Baby Shower Dilemmas During Infertility
How do you feel about attending baby showers? Is it easy to celebrate people’s pregnancies? Or do you have times where you struggle? What helps you work through your triggers?
I have a baby shower in my calendar scheduled for a couple of weeks’ time. Since we are still in a partial lockdown, it’s a virtual baby shower, which will be a very interesting first time experience for me. I’ve become temperamental about baby showers in recent years. In some cases, it is easy for me to be happy and excited for someone close to me. I tend to be glad that they didn’t have to go through the hardships that I have and I feel grateful for the opportunity to share in the joy of their pregnancy. The person in this particular case is a dear friend who is expecting her first baby, so it’s been heart-warming to see just how fulfilling the experience has been for her. She was very thoughtful in the way that she shared her news with my husband and I, a level of sensitivity that I’ve not always been afforded, so I deeply appreciated the consideration. I’ve also appreciated being included in her journey, and have done my best to offer support where I can (bearing in mind that it isn’t easy to be navigating pregnancy in the midst of a global pandemic). Seeing my friends or family members journey through pregnancy and evolve into new mothers is always a learning experience for me. It opens my eyes to things that I didn’t know and makes me excited about what my own experience will be like when it eventually comes. I’m always quietly taking notes as my awareness expands. I also love being an aunt, babysitting and getting to be a fun and supportive part of a child’s life.
2. If it’s too overwhelming, I opt out. I am not always able to show up and celebrate in the way that I would like to. Remember that you don’t have to say yes to every single invitation. It is okay to say no sometimes. If you decided not to go, send your heartfelt apologies and a gift ahead of time. In my experience, most people are understanding when you let people know that you care about them and are happy for their joy even though you are unable to attend.
3. When I can’t avoid it, I take steps to help myself manage better. Sometimes there are key people in our lives who would definitely notice or feel hurt by our absence. I find it so much easier to partake in their celebrations because these people mean so much to me. However, on the rare occasion where I am feeling triggered but cannot avoid a baby shower, then I’ve found it helpful to prepare myself mentally so that the event is less overwhelming. Sometimes it means taking the focus off myself and rather focusing on making the mom-to-be feel special and loved. Sometimes it means going to the event and leaving early. It may mean anticipating questions about my fertility or making peace with the sense of being excluded from conversations about people’s experiences with pregnancy, birth or motherhood. One helpful bit of advice was to plan something fun and uplifting for myself to do before and after the baby shower so that I have something to look forward to and to eliminate my stress.