Thursday, January 24, 2013

To Shower or Not?!

Showers. That’s the subject that’s been on my mind lately as I move full speed ahead into the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Not the type of shower that involves soap and water and checking to make sure you can still see your feet but the one that involves cupcakes, a gathering of friends and registering for items one supposedly needs to care for a baby. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I had a full on cry session about my shower at the beginning of the year. I was having various people come up to me and ask me, “so who’s throwing your shower?” and all I could answer was, “I don’t know…” Which was the truth because I had several friends who had mentioned that they would like to throw me a shower but that’s as far as the conversation had gone at that point. Realizing as I entered the New Year I was now on the downward slope towards becoming a parent (for real) I began to panic. Wasn’t I supposed to have a baby shower? When would this take place? Who was supposed to be in charge here?

Weddings are a lot easier to navigate when it comes to social cues and etiquette. You pick your bridesmaids and those ladies are in charge of making sure you are taken care of right up through your wedding day. Best case scenario they throw you an awesome bachelorette party and lingerie shower, they help you get ready on your big day and they ensure you do not worry about the little things. Personally my husband and I were made to feel beyond loved where our wedding was concerned. It seemed people were coming out of the woodwork to throw us showers and parties and we ended up having three total; two of which were couples showers. We also both had our respective maid and man of honor throw us amazing bachelor and bachelorette parties. I could not have felt more love and support where our wedding was concerned.

Being pregnant has been a different experience entirely. Neither my husband nor I have family that lives in town for starters. Fortunately I have had a drama free pregnancy which has resulted in the bare minimum of ultrasounds and midwife appointments. While there is love and support abound from my husband and family, for the most part I have realized most friends just aren’t as jazzed up about babies as they are weddings. Unless that friend has had a baby. Your friends that have had children will, without a doubt, be the most excited to welcome you into club parenthood. But, for some reason, creating a human life, having a miracle living inside your body and going through the pain of childbirth just isn’t as much fun for others as two people who may or may not stay together forever throwing a big drunk fest.

After my initial panic of, “what if no one throws me a baby shower,” I took to the internet to research and see if others had the same experience. As it turns out, I found message boards full of women who shared their concerns that either no one was going to throw them a baby shower, or that they had children and had never had a baby shower with any of their kids. This saddened me beyond belief (and believe me I’m already weepy enough these days) and shocked me to some extent as well. Here these women are about to go through one of the biggest changes in their lives and some of them were completely looked over apparently by their friends and family. Unlike a wedding you do not have a group of friends appointed to make sure these social functions are carried out if you so desire. There will be no group of people to go shopping with you when you outgrow your regular clothes and need maternity pants or bras. No team of best friends to precede you down the hall at the hospital on your big day and tell you that you look beautiful and toast with you after it’s all over. While giving birth, to me, is a much bigger deal than a wedding day (which let’s not forget anyone from Kim Kardashian to strippers in Vegas can have) it’s met with much less enthusiasm and fan fare from those who should matter most.

I understand baby showers are not the most fun social event to attend. I myself, had anxiety attacks when I went into Babies R’ Us to buy gifts for others. That is because, for the most part, baby showers tend to be lackluster. But they don’t have to be. For myself I envision a coed baby shower that isn’t about the gifts or tiny onesies or guessing “what’s in the diaper,” it’s about a gathering of friends one last time before our world is forever changed. I just want a showing of support from those that recognize the journey and how far we have come in the last 7-8 months. Anyone can plan a wedding, but have you tried growing a human? It’s hard work! You can’t hand the task over to a planner or throw money at things that you need done.

I am blessed in that I have some wonderful friends who did indeed step up and offer to throw me a baby shower. I know it is a difficult thing to coordinate and plan and it involves money and time. I am grateful to these ladies because they have been supportive of me from the start of my pregnancy and have been excited with me at every step of the way. I realize now that is not entirely common. There is no way to predict who will be there for you when your time comes. I am in an in-between point in my life where a lot of my friends have not yet had kids so they do not feel the connection to me and what I am going through. I was the same way when I was on the other side of the fence. I’ll admit I dreaded baby showers and sitting in a circle watching the mom-to-be open gifts and playing games- oh the dreaded party games! But I realize now I was missing the whole point of the shower – to congratulate the woman who may or may not have struggled to embark on the journey of motherhood. To buy a gift off the registry of carefully chosen and researched items that may have taken hours or days to pick out. Most of all to be a friend and be supportive because for many, now that I look back, that would be the last time I’d see that person without a child. It’s not like a wedding where you see your friends on Saturday then see them again the next week and they are still the same. No, this may be your last opportunity to talk with them freely and uninterrupted so enjoy that time.

After all that’s what a shower is really all about – giving your time, support and love to someone and wishing them the best on the road ahead whether you chose that road for yourself or not. And by all means set yourself up for some good karma and if a friend who is having a baby says that no one is throwing them a shower then just offer and mean it and see the offer through. You never know when the day might arise that you would like the same consideration and love extended to you. 

*In my subsequent blog I'll be letting you know how I did, indeed, navigate the world of registering for the baby shower. It's a bigger pain in the ass than you might think

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