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Please Stop Inviting Me To Your Baby Showers

Every time I find out a friend of mine is pregnant, I feel a moment of intense happiness and sheer pain all in the same breath. “Oh my goodness,” I exclaim, the ecstatic feelings winning out. “When are you due?” And then we start gushing together and share in that intimately happy moment of knowing that within the next year, a new human will be in our inner circle and I’ll have a new little one to cuddle on my lap. And then the pain hits: that pain of knowing that I’ll never have that moment. The realization that in six or so months my dear friend is going to want me to go to their baby shower and while I will feel so exceptionally happy for them, there will be a few moments in my car before I walk in where I have to collect myself. Take some deep breaths. Maybe even work through the crying. The truth is, I am SO happy for you and your new little family, but if you could please stop inviting me to your baby showers, that would be such a relief…

baby shower cupcake

I never picture my life like this. When I was younger, a teenager even, I always pictured a huge family. A house on a hill, lace curtains in the kitchen, maybe an old iron stove and six children. I don’t know why six was the magic number, but that’s the number that I had in mind.

And then as I got a little older, it became pretty clear that medical issues were going to make it hard for me to conceive. Then when I finally did become pregnant, a devastating miscarriage left me childless once again. That was so many years ago and I’ve never again seen that magical plus sign show up on a single pregnancy test.

But back to the baby showers, because really, that’s where it all hits home.

Your baby showers are all so beautiful, you should know that. The little duckies, the pink or blue or both balloons everywhere. Baby shower punch, games, all those smiling faces of relatives who can’t wait to show you the perfect little outfit they found for your bundle of happiness. Baby carrots, baby corn, baby this and that – the sheer number of baby-named hor d’oeuvres is overwhelming.

And you. That hugely rounded belly, that glow in your cheeks, the way your eyes sparkle when you start talking about your future baby. It makes me think about what it would have been like for me.

sweet baby

I imagine it like this: I’m at your shower and I’ve got my own little one in my lap. She’s got soft brown hair, droopy eyes, and her breath smells like heaven. I’m stroking that sweet forehead and you’re telling me all about your pregnancy and all the plans you have. “Oh you just wait until she’s here,” I say, pulling my little one even closer. “It gets so much better when she’s actually here.”

Someone wants to come along and hold my baby, but she’s fussy right now. She’s just started teething and, “Sorry, maybe next time,” I say in that mom voice that we all know so well.

We’re all laughing and playing games and at some point she wakes up and is giggly and happy and you and I sit close talking about how our babies are going to grow up together and be best friends.

Only they won’t.

Because my baby dreams never came true.

I know I can adopt. I know I can become a foster mom. At some point in my future I might have a surrogate who carries my baby for me, but for now I have to tell you…sitting in that room surrounded by all those women with all their baby stories…it hurts my heart.

So while I promise to be the best auntie in the world, the best bestie, the best Mary Poppins your child has ever met after he or she is here, please do me the favor of letting me slip out of this one event. It hurts.

And it isn’t fair that it hurts, or that my pain should take away from your happiness, so let’s just not. I’ll bring something fun and quirky for your baby once they are here, but if I don’t show up to your shower know that it isn’t you – it’s me.

baby shower cake

Olga

Sunday 30th of December 2018

Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. I’m sorry about the pain of infertility you’ve gone through. I completely support you in choosing to be happy for your friends while being kind to yourself in not attending. Your true friends who love you will understand if you don’t attend. They will have plenty of close friends and family there so they will hardly notice your absence or have time for quality interaction that day. If it were me, I wouldn’t want my friend to force herself to be there knowing it’ll make her miserable! I want my friends to have a good time when I’m hosting a party (which is why I skipped a traditional shower and instead hosted an outdoor baby q for our friends and their families).

I was blessed with two healthy children so I dislike traditional baby showers for a different reason. Besides finding baby showers tacky and boring, I also find them painful. My Mom died when I was 24 and although it’s been over 10 years now, the pain of missing her is still there. Going to baby showers just reminds me of everything I’m missing out on because my Mom is gone- her throwing me a shower, watching her happily anticipate the birth of my babies and bond with each one of them, and all the advice she would’ve given and all the wonderful memories we would’ve made. I never got to have all that and though I moved on, the pain remains. So if it’s for a really close friend or relative, I will attend their shower because my genuine joy and excitement for them will far outweigh my personal sadness. But I’d its someone I’m not super close with, I send a nice gift and write a thoughtful card, and stay home with my family instead. Self care is very important, especially now that my children depend on me. Don’t be sorry about not going! Do what’s right for you and your real friends will understand. Don’t blame them for inviting you though, they don’t wanna make you feel bad (and lets be honest, they really want your present too ;)

Audrey

Wednesday 4th of April 2018

I don’t think it’s fair that friends or even relatives are having second baby showers and I haven’t af one! Like you said I’m happy but I’m not going to another one - I went to your first one bought a gift then will buy a gift for their birthday parties- it’s not fair for single people- I loved you thought of me but what I’ve done this year is be “sick” and can’t make it or “have plans” that day - but I still bought a gift and sent it - I just don’t want to go. I’m 36 call me butter but it’s hurtful unfair and I ain’t going- didn’t even go to my own brothers (second child) babyshower Sorrynotsorry

Lisa

Thursday 14th of September 2017

I could give you the biggest hug ever! I just recently found out one of my younger cousins is expecting her first child and I received an invite to the shower. It's a struggle that NO ONE understands, until it is them! From the comments of: "oh you don't have kids so you don't know this..." to "oh you'll understand one day when you have kids!" It's exhausting! And we do love our friends/family/girlfriends and WE DO share in their happiness. But the pain is REAL, and we aren't monsters for bowing out, even if they don't understand! It's like we're punished twice. At least that's how it feels to me. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing this! It helps to know that I'm not alone out here in this big vast world of women with no medical issues!

Sarah farless

Monday 22nd of May 2017

You're a very bitter woman. I've read your other article about what you can't stand parents say to their children which since you aren't a parent you have no right to judge. Just because you aren't a parent doesn't make it okay to take out your infertility issues out on other mothers. If it were you you'd want others to share in your joy and come to your shower. Maybe that's why you don't have any children you're too much of a hateful person.

La

Wednesday 15th of May 2019

You are the hateful person!!! Your poor kids!!

Speak the truth

Saturday 24th of March 2018

Have some compassion for others. Your comments are very rude. Don’t read her blog if your don’t like what she has to say.

Ayaan

Sunday 11th of March 2018

You took the words right out of my mouth. I read this and thought how bitter. Sad that someone makes others happy moments all about them. If it's really hard to go to baby showers for your own sanity may you shouldn't attend until you are in a better place.

Cmama

Monday 17th of July 2017

Wow ..you're a bitch.. As someone who has lost a child..please ..go fuck yourself.. Until you have lost a child you cannot even begin to understand the pain.. And you call her judgemental? Come back and comment when one your children had died.

Sheri R

Tuesday 18th of October 2016

Thank you for your honesty in writing. I am at that place! https://www.facebook.com/sunshineforsiblings/