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Baby Showers and Horror Stories

Updated: May 6



I have a bit of a bone to pick with this ubiquitous celebration.  If you've ever been to a baby shower, then you might already know where I am going here. You see, baby showers have three main issues: 1.) They are usually a source of pressure and stress that emphasizes materialism. 2.)  They lack actually celebrating mother and baby, and oftentimes, subsequent children don't get any sort of recognition. and... 3.) They are the place where everybody who has given birth (or not, now thinking about it) decides that what the birthing woman wants to hear is horror stories. So, to point #1-you don't need most of the shit that you think you will or that you've registered for.  Really. In those first few months, a few essentials and a mother's helper are the lifesavers.  By all means, DO ask for things from willing gift-givers, but honestly, one of the most beneficial gifts you could ask for is a birth and postpartum doula. She/he will help you find products and solutions that will work best for you!  That said, what if we had baby showers to simply celebrate this baby and this mom, as they are? Point #2-and we hear this a lot-a mother grows again and wants to celebrate her new baby. Nobody else is excited, nor do they throw a party. Baby #2, 3, 10 is "just" another baby-they don't need anything.  But if the point of the shower is to celebrate, as addressed above, then coming together to eat and give thoughtfully, should be a given.  It's a way to support the mother on her continuing journey. It says: "this baby is loved and so are you". Point #3-for the love of all things good and great, can we please stop spewing birth horror stories, and conversely, postpartum nightmares? Can we agree that yes, this may be one of the most challenging times in a person's life, but that it is also rewarding? Can we agree that every birth and postpartum period is completely different? And, can we agree that every single woman is STRONG? She can do this. YOU can do this. Instead, share your favorite moments of your birth; share how your support person uplifted you. Think before you decide to say something like:  "you'll need that epidural", "nobody gets a trophy for going natural", or "say goodbye to sleep now". These are NOT supportive. They neither add insight nor plausible solutions, and even more so, they are full of implied judgement on the capabilities of the woman. Encourage your pregnant friend, cousin, or acquaintance and let her know you are there to share in her joy and happiness, and that you will listen to her fears and concerns, rather than adding your own.

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