When Texas-based parents Zack and Naomi Russell discovered they were expecting baby number four, they decided their only option for the announcement was to “go big or go home.” And that they did — with a Star Wars pregnancy announcement that is simply out of this world.
Like most ’80s kids, Russell grew up with a love for all things Star Wars. He had a collection of action figures in a Darth Vader carrying case (which is probably worth mega Republic credits nowadays). He also had a lightsaber, an X-Wing, an R2-D2 alarm clock (remember alarm clocks?!?), a hand-made Jedi robe, and a Luke Skywalker lunch box.
Now, as a dad, Russell is still an avid Star Wars fan — along with his entire family.
As the dad of three girls, Russell is often teased about being outnumbered and being “the minority in the sorority.” The family heard all the typical lines about how they should “keep trying for a boy” and “maybe you’ll finally get that boy,” once they were expecting a fourth.
“To us, this was a subtle, but hurtful, devaluing of our daughters. I don’t blame anyone, though. We’ve all been programmed to adhere to the ideal norm of one boy, one girl,” Russell tells Babble. He continued:
“Anything slightly outside that norm is cute, anything way outside that is weird. Here we were with three girls already and a fourth kid on the way. A geneticist friend told us that the odds were actually in favor of #4 being a girl, too. Weirdsville all the way. But we’ve had several close friends struggle through infertility, and it put all of that noise into perspective.”
So how did the Russell family come up with the idea of a Star Wars pregnancy announcement?
Well, things got off to a bit of a slow start. When the expectant dad started brainstorming for a fourth baby announcement, he was dismayed to find a lot of “oops!” or “sorry, we’re pregnant again” type of announcements.
But then, inspiration struck.
“We had just seen Star Wars: Episode VII a few weeks before, so the dots started to connect in my mind,” said Zack told Babble. “The Force Awakens. The FOURTH Awakens! We made and rented some costumes, borrowed a green screen, and bugged some friends who were Photoshop wizards. It was tons of fun.”
Not to mention, Rey of The Force Awakens is an excellent role model for any little girl — perfect for the estrogen-heavy Russell family. After posting their announcement, they received lots of positive feedback, both for their creativity and for the exciting news of “the fourth.”
“I was of course happy when people complimented our creativity of [the announcement] but what was truly affirming was excitement for the new person who would be joining our family,” shared the now father of four.
Son, Paxton, joined his three sisters, Annalei, Miah, and Cassia in July of 2016. Russell noted, “Four kids is a lot of work and very difficult at times … we wouldn’t trade any of them for the ideal American family size or make-up.”