As most of you know, we’re expecting our first child next month! I’m 37 weeks pregnant and seriously ready for this baby!
Although I have been able to see my Canadian friends and family due to an emergency trip I had to take in September, most of this pregnancy has been spent in Belgium – away from most of them. Obviously that comes with some hardships, but I’ve had a very low-risk, fun pregnancy so far and I count myself blessed.
My sister, the godmother of our baby, arrived in Belgium late October to help me prepare before the baby arrives. She’ll be staying a few weeks after baby arrives too, to give us a little extra support. My mother is arriving a week before my due date and staying until a few weeks after.
This all just so happens to be around Christmas, which makes this time of year even more magical for us.
To capture this special time in our lives, my sister helped us out with a few maternity photo shoot days – and I couldn’t be happier with the results…
What I LOVE about being an international/multi-cultural family is that we have the opportunity to pick and choose from the customs we want to have.
MY VIRTUAL BABY SHOWER (CANADA) – Obviously having a baby shower IN Canada was not an option. The week I spent in Canada during my pregnancy was spent with a loved one in the hospital, so no one was throwing any celebrations at that time.
My sister, when she arrived in October, surprised me with a VIRTUAL BABY SHOWER!
What is this? Well, it’s only the most creative, most thoughtful idea in the world!!! If you know someone who is pregnant and living abroad, I seriously recommend maybe surprising them with something like this because my boyfriend and I were absolutely speechless and amazed.
THE SECRET FACEBOOK GROUP – A whole secret group of about 60 of my closest friends and family! Everyone was able to keep this secret for MONTHS as the page filled with ideas, comments and best wishes for us and our baby.
My sister organized a group where people could send their wishes to us. She printed them all out and put them into a lovely scrapbook for me. (God bless technology, amiright?!)
THE PAYPAL ACCOUNT – Modern society – you amaze me. Attached to this Facebook group, was a link to a donation site where people could send us monetary donations through a paypal account my sister set up for us and baby. We later used this money to buy things like a diaper genie, blankets, bottles, etc for baby.
It was really nice because it was a way for everyone to be involved but not have to send gifts to us (because shipping from Canada to Belgium is insanely expensive most of the time!!)
THE WISHING WELL – A whole website made entirely for the arrival of our son! Seriously, guys, this whole concept just amazes me still.
This was a place (aside from the Facebook group) where you could leave a thoughtful message for us or send in a monetary donation to the paypal account. This was also a place my sister could discreetly give our contact information to people who wanted to send us physical gifts (like the adorable hand-knit blanket we received from my Aunt).
THE SCRAPBOOK – All of the messages people sent, the receipts from the paypal donations and adorable little pages counting down the days to our son’s arrival. A keepsake for our family.
OUR BELGIAN BABY SHOWER – is still in the planning stages, as it won’t be held until after the baby’s arrival! This is a Belgian custom, which came as quite a shock to me. Belgian baby showers are generally held after baby’s arrival (compared to Canadian customs where the baby shower is before baby’s arrival to help the parents prepare). The Belgian shower is more of a celebration of baby’s arrival and for extended family to meet baby a few months after the birth.
Ours will be held most likely in the spring of 2017. (I am seriously slacking off in planning these days – all I can think about is how close we are to meeting our son!)
Our plan is to rent out a small hall and have tables set up with food and drink. Although renting a hall (and even having a bouncy castle) is a popular thing to do for baby showers in Belgium, we decided on renting a hall only because our home is much too small for the amount of people we’d like to invite.
We plan on giving out parting gifts (most likely blue little candy boxes) and having a wonderful afternoon of fun with our Belgian family and friends, introducing them to our new baby.
(I will keep you updated and post photos in the spring to let you know how this one went!!)
So there it is! My pregnancy celebrations (although a lot of them spent apart from close friends and family, have been truly amazing and somehow included everyone I love! Going through pregnancy abroad has been difficult at times but I wouldn’t trade my pregnancy journey for anything! Read more about my pregnancy abroad on our PREGNANCY & LIFESTYLE page.