In the summer of 2003, I tossed out my birth control and started watching A Baby Story. Not necessarily in that order. ;) It was fun to watch people’s stories of adding to their family, all done up in a pretty package, with a musical montage to boot. I was blissfully naive, not knowing much about infertility, so I quite enjoyed the 30-minute show.
The first 10 minutes or so would show the baby preparations, then the birth and a quick follow-up. In one episode, the follow-up segment was a get-together the couple planned for friends and family, so that everyone could come and meet the baby. It was casual and looked like a lot of fun. I made a mental note… this looks like something I would love to do.
The traditional thing to do to celebrate a new baby is to have a baby shower. I have been to a LOT of baby showers in my adult life. When I was first married, I didn't think too much about them. As the years went on, and infertility began to rear its ugly head, baby showers became more difficult. I went to a few here and there, but had to give my regrets several times. I would always send warm regards (and give a gift). Those who truly knew me, and where my heart longed to be, always understood. I wish I would have handled that whole situation better, but I did the best I could at the time. And I still do.
Soon, it became very obvious that I would never have a baby shower of my own. It just wasn't going to work for me. The painful memories of baby showers past are too much. I can't do it. Instead, my thoughts returned to that Baby Story episode I had seen years ago… the joy as friends and family met the baby for the first time… no obligatory buying of gifts… no baby games or the exclusion of one gender… it seemed nice.
And it just seems like me. I have never been one who relishes in being the center of attention. I cried and hid in the bathroom during my surprise birthday party. At my wedding shower, though it was lovely and I am so grateful for it, I was just a ball of stress. With a get-together after the baby’s born, guess who the star is? The baby! I am just one of his/her adoring fans. ;)
After thinking about this for years, and discussing it with Ryan, we have decided to have an Open House after the baby comes, in lieu of a Baby Shower. We are excited for this, and we don’t question our decision one bit. We are happy that family and friends will be able to join in the celebration. We love that grandfathers, uncles, nephews and brothers can come celebrate too.
Some people have said they do not agree with this decision. I am sorry to hear that. I have supported the decision of countless friends and relatives to have a baby shower. Now is the time for them to support me when I choose not to. I just want a wonderful celebration with my husband, baby and those I love most. I want to honor all those who have supported us in the last 7 years, feed them a yummy treat and let them meet our baby. I think that sounds wonderful.
Although we don’t question this choice, we are finding that others do. Here are a couple questions we've received often and our responses.
How will you get everything the baby needs if you don’t have a shower? Well, we’ll buy it! ;) Our baby doesn’t need every trinket and gadget available, but those we feel we cannot (or don’t want to) live without, we will be able to get for our baby. Obviously, this baby was planned (haha – no kidding), so we went into this knowing how expensive everything would be. We plan to do all we can to provide for our child, and we aren’t expecting anyone to step in and do that for us.
So, are you not accepting gifts then? To me, a gift should be just that… a gift. Not an expectation or an obligation. I understand that many times people want to give a gift because this is how they show their love and excitement. I know how excited I get when I give something special to someone, and I wouldn't deny someone else that excitement either. :) We don't expect anything, and are very humbled by and appreciative of anything we might receive.
I want to thank those family and friends who have been accepting of (and even excited by) our unconventional way to celebrate. And I hope those who have been confused by our decision can understand it a bit more now. :)