcards, not quite as chic as the ones displayed on your blog, but each made with lots of love!

  12. I'm still a huge fan of the traditional, sent out birth announcement. I've already considered what I'm going to do for my future children. Yours sound amazing.


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