Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I really don't want a baby shower.

The idea has literally reduced me to tears on more than one occasion.

I loathe opening presents and I really don't like being the center of attention. Being touched? Ugh. When I first went home with P for Christmas, one of my biggest fears was that they did the open a present one person at a time while everyone watches thing (they didn't.) Serious panic.

The people closest to me know this and though they think I'm crazy (and I'm not arguing) they generally indulge this quirk and mostly try not to make a big deal about it.

For weeks now, I've been laying the groundwork for commenting on not having a shower (and not in the way you do as a hint that you want someone to throw one for you!) to P and he has seemed fine with it. I didn't have a bridal shower (though a lot of that has to do with the fact that we had a very short engagement) and I don't feel that I missed out in the least. It's just not a tradition that's for me. We have no family or friends nearby. With everyone so spread out, I figured this was an issue that we'd be able to avoid fairly easily.

Obviously not. My MIL wants to give me a shower. And P did not immediately tell her that I'd rather not, which has put me in a very unpleasant position. I'm not close to MIL. We're not enemies or anything, we've just never spent much time together. She doesn't know me well either, and the reason behind the gift panic thing is long, dramatic, and complex. I don't want to try to explain it to her. My own mom barely gets it.

Speaking of my own mom, she thinks it's a lovely thing and I should just agree to it. It's not about me after all. When she told me this I took a shower and cried. I know it's not about me. But it is.

I actually have a secondary reason for not wanting a shower. Even if I really wanted it, literally none of my friends would be able to attend. None of my family would be there. It would be a couple of P's female family members and a few family friends that I've never met. It feels sad. Something that's supposed to be such a celebration shouldn't feel that way. And I would be sad not to have the people I love best there too (yes, even if I didn't want to have the shower in the first place. And I'd never want to exclude P or any other guys. I suffer, he suffers. Or I just want to be inclusive. Either way.)

I just don't want to do this. I never have. I know these are my issues and that they probably seem petty and ridiculous to some people. Who doesn't like presents? I hate letting people down and I know I will be doing just that.

I'm kind of waiting for someone to tell me that it's ok for me to feel this way, even if they don't personally understand. So far I'm alone.


Angie said...

It is okay to feel this way. It seems like you're in a real touch position. If there was someway to just have a party, and not have to open the presents in front of everyone, would that be better?

twirl said...

honestly... I doubt it. The party thing is just too much. I've considered a very very low-key garhering after the baby is born, but I'm hesitant to bring it up until I'm sure I'm really ok with it.

Cat, Galloping said...

why can't you just be honest and thank her for her generosity but tell her that you'd rather not? or you could convert to judaism quickly, because jews don't have showers.

i personally did not want one because i didn't want to force people to buy me things, and i hate how everyone talks about showers as an opportunity to get things. don't get me wrong-- i LOVE presents. i was just a lot more comfortable with people sending gifts after Gatito was born because they *wanted* to, not because i'd served them some cake.

Furrow said...

I have many of the same issues that you do. I hate the whole process of opening presents in front of everyone, but in my circle, it's always done that way. Luckily, in my MIL's circle, they open them for you and set them out on display. The guest of honor just walks around and looks at them. Saves her from having to make a huge fuss over breast pads. I DID NOT want three baby showers and tried to put the kibosh on one of them, but it didn't work.

I also hate clutter, hate waste, and hate forced gift giving, but truly, no one else seems to feel that way, and they seem offended if you don't want a party. I've gotten used to it, and am actually looking forward to mine now, but I do REALLY understand.

Don't know how you can get out of it gracefully. Good luck.

twirl said...

thank you all!

there are so many issues surrounding this for me. gifts, money, attention, infertility, hope, fear... and all of it is compounded by hormones.

i'm very grateful that you're all out there, even if you're living in my laptop.

Carol said...

I think it's ok to feel this way. It's your pregnancy. You have every right to just say you don't want it. Just say it. Thank her for her generosity, but tell her it's just not your style. You can explain your reasons to her if you want - or not. You don't have to explain. You can just decline.

Maybe she can take you out for a pedicure and a nice lunch - if she really wants to do something nice for you.

You'll send announcements after the baby is born, and if people want to then they can send you a present at that time.

Heather said...

No, you aren't alone. We had a very private wedding (as in his mom and my parents) and we pissed off a lot of people (my grandparents especially) but I didn't want to be in front of everyone.

At my college graduation, we all went to dinner to celebrate afterwards. I sneaked out of the restaurant and went home after about five minutes. My mother was furious but my dad understood.

I hate, hate, hate being the center of attention.

Irish Girl said...

Hi! It's me! Living in your laptop to tell you whatever you are feeling and wanting is OK!

Listen: Don't have the shower if you don't want one. Period. Have P tell the MIL (technically it's his job anyway!) it's a no-go.

Besides, I completely understand your not wanting one. We never had a bridal shower either and I was relieved. Also relieved I didn't have to do the whole big-wedding thing again. No thanks. I'll just be happy by myself over here in the corner with my husband instead.

And. It is about you at this point.

You need me to whoop some in-law ass? I'm willing (and can be surprisingly diplomatic!)

LJ said...

I agree with everyone else who says you are not alone, I have a friend who didn't even deal with IF who adamantly told us NO SHOWER. Totally normal.

But I know families. MILs are a tough sort to tell no to sometimes. IF she won't back down, try this idea, if you are comfortable: A barbeque. No gifts on the invitation (or don't open them during the bbq) and no shower games. It's just a summer get together, and you will not be the focus, but mom gets HER party. Just assvice, so if it sucks, no worries. You need to be good to you first.

Sarah said...

i'm the same way. HIGHLY uncomfortable with the whole idea. but my sister is so excited about throwing it and since we're both sad about her recently moving away i kind of like that part of it. i think i'm getting more comfortable with the idea as time moves on. i'm sort of wanting to feel more like a normal pregnant person these days and not so much like some special infertile case. but in your situation, feeling like none of the people closest to me could be there, i would be miserable. no idea what a good solution would be, but i hope you work something out that makes everyone happy (yes i know that's toomucht o ask for but i still hope!).

Karen said...

I was going to mention the converting to Judaism thing too! We don't have showers. Tell your MIL that you're superstitious and you're afraid that if you have a shower, you'll be inviting trouble.

Or just be honest, tell her you're not comfortable having a shower, that you don't like being the center of attention, and that you love, love, love that she was so thoughtful (you can lie a little, right?), but that you just can't handle the pressure right now. After all, if she thinks you're being bitchy, you can always blame pregnancy hormones later.