I never had a baby shower for any of my three babies. It just wasn’t on my agenda. I had a miscarriage before falling pregnant with my first child, and then fell ill and was told the foetus was at risk. By the time I passed the 18-week mark everything was fine, but I couldn’t shake the anxiety for the remainder of the pregnancy. There was no way I was celebrating my baby with a party until I was holding him in my arms.
A baby shower seemed like tempting fate. Which was odd, because I am not in the least superstitious. But I simply couldn’t count my chickens before they’d hatched.
Or my baby before he was born.
Celebrations on hold
I look at women having baby showers and marvel at their faith. To me, it feels like celebrating a win before the race is over; it’s a little premature and incredibly optimistic. I know that the vast majority of pregnancies end in joy, but it still seems inappropriate to rejoice before the baby has actually arrived. There is plenty of time for congratulations and gifts once he is safely in his crib.
And besides, there’s really no need for a baby shower in any practical sense. Babies need very little paraphernalia in the first couple of weeks. A couple of romper suits, a packet of nappies, and a few wraps should do it. The car seat needs to be hired, of course, but even a pram can wait for a few days. And a newborn baby can sleep in a drawer or rented bassinette; there’s no need for a fancy cot until the bub is a few months old.
Still, I can appreciate why people like to get their gifts ahead of time. It’s nice to stack the tiny clothes and toys and books away in the baby’s room, to have a sense that everything is there waiting for him when he comes home. And it’s nice to be able to have a party; most mums of newborns aren’t up to attending a big function in the days after the birth.
But to have a baby shower for second and subsequent babies does seem a little excessive. I mean, a baby shower is about preparing a nursery, which is probably redundant when you’re onto number two, and certainly unnecessary for any more.
Having said that, life is hard, and creating life is even more arduous, and I firmly believe we should celebrate the good stuff whenever possible. If you are inclined to have a baby shower for baby one, three or seven (god help you), then you absolutely should.
I will even come and join the party. I’ll bring a nappy cake, or some cute little booties. But I’ll only properly celebrate when your baby is born.
I can’t help being anxious about pregnancy. Even when it’s yours.