BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS: THEN AND NOW
by Liz O'Byrne - for PhotoAffections.com™
Shopping for baby birth announcements has changed! Just a generation or two ago there wasn't a lot of choice in how to announce the arrival of your newborn baby to family and friends. Unless you had a very generous budget for your birth announcements, you were limited to the preprinted birth announcements offered at greeting card stores or gift shops. It was fun to "ooh" and "aah" over the cute designs, but you couldn't actually purchase baby announcements ahead of time unless you wanted to play it safe with the few yellow or green options available. Back in those days, you had no way of knowing, really, what the gender of the newborn was going to be. All you had were ways of "guessing" - some of which persist even today; they're fun, but not very reliable! So you had to wait those nine long, suspense-filled pregnant months before you finally knew whether you needed "pink" for girls or "blue" for boys.
Then on to phase two! Once you had the energy, and trusted someone else to care for your newborn baby for a little while, you hurried down to the local mall. You could have been celebrating what might have been your first real "alone time" in ages. Instead, probably feeling guilty all the while, you anxiously searched for that perfect pink or blue birth announcement you'd seen before. Of course, it was not to be found. Finally, you settled for something that would do, and tiredly lugged home what you hoped were enough boxes of matching birth announcements.
Then the real work began. You had to write out by hand all the details of your little one - carefully trying to fit everything into the space allowed, and not ruining any birth announcements by misspelling or smudging something . This could take days -- or possibly weeks, depending on the size of your mailing list. This was a daunting task - even if you managed somehow to talk the new Dad into helping (unlikely back in those days!), or a kindly friend or relative. Then you addressed that mountain of envelopes -- by hand once again. (This is how you truly learned the meaning of "writer's cramp.") All this was done while coping with the demands of your baby, and trying to present a bright face to the world while managing -- at best -- a few hours' sleep each night.
On the other hand, if you were one of those fortunate Moms-to-be with more to spend on photo baby announcements, you had an easier time of it. Before your world turned upside down, you headed to the nearest stationery store and leafed through books of birth announcement designs. You picked out your favorites for a girl and boy and waited for the big day. At last, with birth details in hand, you went back to the shop and placed your custom birth announcement order. You made another trip back to the shop to review a proof before the printing could be done. Finally, you trekked back to the shop yet again to pick up your finished order. You paid a premium price but were spared the tedium of writing out all that birth information -- over and over again. Naturally, you had that same mountain of envelopes to deal with - addressing and stamping - unless, of course, you were really lucky and could hire someone else to do it for you!