Social distancing is hard, especially if you are in a critical time of your life that should be spent in the company of others. I will always remember when I was pregnant and expecting my first daughter, and then my second, how much the presence of others meant to me — from care packages to surprise decaf coffee drop-offs, and of course my beautiful baby showers.
Now that we find ourselves in this unexpected moment of virtual learning, Zoom cocktail hours with family and friends and drive by birthday parties, expectant mamas are feeling the strain. If you have a friend who is pregnant or adopting soon, or if you are a mama-to-be looking for creative solutions for a virtual baby shower, here are some ideas to make it extra-special and ease the strain of not being able to get close.
How to Throw a Virtual Baby Shower
Dress Up Anyway
It might not be the shower she dreamed of, but encourage guests (and the mother-to-be) to dress as if you’re really getting together. Not only will everyone look cute on those inevitable screen shots of your Zoom or Google Hangout baby shower, but she’ll have a chance to wear that special dress she had purchased for the occasion. Bonus: you’ll change out of your sweatpants for the first time in who knows how long?
Photo Credit: Marie Brock Photography
Do a Drive-By
Surprise her with a drive-by baby shower complete with streamers, balloons, music, and fun. It might not be as satisfying as sitting around a luncheon table together, but tears of joy will flow. Arrange in advance to have registry gifts shipped to the party coordinator’s home, and about an hour before the event park and sneak to the curb to pile them up, then decorate the yard. Lysol wipe the packages after touching, or wear fresh latex gloves while making the stack for an extra layer of safety.
Coordinate with her partner to have her come outside at the start time, or simply call Mama ahead and let her know she needs to be outside in half an hour for a quick hello. Have the other cars, decorated and ready to roll, lined up a block away. At the appointed hour, drive by in succession with signs, baby shower deco, and wish her a happy baby shower!
Pass Out Party Packs
If you’re planning a Zoom, Google Hangout, or other online baby shower option, drop off balloons, small banners, matching plastic cups, and other little festive details at the party goers homes in advance. If there are out-of-towners, choose light items that ship flat and mail in advance. It will feel extra festive when Mama-to-Be logs on and finds that her virtual baby shower feels more like a traditional one with themed decor and accessories across her screen.
Hire Some Entertainment
From tarot card readers to murder mysteries, mindfulness tips to DIY crafters, hiring a local small business owner who offers virtual entertainment is a great way to support your community members while making an online baby shower feel more special and fun. After all, simply looking at each other and chatting might not feel too different from your typical Zoom catchups!
…and a Professional Photographer
A friend of mine was recently showered under stay-at-home orders and her amazing friends had a photographer on hand (from an appropriate distance) to shoot her surprise as she walked outside; they captured the stack of gifts, drive-by guests, and the parking lot picnic guests shared afterward from six feet apart. These photographs will be so important in the years to come as so many traditional elements of planning for a new baby have been stripped away from new mothers.
Try a Parking Lot Party
Speaking of parking lot parties, what do they entail? Not all states or counties will allow something of this magnitude, and it’s definitely advised across the board not to get more than ten people together at a time. But if you have a small group and an open lot where you can safely gather several feet apart from each other, pack a picnic lunch and join together near the mother-to-be’s home to revel in her glow and enjoy some much-needed girl chat. Make sure to triple-check local laws on gathering up to the day of the event, as things do change.
Play Zoom Games
If you’re sticking with an online meet-up, keep things feeling like a true baby shower with some fun shower games. Not all traditional baby shower games can be played virtually, but you can easily do Mama Bingo, baby trivia, name that tune, and more over a computer or phone. Also consider conversation icebreakers and themes like swapping embarrassing baby or pregnancy stories, sharing your “back-up” baby names you never used, etc.
Hand it Over
Not a big planner? That’s cool. Web Baby Shower is a comprehensive service that handles everything from the registry to the planning and execution of a virtual online baby shower. This is a great option for busy hosts who are stuck at home with their own kids right now and don’t necessarily have the time to coordinate every detail of a friend or sister’s special day.
Have Humor & Empathy
Remember a change of plans can be hard on moms-to-be, who are probably feeling emotional to begin with. If she needs to cry about her change in shower plans, let her. Handle the situation with kindness and grace, and keep her laughing in as many creative ways as possible. When all is said and done, she’ll look back on her baby shower with endless gratitude that her friends and family managed to make a complicated time feel special, even at a distance.