Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why I Hate Baby Showers

Ooh, such a horrible title, isn't it?  I will explain, I promise.  It all started years ago.  Having to go to a few baby showers in my 20's.  Then you figure it's my turn.  Nope, not yet.  I realized shortly my turn may never come due to infertility.  Hard pill to swallow for those who haven't been there.  You dread every single baby shower you're invited to.  Some, I even found excuses not to go.  I'd send a gift but the thought of being there w/ all the happy pregnant people was just too much for me to bear.  I will forewarn you all, this is going to be one of those shoot from the hip honest posts.  Probably a little too honest at times.  Raw emotions. Anyhow, everyone would dote over a child no one had seen except in a blurry ultrasound image.

Each and every baby shower got harder and harder for me.  I played the happy friend, cousin or whatever.  I did.  And truly, I was happy for them but it was absolute torture for me.  I'd leave in the car in tears every time.  I guess it was my way of coping from holding it in for however long I could.  See, once you learn you will never ever have the opportunity to have a baby, you must mourn that loss some time.  Even if no one knows or no one understands.  The longing will never go away.  Yes, it will ease, but it will never truly leave your mind.

I wanted to defy doctors.  At one point, even started thinking if I could prepare for a baby, I"ll be ready.  I'll be a good parent, I promise.  Bought little clothes here and there.  Guess it was a way to keep a dream alive.  Knowing deep down, it could never be.  Yet, despite feeling this way, I'd always try to celebrate with those who were having babies.  Share in their joy and their excitement.

Time passes and you make other plans.  In the back of your mind though, always hoping and praying that one day, that baby shower would be your baby shower.  So, plans come along and it IS your turn.  However, it's a little different.  You have decided to adopt and share it with the world. You know, like every other "pregnant" person would do.  You though do not have people offering to give you a baby shower or anything of that nature.  No.  Not sure if it is because people are afraid or if they really don't think you need one.  To you though, it's NOT about the gifts.  Not a bit.  It's about friends and family coming together to let you know just how happy they are for your future additions.  This is typically when the first punch in the gut comes from for the adoptive parent.  Secretly, you are hoping for a shower despite not saying it out loud.

Now, some of you lucky ones out there may just indeed get a baby shower for your adoptive child.  With our first two kids, we did!  From our work places. And it was SO needed.  Needed for the compassion, love, and friendships that you had.  Was wonderful to know that people cared about you and your future children.  See, our first two were not glistening babies.  Irina and Max were 6 and 4 at the time.  Wore size 18 month clothes and 2T.  Shower gifts included all kinds of things from toys to gift certs to even a swing set!  People were genuinely happy our "babies" were coming home.  A sweet co-worker even gave me all her daughter's clothes.  Very helpful for those of us spending every cent on an adoption.  But it was more than that.  It was seeing those people smile for us, for our kids.  our kids were at the party!  Just a joyous time.  It meant they cared about the kids and us.

Now, over the years I've gone to quite a few baby showers.  Multiple showers to for children over the years.  Meaning one family had a shower, few years later, another shower.  Adoptive families will not get two showers.  They will be lucky to get one. ( I was lucky)  It hurts.  I"m going to be honest.  It hurts.  You want to celebrate your kids' homecoming.  You want the world to know.  For one set of kids, I sent out adoption announcements.  I just wanted to share with the world.  I think that is part of the baby shower to begin with....to share with the world your love of your children.  It's hard for me over the years to look back at folders with kids things in it.  I don't show it to the kids. I know some would have broken hearts thinking that people did not show the same kind of love that they did with our first two kids.  I'm talking not even a congratulations card.  I guess a part of me hurts for them.  What do you say to your kids when they're older?  I am fortunate that this last set of adoptions, we received some cards from people across the nation.  Fellow adoptive families mostly to show support and love.  I know some I never ever got to say thank you to.  It really does mean more than you know.

I have saved every single thing I've gotten in support of our adoptions.  Even those written on notebook paper.   It has meaning.  It has heart.  It has love and faith.  And to me, those are important things to pass onto my kids.  I know my kids will have questions.  I do.  I do not know yet what I'm going to tell all of them.  I do know I will be honest with them.  A few weekends ago, I received this from one of my cousins:


To us, it meant so much.  Congratulating us on the newest 3 additions.  I know they are kids 8, 9 and 10 in number.  However, no matter what number child it is, they are NO LESS significant than your first child.  Those of you who have multiple children know the first one is just as big as the last one.  I wanted to thank Angie and family for doing this.  I know she doesn't think it's a big deal but I sure do.  It was given with love and heart and that means so much to us.   It helps to teach our kids something.  

I'm not sure how this post will come off to some.  I'm not saying people should go out and buy adoptive families a gift.  That's not it.  But maybe just a card or a note to say you care or welcome home and welcome to the family would be nice.  It's the little things that mean the most to people.  It's the gesture of love.   Those who are relatives of adoptive parents, please consider giving your new relative a welcome home party or a baby/ kid shower.  It means the world to the parents.  It makes them feel just as special as other relatives who have had a shower in their honor.  Take them out to lunch or offer to watch their new one/s for an afternoon out.  Send them gas cards for future medical trips.  Adoptive parents coming home w/ kids have many more medical appointments than most new parents would.  Lots of catching up to do and specialists to see.  Go with them on one of these appointments.  Offer support. It does not have to be monetary.  A good hug or phone call can do wonders for folks.  If their kids need surgery, call and check in on them.  Visit them in the hospital if you can.  Treat them as you would any other relative with a new child.  Baby shower and all.  I bet after this I never get invited to another shower again.  LOL.  I do love going though.  Especially now.  My babies are home.  PS.  I don't really hate showers. 

3 comments:

  1. From Stephanie Durnin

    Stephanie,
    You hit the nail on the head!! It was if I was reading my very own feelings written down. Baby showers used to send me into an absolute tailspin and I would useless all weekend. It's such a conflicting emotional event for us isn't it? You are so happy for those celebrating but it's so hard emotionally to get through. I had to even start telling my pregnant friends to forgive me if I disappeared for a couple of months at the end of their pregnancy. Emotionally, I just couldn't be around a pregnant woman without falling into a puddle of tears.

    We adopted our first daughter and we were blessed to be given a shower by our family. It was such a show of love and support. I always cherish those memories of everyone sitting around being giddy about her arrival.

    Thanks for posting this about baby showers though. I have a feeling lots of us have the exact same feelings on the topic and it's something that others need to be made aware.

    Hugs and congratulations on your 3 new Boyd family additions.

    From Louisiana

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  2. Thank you for this post. There are those among us who elevate shared DNA to a status unattainable via adoption.
    It is a type of self worship to practice *partiality* to those who gratify merely by resembling other family members. (I'm talking about Grandparents and others favoring the child that looks like themselves or their other children) How shallow is that? What kind of message does that send? Actions speak louder than words. Yeah, they would *say* they are loved equally. Just not in time, energy, being there or monetary ways.
    The favoritism is flagrant, unchecked and ever-present. (The constant discussions of who resembles whom etc etc etc.)
    There are two invitations on my counter at this moment....Funny how distant family who didn't express themselves in support for us, expect us to make show for them.
    I will spend every day of my life celebrating the lives of my precious children, who, by the way, look like their Father.

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  3. "I'm not saying people should go out and buy adoptive families a gift. That's not it. But maybe just a card or a note to say you care or welcome home and welcome to the family would be nice. It's the little things that mean the most to people..."

    Hi Stephanie,
    I'm just wondering why 'just a card' be the standard for an adoptive family, when a bio family would be deemed in position to receive extended kindnesses? (meals, gifts, help with the other children so mom can bond with baby, etc.)
    I would challenge everyone, especially adoptive families, to show support for Family, by extending whatever hospitality you would typically extend, to anyone being blessed by expansion of their family, however it was expanded. At the end of the day, blessing each other is based on love, not if the new *family* has increased because of birthing a baby, or through the miracle of adoption. Right? Thank you for posting about this topic.

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