Saturday, 1 June 2013

Baby Shower Survival Guide

Even prior to experiencing infertility, I never really cared for attending bridal or baby showers. I tend to view the event with the same obligatory effort that others approach having their yearly GYN exam; you don't really want to go, but it has to be done. Many years back, Myrtle and I were bridesmaids for a mutual friend's wedding. When the maid of honour was scheduling the date for the bridal shower, I replied that it was during my finals week, and would not be able to attend. As it turned out, I finished with my exams earlier than expected, but rather than drive back to Connecticut for the shower, I spent the weekend at the beach. It's a secret I've kept from the bride and Myrtle to this day.

I had no guilt, as I knew that I had no intention of holding my own bridal shower. Since we started TTC, I've participated in three at-work events for expecting staffers and I've attended three formal baby showers. At each one, I still feel strongly about not registering for items and not allowing anyone to plan a shower for me, should the opportunity present. However, the issue is starting to seem less relevant. The sense of 'always a bridesmaid, never a bride' is more prominent and I can hear the Gershwin lyrics, they're writing songs of love...but not for me... in my head. Baby showers can be particularly difficult for infertile couples. It's a blatant display of what you want and what has been so elusive for you. Here are the Mine to Command tips for surviving a baby shower.

Look hot
Choose an outfit or dress that rocks your bumpless figure.

The best defense is a good offense 
Talk about the upcoming events in your life; a project at work, upcoming vacation, home renovations, recent race or other athletic event. If you can set the topics, it might deflect the conversation from "when are you going to have a bay-bee?"

Have a response ready
The mother-to-be will probably prefer that you not take this opportunity to come out about your fertility. Stick with the traditional responses 'in a few years'...'just waiting for the right time'.  My personal favourite; "Why, do I need one?"

Identify an ally and create a code word
Enlist the help of a friend who can rescue you from a difficult conversation.

Get a job
I found that it was easier to get through the baby shower for the ones I hosted. My focus was on organising the games and serving the food, and my attention was distracted from the gifts and discussions regarding breast pumps and diaper genies. Offer to help set up the cake or dessert. Be the person who boxes up the opened presents and carries them out to the car, which provides moments of repose.

I don't have a baby! Everybody drink!
Remember the words of Samantha Jones from Sex and the City. Enjoy the booze in moderation.

Prepare for the worst case scenario
Pack your make-up case in the event that you end up crying in the upstairs bathroom.

Have an exit strategy
Should the urge to bail become overwhelming, some good excuses include: needing to do an airport run, pet sitting duties, or attending another event scheduled on the same day. In my case, it happened to be true; I left Co-worker's baby shower to attend a first birthday party for another friend's baby.

11 comments:

  1. Great tips! Baby showers are hard. As I go through IVF, I have given myself permission to not attend any more of them.

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  2. I usually had to just excuse myself. Thanks for posting this for all going through it. My blog is angelheartsforever.blogspot.com if you're interested. Take care!

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  3. great tips. but for now, I am sticking to the first one" go to the beach instead

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  4. Ugh, I hate showers of all kinds. OK, not the kind that make you clean, but you know what I mean. Great tips!

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  5. Good tips! I have tortured myself by going to a few baby showers in the past year, and I think these are all good points. Currently, my exit strategy is not to enter ;)

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  6. You left a baby shower to attend a 1st birthday party? You are a hero in my mind, for sure. Loved this post. So relatable, unfortunately.

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  7. You are such a rebel! I laughed about the part of you skipping out on the bridal shower for the beach and that you have held that secret to this day! Haha! You are right, nobody really likes those showers, but they usually are obligatory.

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  8. Baby showers can be particularly difficult for infertile couples. It's a blatant display of what you want and what has been so elusive for you. Here are the Mine to Command tips for surviving a baby shower.
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  9. Having an exit strategy is very important which very few people care about. My cousin hosted her baby shower at one of local Chicago event venues without caring about her guests and many told her about it. She later realized the importance of organizing things correctly!

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