When my husband and I were approached for the first time and asked if we were having a baby shower, we said no. Although we both love babies and baby showers, it felt weird to plan our own.
When we were approached by family members and were told that a shower was being organised for us, we felt both excited about bringing our closest friends together and celebrating the new life about to come into this world and a little weird to be making a fuss about our own selves.
A Baby Shower is Not About the Parents
But then we realised that we were letting our egos speak up and make the shower about us. Because ultimately it’s not at all about us—it’s about introducing, in a way, the baby to the community. It’s about building the baby’s relationship with it’s aunties, uncles, and cousins. And it’s about starting to adjust our relationships as we embark on this journey that is parenting.
When approached that way, planning for the shower took on a whole new turn. We were lucky that the organizers were on board with this idea of a shower. One of the things we decided to do was to make the organization as inclusive as possible, although it’s tougher to manage people than to just do things on our own. But everyone who was approached was really happy and eager to contribute, and some went totally beyond what any of us expected.
Another thing we tried to do was to make the shower co-ed. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out too well—mostly because so many of the men already had plans, including child-related duties. But each of them loved the idea and although I can’t say what, there might be a daddy-centric something or other coming up at some point in the close future (my husband does actually help me with these posts and reads my blog, so I’ll leave it at that!)
The Role of Gifts
One thing we did was to insist that gifts were optional and that we would welcome second-hand items, since many of our friends have children who have just passed the initial zero to six-month stage. It was really sweet though—everyone still brought gifts and the only second-hand item we got is a beautiful, vintage outfit with sentimental value—basically something that is not really what we had in mind when we mentioned “second-hand”. I think this reflects a couple of things. For one, shopping for babies is fun! Also, there is something special about a first child, and there is something special about buying it something new. But most importantly, I think that buying something new for a baby shower is, culturally (for now), a way to show love.
We decided to make handmade thank you cards before the baby shower with a special homemade chocolate-orange-rice puff bark we are known for. It was something small that we really wanted to do to give to our friends as they left the shower. I think it took a lot of people by surprise to receive something. It was our symbol of appreciation and love, and I think that, most importantly, it helps people remember that we do, indeed, appreciate them.
So what lessons have we learned about community-building and baby showers? Not many, to be honest! But sometimes it’s not about learning a lot. Sometimes it’s about planting seeds and I have a feeling that perhaps a baby shower is just about that: planting the seed of contributing to the strengthening of a community through the introduction of a new member.
Check out the sunshine dappled inspiration for our baby shower on this dedicated Pinterest board!
Since I don’t know yet how to put a download link on the blog, email me if you are interested in the printables that were created for the shower, which you can spot on this Instagram picture I posted. I have generic ones available for immediate emailing, or can make you a personalised one upon request!