Feeling Sour about a Baby Shower

I’m not having a baby shower in the traditional sense. I just can’t. My wonderful friend Rebecca was going to throw me one, which is such a selfless and amazing act it brought tears to my eyes, but when she asked me to send her a guest list, I took a few days to figure out who to invite, panicked a little, and realized that I’d rather eat a live scorpion than go through with it. I felt like an ungrateful hag, but I knew that, being the intuitive soul she is, Rebecca would understand if I could articulate myself.

Why do I not want to have a baby shower? 

Well first off, I don’t feel comfortable asking for gifts, which is what a baby shower is actually all about. And yes, I know the gifts are for the babies. And yes, of course we could use them. But the babies are coming because of me, and I remember that episode of Sex and the City called “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” in which Carrie calculates all the money she has spent buying people gifts to celebrate their life choices, and you know what? I just didn’t want to be part of that problem. If I send you an invite, you’re going to feel obligated to come, or at least to send me a gift, and if you don’t do either of those things, you might feel guilty, even if you don’t want to come, or don’t have money for a gift. But also, if I send you an invite, I’m going to feel guilty, because I haven’t actually hung out with you in months, and now I’m asking you for a donation of your money and/or time? Maybe I’m overthinking this…but I hate feeling like I’m getting something for nothing. I want to contribute. When we lived in a house in Malibu, I loved to have dinner parties where people came and just ate our food and drank our drinks. It was a gesture that said, “I love you and want you to have a good time.” I feel like a baby shower is the opposite: “I invite you to love me and take care of me!”

And if I were to “contribute” to my baby shower what would that look like? Well, I’d feel obligated to make sure every person who donated their time and money to me understood how much I appreciated it. Therefore, I’d need to make sure they are getting enough food and champagne and attention from me that they feel special. But if there are more than four people around, there’s no way to actually make everyone feel special. You can’t do more than make small talk around that many people. And I loathe small talk. I want to talk about things that matter, not fake-smile and nod and answer the same question over and over again about whether or not twins run in my family (I AM ADOPTED! AND TWINS ARE NOT ALWAYS GENETIC! STOP ASKING!). Moreover, champagne costs money, and I don’t want my beloved friend who is hosting to have to cough up the amount of money it would cost to provide all my guests enough champagne to enjoy a baby shower. From what I’ve heard, everyone hates baby showers. I’ve enjoyed them in my day, but that’s because there was lots of champagne. And I can barely afford my own life and the two new ones on the way, so champagne is not in my budget. Not to mention, I would be expected to make all this mind-numbing small talk with tipsy people while sober. Meaning, I am not going to have any fun at all. I am going to be a person who is worried about everyone else’s good time, feeling guilty for getting these gifts and putting my friend out, and I am not even going to have a buzz going.

Lastly, baby showers have traditionally been only for females. That grosses me out. Half my friends are men, and I’d feel awkward only inviting the female halves of couples Kai and I have always hung out with together. So there’s the co-ed baby shower idea. But Kai hated that idea, didn’t want to come, and didn’t want us to invite the man friends. So that cuts down my guest list significantly and makes the interactions more awkward and forced. Not to mention, we just got married, so most of the people we’d invite would have just attended our wedding (another of our life choices they must celebrate), and that just makes me feel even more guilty, like a person who thinks we should have a monthly party celebrating me. If I were back home in Kentucky, this would be slightly different, because I could invite a bunch of family who would be happy to come and be bored and give me gifts. But I’m in LA where people must choose between lazy brunch or an awesome movie premiere or day at the beach…or my baby shower.

In the end, I had to tell my precious friend that I’d rather just hang out with her alone, as the prospect of a shower stressed me out beyond belief. I was 100% honest. She understood.

The alternative to a real baby shower?

My cousin Loree threw us an “online baby shower” where my registry is attached to a Facebook page. That’s something I could stomach, because then people can come and go anonymously and only send things to the babies if they actually feel like it. I made a registry on this place called Babylist where whomever feels moved to get us a gift can do so from any online or brick-and-mortar venue they want and then just click “purchased” and have it sent to us. Or heck, if they already have the item from when they had a baby, they can just send us their used version, which I’d rather have anyway, so I’m not one of the consumers contributing to this absurd baby racket in which so much money is being wasted on things that are pointless or only useful for a couple of months.

Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon, but that’s me. I like fun that costs nothing and is genuine and egalitarian and coed and lazy.

 

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