My Complicated Relationship with Baby Showers

The first baby shower I ever went to wasn’t a baby shower. It was a baby welcoming, for my friend’s new daughter Sophie, who was born in January. Her mom, Annemarie, didn’t want a shower beforehand because of the holidays. So instead, I hosted a baby welcoming a few months after Sophie was born. It was a huge success!

The second baby shower I ever went to was mine. My mom offered to throw me a shower after we were matched with Jackson’s birthmother. I went back and forth about it, but ultimately, decided that I like baby showers and I wanted to be treated like I was having a baby, which I was. Even if Jackson’s birthmother had changed her mind and decided to parent, eventually, we were going to have a baby. So, baby shower. I didn’t know anyone out here back then (December 2005), so we had about 8 people, which included two of my aunts, my mom, two of my cousins, two of my high school friends, and me.

The third baby shower was another one for Annemarie. This time, it was held before the baby was born, and I co-hosted. We played games. We had good food. It was fun.

But the fourth baby shower was different. I didn’t host or help plan. I was just an attendee. It was odd. I fully realized how I didn’t have many friends when Jackson was born, and I wished I had. I understood what I had missed. And I really hoped to have a shower for my second (and last) baby.

When my mom died, I figured I wouldn’t have a shower for the baby-who-would-be-Cassie. I didn’t think I knew anyone out here who would throw me a pre-baby shower. My friend Annemarie, who helped host Jackson’s baby welcoming, had moved much further away by this point.

I helped host and plan the shower for Jude’s third son. I think every baby deserves to be celebrated, whether the first or the fifth. I also found that I vastly preferred hosting and planning to just attending. When I had something to do, an official capacity, something to worry about, I wasn’t thinking about everything I’d missed.

When we started the adoption process again in 2010, Jude casually mentioned that she’d like to throw a shower when the time came. I almost cried. Then, my friend Christy said she’d throw me a shower if I had a baby before she moved, but I didn’t. (It is the thought that counts, you know.) Finally, another friend said she’d like to help someone else plan the shower. So here I had a plethora of people wanting to throw me a shower.

But our first match (April 2011) failed. Our second match (July 2011) was a scam. Christy moved to attend grad school. Jude had a major health crisis. The third friend ended up being pregnant herself. Cassie didn’t come home ’til too close to the holidays, and by then… well, a shower never happened. Which is why I had a kick ass huge party for Cassie’s First Birthday.

Since Cassie’s birth, I co-hosted the Twilight-themed baby shower for Shaina and her fifth child. I also attended a shower for my friend Karyn and her fifth child. Again, I vastly preferred the former experience to the latter. I mean, I did have fun at Karyn’s shower, and I was really honored to be invited. There were fun games and onesie decorating. But yes, I was jealous, and nostalgic, and I missed my mom.

So, when another school-friend-mom became pregnant, I pretty much immediately offered to help with any shower goings on. “Give me something to do!”, I practically begged. I made the invitations and the decorations for a superhero-themed shower. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. And having Cassie running around this shower was somewhat helpful too.

I don’t know how many more baby showers will be in my immediate future. Most of the people I know well enough to be invited to a shower are done having kids. If Shaina has another, I’ll make her let me host another shower for her, so I’m covered there.

A lot of adoptive moms have baby shower issues. I am incredibly blessed to have two beautiful, brilliant children. I never wanted to be pregnant, and I never want to be pregnant in the future. My children are celebrated now that they are here. There’s just this intangible feeling of having missed something, something that I wouldn’t have missed if I had gone the “traditional route” to having a family.

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9 thoughts on “My Complicated Relationship with Baby Showers

  1. I think it’s a feeling of equality. That my family is just as valid as somebody else’s, even if it wasn’t complete until a year and a half after birth.

  2. I don’t think you’re missing anything. The people who love you find many other ways to celebrate your new family member, and probably give you the same amount of baby gear and clothes!

    It’s great you at least attend the shower and show support in that way. I feel bad for my friends, but I hate baby showers and will never go to one. Ive been invited to 3 in the last year. Even the idea of purchasing a toy or onesie to give makes me too sad. But it’s the excitement and support for the expecting, happily married couple that I’m jealous of, not the cheeseball baby shower. I think in my situation it would be inappropriate (and depressing) to have a shower if I was ever pregnant again and I’m good with that.

    • No, I know. When I was writing it, I did think about birthmothers and how they might feel about baby showers, and how my “problem” might seem petty compared to that.
      It’s not really about the stuff. We did get a lot of things from friends and family, especially a lot of hand-me-down clothes, which I love. It’s more that it’s yet another difference. That’s all.

  3. I remember the shower for my son’s arrival very well because he came from Korea a month earlier than expected, so he ended up being at the shower! But I don’t remember a shower for my daughter. I don’t think I had one. Now I’m going to feel bad . . . .

  4. I def have baby shower issues. Still do. I almost went to one last weekend (granted baby girl had surgery on Friday so I had a good excuse to skip out). I just can’t bring myself to go even now.

    I am quick to visit w a gift and meal after the baby arrives but I can’t bring myself to the pre-shower.

    I do feel petty and guilty because I had three showers! I thought I’d be able to go once I was a mom but I’ve come to realize that a baby does not change our infertility. Maybe after our family is “complete” I will be able to go…. We shall see.

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