Unconventional is the word I often use to describe my fertility and pregnancy journey. Having been told on more than one occasion that I would never conceive naturally, I was quite surprised when eight pregnancy tests proclaimed me pregnant in March 2012, and it took me the next nine months to come to terms with the idea that a wee human would be joining our family that November. When you spend nearly 11 years convincing yourself that “childfree is the way to be,” it takes some time to reprogram the brain. Throw in some wild hormones, exhaustion and a splash of heartburn and you’ve got one rather stunned pregnant lady who lacked the “glow” and the passion for all pregnancy traditions. That resistance to tradition actually became the springboard for two of my most unconventional, yet very creative pre- and postpartum experiences.

The Baby Shower Family Festival

Life is a continuation of other lives and is part of an intricately woven web of relationships. The creation of a life is not an isolated event but is a manifestation of a series of interrelated lives and beings. – Tibetan Life Philosophy

When it came to my “baby shower” I wanted nothing to do with the classics – toss out the diaper games and booties and bring in the grill, football, pool and booze! Why should this celebration only focus on me and the baby and not my husband, who clearly played a role in the growth of our brood, and our family and friends who supported us throughout our lives? Our baby was already loved by so many, why not celebrate them all?!

What evolved came to be known by the organizing committee (yes, I said committee, aka kid-free friends!) as the Ouellette Family Festival – a very classy, primarily pink-free backyard pool party featuring 100+ guests, games for the kids, a “man cave” for the guys, a baby name raffle and a roving ice cream cart. To ensure the adults could enjoy themselves and a cocktail, we hired a lifeguard and two “kid wranglers” to supervise the children in attendance. It was a great day and exactly what I envisioned!

Festival decor and signage was designed to capture the "family" theme. Center pieces included quotes about children, family and friends.
Festival decor and signage was designed to capture the “family” theme. Centerpieces included quotes about children, family and friends.

The Baby Announcement News Release

My background in public relations and journalism inspired my unique baby news release. Writing became a much needed creative outlet during my pregnancy, so I channeled my inner publicist to craft this fun message announcing Baby O’s arrival. My friend and PR colleague was at the ready with my contact list when I went into labor and “delivered” the news via email upon my prompt. The release served as an entertaining reminder that there are moments during the pregnancy experience (especially during labor and delivery) when laughter is the best medicine.

AlliNRLWhen it comes to “owning” your pregnancy, don’t be afraid to throw tradition to the wind and let your creative flag fly. This is a special time for your mind, body and soul, take advantage of your unique ideas to make the experience truly memorable!

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shelleyouellette
p>Contributor

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Family: Dad, Mom, Baby Girl and a dog named Gator.

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Education: B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida. Yes, I do bleed orange and blue!!

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Mom Acronym: WAHM (work at home mom)

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Your Perfect Day: Staring at a sun-filled blue sky while lying on New Smyrna Beach and jumping ocean waves with my daughter.

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Can’t Live Without: My "crackberry" BlackBerry phone -- yes, I'm a Blackberry loyalist (for now anyway).

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Favorite Pregnancy/Labor & Delivery/Parenting Tip: This one applies to all: JUST BREATHE!

1 COMMENT

  1. Best. Festival. Ever! I loved being a part of it all and am so excited and inspired by you and your creativity Shelley! Your fabulous ideas may have been non-traditional at the time, but I have a sneaking suspicion they will soon inspire others and encourage soon-to-be parents to honor their own desires and creativity. Well done!

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