I Never Wanted a Baby Shower — But Somehow Ended Up With Two

I Never Wanted a Baby Shower — But Somehow Ended Up With Two

October 26, 2016

I Never Wanted a Baby Shower — But Somehow Ended Up With Two

I Never Wanted a Baby Shower — But Somehow Ended Up With Two
I Never Wanted a Baby Shower — But Somehow Ended Up With Two

I was never a “shower” person. When I got married, I didn’t have a bridal shower, so when I became pregnant, I assumed I wouldn’t have a baby shower either. But there’s something totally different about getting married to your partner of five years with an apartment full of stuff you already own, and being pregnant for the first time, staring down a long list of all the things babies need.

Spoiler: babies are expensive. Even if you opt for the most affordable items, the sheer volume of stuff you need will make any reasonable person panic and clutch their debit card tightly to their person. It was on such a debit-card clutching day that my mother-in-law called to say she was planning on throwing me a “family shower.” Perfect, I thought. A way to get some stuff for this kid without having to subject my friends to the dreaded event. They wouldn’t be offended at not getting an invitation because it was a family affair, and I wouldn’t have to drag them through the whole shower and gifting process.

Why dreaded? I was the first person in my inner circle to get pregnant and I may be the last. Some are firmly in the childless by choice category, and others are still on the fence. Everyone had always known I’d wanted children and it was never really an issue until…the day I told them I was pregnant.

For anyone who’s ever shared this news — you know what’s it like. There are lots of exclamations. Sometimes followed by tears. And hugs. So many hugs. But when I told my friends there was… snarkiness. And blank stares. Well, your life is over I guess. And while it was meant to be a joke, I understood it as a stark display of the difference in values we would soon be facing.

While I would start obsessing over my soon-to-be son’s poop production or milk consumption, they would continue to obsess over their latest career move or hard-to-get-but-somehow-I-got-one coveted dinner reservation at the newest restaurant. I was once a career-move obsessor. And I too loved to score those hard to get reservations. But I knew that would change once this little dude popped out of my inner sanctum.

It pained me to think that my friendships with the most important women in my life could possibly change or weaken, so I pretended that all would be the same secretly knowing it wouldn’t. And part of that farce was in making sure I didn’t invite them to a baby shower. Because all we’ve ever talked about is how painful they are (I mean, to be fair, those shower games really can be embarrassing), how boring, and how there’s pretty much a million other things we’d rather be doing (going to the dentist, paying bills, swimsuit shopping).

“On paper, it was the sort of event I would have avoided…”

I continued to become more and more pregnant. And continued to declare that I never wanted a baby shower. My friends knew that my mother-in-law was throwing one, but I also made it clear that it was a familial obligation and it was purely for the pursuit of free stuff.

I thought I was free and clear until I actually had that family baby shower. On paper, it was the sort of event I would have avoided if I weren’t the pregnant one: It was women-only (which, for some reason, makes my feminist brain twitch and tingle at the weird one-sidedness of the whole thing — my husband is having this baby too); and it did have the whole bit where I had to sit on a chair in front of a big group of enthusiastic women painstakingly unwrapping each present.

And if my enthusiasm at receiving said gift didn’t match the enthusiasm and look of expectation of the gifter — well, I may as well just slink away and pick up my ungrateful badge at the door. (I almost had a panic attack when I unwrapped one present and it was an obviously handmade, but also obviously tacky, felt blanket with a garish combination of colors and blurry-looking jungle creatures. I mustered up the biggest smile I could and yelled Thank You Aunt Terry! across the room.)

But the best part was when the presents were over and we were just sitting around chatting. Each brilliant, funny, wise woman in the group started sharing their insights and feelings on motherhood. They started to talk about the difficulties of the beginning part when you don’t feel like you have a clue about what you’re doing. Or the good parts after they’ve learned to use the potty and can feed themself in the morning. Or the part where this little creature who sort of looks like you makes you laugh in unexpected ways or cry because now you finally understand your mom in a way you never could have before.

That was the part I loved. That was the reason baby showers should exist. It felt like my eyes saw something different in the light and an invisible safety net suddenly started to appear. Because after that day I realized I would never be alone. That I would have this community of women with answers at the ready, whom I could visit if I went stir-crazy, or call and vent to when it all became too much.

I couldn’t keep this experience to myself so I told my friends about it. I downplayed it as much as possible and tried to write it off as just one of those I have a great family (because I do) moments, but I don’t think I could really hide how much it meant to me.

Then something else happened.

My group of sardonic, dry, Type A, bevvy of besties came together to give me something I would never have thought possible. The same reminder that, no matter what, these women were part of my community too. They threw me a surprise baby shower, complete with adorable non-babyish themed decorations (a sophisticated gray and yellow, gender-neutral color palette) and even a baby shower “game” — well a DIY onesie decorating contest where the person with the best one wins my undying love and devotion forever (did I mention they’re competitive too?).

And I was surprised. Not because I had been sold some story about how I was going Christmas tree shopping that day, and was instead lured inside to a roomful of men and women yelling at the top of their lungs to a woman 37 weeks pregnant, but because I had made assumptions that were not true. I had underestimated the level of friendship and love I was surrounded by. I had focused too much on what would be different and had forgotten about what was always the same. Plus, I got so much stuff. So much awesome baby stuff.


Mira Saxor is the pen name of a writer, editor, and mother who lives in Brooklyn and probably secretly judges your shoe choices on the subway. Sometimes when it gets too personal, she writes under cover because that’s the only way you can truly be honest. Her baby is currently eight months old and constantly wears those DIY’d onesies.


Mira Saxor is the pen name of a writer, editor, and mother who lives in Brooklyn and probably secretly judges your shoe choices on the subway. Sometimes when it gets too personal, she writes under cover because that’s the only way you can truly be honest. Her baby is currently eight months old and constantly wears those DIY’d onesies.

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