Friday, February 10, 2012

Baby Shower blues

When I announced my pregnancy a couple of months ago, two friends generously volunteered to throw me a baby shower. I was told all I have to do is pick a date and supply a list of names (+addresses). 

Well, not so easy. 

Both these friends live in small apartments, so then the shower was going to be at my house (great, I get to clean!!? Thanks!). Then the parade of questions: "What colors do you like? Do you want a theme? what type of food should we have?"

I thought as the mom-to-be I was just supposed to show up, smile a lot and leave (with lots of loot and good memories). 

Fast forward to last Wednesday, during our couples counseling (yes, we are still going) Mr. Jem and I are talking about the shower and how he wants his mother there - I agree, but we live in a smallish house and my mom will be there,too. How do we make this work?

At that session I came to a sudden and tearful revelation. 

I don't want a baby shower. 

I never wanted a shower, but had only bowed to social pressure. In fact Jewish tradition (superstition?) is that you have a party once the baby arrives - for the bris or circumcision if it's a boy, or for the baby naming (Hebrew name) if it's a girl.

On a deeper level, there's still part of me (about 5%) that is still skeptical that we'll have a real, take-home baby. Given that it's taken us over two years to get to this point (I know, not that long if the IF community, but you know what I mean), I know first hand that much can and could go wrong. Despite the fact that I've had a relatively easy pregnancy (ha! pg isn't easy, but my experience has been easier than most), there's a little voice in my head that is listing everything that could go wrong. (Of course the other 95% of me loves being pregnant, loves the attention that I get being pregnant, feels filled with love and is all glow-y and shit.)

I also remember dreading and reluctantly going to baby showers and just couldn't see myself having one for me. The shower was scheduled for Sat, March 10th, which is the during my last month of work.

I was dreading my own shower, folks. Not good.

So I said, "No. The invites haven't gone out yet, so let's just cancel." Mr. Jem agreed.

The new plan is to throw a party AFTER the baby comes to introduce her to family and friends. It will be in May or June (with the help of those friends who volunteered for the shower). I'm even thinking of having it catered by my favorite Mexican restaurant, so it's super easy.
That way the WHOLE family can be there (I can organize the comings and goings of the mothers) and I won't feel stressed.

Hugh sigh of relief.

Of course I really need to deal with these feelings of doom and gloom and disbelief about actually taking home a baby. I much rather do that here on this blog, with my own therapist, or talking to Mr. Jem. It's all been rather overwhelming. The pressure of a shower wasn't helping, either.


Next post: Childbirth classes (oh, my!).


JNS said...

I completely understand. I went through 3.5 years of IF hell before finally giving birth, and until the healthy baby was placed in my arms I didn't really believe that I would have one. Hang in there . . . we all understand and I think your party idea sounds great!

TeeJay said...

If I get so lucky as to get pg, I'm actually leaning towards a meet the baby party, too. Most of my family is out of state and can't make 2 trips so it makes more sense to wait and do all the visiting afterward. Plus, baby will be able to be passed around and adored while I am opening gifts and boring everyone to tears. :-) I don't think there is anyone in IF-land that can blame you for being afraid. The web has provided enough doom and gloom stories to last ten lifetimes. Just take it a day or week at a time. The closer you get hopefully the safer you will feel.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I totally understand. I had a small shower with a few people from work, but everything else was after Ginny arrived. We didn't do anything formal, but I really wasn't terribly comfortable with the idea of a shower either. I felt like I should want one, but I was just so self conscious about the whole thing.

And as for not really believing that it is real, and that everything is okay... that doesn't go away. At least for me it hasn't. If Ginny sleeps extra long I start to get anxious about her (but the little stinker is a light sleeper and I don't want to risk waking her by checking on her). And when I hit 24 weeks this time around, I felt that slight lifting of worry... I had gotten to the point of viability.

IF changes our perspectives so much. It colours everything.

Rebecca said...

I totally understand. As much as I love this pregnancy and love being pregnant, I still don't really want other people to talk about it, do anything about it, etc. Friends have started making me things. It makes me nervous. Someone talked about a shower. And, as much as I could use the loot, I just don't want to jinx it.

I can't get rid of the fear that something is still out there waiting to take it all away. I think we just know too much at this point. It's so hard not to think of the worsts.

And, also, ick to having to essentially host it yourself!! That doesn't sound fun at all.

I like the idea of an "after the baby is here" party.

Kristina said...

I admire that you were able to come to that revelation and adjust your plans. So often we just forge ahead despite our feelings. It makes sense what you say. Glad you have support to process stuff. Sending good thoughts.

TurtleMama said...

Good for you! I've never been a huge baby shower fan myself. My cousin offered to organize one. It's going to be a small gathering as my friends are scattered around the country. It makes me nervous to think about it.
Down here, we have alot of "Sip and See's" parties - Drink a little wine and look at the new baby. They are fun and more laid back. The gifts are not the center of attention but the baby is:)

MyTwoLines said...

I'm glad you figured out what you need to make you happy! Hooray for after birth celebrations!

Krista said...

Its all about YOU Jem....if you are most comfortable doing a party afterward...I that! We had my shower at my house and it was definitely more stressful than I would have liked. Also.....the baby DOES eventually come!! Take it from me......I had those exact feelings until the moment I heard them cry!! The baby does eventually come......I promise!!! :-)

cutey-patootie said...

good for you. its your baby and your shower you should do exactly what you want. if you dont want anything then you should have never been pressured into it. i am so glad you stood up for yourself. you will be so much happier and more relaxed once the baby is here. i cant wait to hear about the festivities and hear her hebrew name. i dont know much about jewish stuff but it sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to introduce her to everyone!

Poppet said...

1) Lots of moms to be (including non-IVFers) fear the worst. It's a natural fear because - it's rare - but not impossible that something goes wrong.

2) There are lots of cultures that don't have baby showers. I had a baby in a country where you don't give gifts until the baby is born (superstition? culture? tradition?). People show up in the hospital and during visiting hours only. Then they come to your house once you come home with gifts in hand.

3) Part of the idea behind a baby shower was to help young couples/moms whoever collect what they need for a baby. It sounds as though you are already taking care of much of that yourself. One of the biggest benefits of having a baby when you are more established (my mom was 2 years older than you when I was born) is that you are a bit more financially stable. One of the point of showers is to help moms establish what they need for a baby.

It's your pregnancy and your life. If you aren't up to a shower, don't sweat it. If you are - well then enjoy it. Your friends can come and clean your place or hire a service.


Anonymous said...

Im sorta with you!! Add in the face I don't like being the center of attention, it makes for an uncomfortable situation. You do what YOU want to do and makes you happy. :)

Rebecca said...

I knew I was jinxing myself -- three hours after posting a comment on this post, I was accosted by a friend who said she was designated as the one to throw me a shower. She originally wanted to do it while my mother is visiting -- in 3 weeks!! At 24 weeks! Um, talk about making me nervous. I convinced her to at least put it off for a while... blah. It's so sweet but still way scary.

Mo and Will said...

this all makes perfect sense to me. glad you came up with a plan that feels like it's a good fit for you and mr jem!



Kristen {} said...

So glad you are doing what works for you! And you are not alone in worrying that all this is not going to result in a take-home baby...I'm scared all the time about that. I think it's pretty common in people who've gone through what we've been through. Sorry you're dealing with the fear,