Susie has just announced that she is pregnant with her third baby and the office party planner has decided to throw her yet ANOTHER baby shower. Which, for someone who isn’t struggling with infertility or who hasn’t had a miscarriage, might just be another office event.
However, for you, it seems like torture. After trying month after month to get pregnant, going through infertility treatments, losing the baby, and starting over… What should be a joyous event becomes one riddled with pain and suffering. So how do you cope with it?
After you’ve suffered a miscarriage, been unable to get pregnant, or have had a stillbirth, the idea of buying a gift for someone else’s baby and attending a party in which the glowing, happy pregnant mom receives a bunch of baby gifts may seem impossibly hard.
Depending on where you are in your grief and your relationship with the person being honored in the shower, you may choose to opt-out or you may decide to steel yourself and attend despite your sadness. It’s a completely personal choice and will vary from person to person. There is no right answer here except doing what is best for you.
Making the Decision
If going to a baby shower would just make you miserable and you don’t think you could get through it without an emotional breakdown, don’t go. If the shower is for someone you’re not close to, simply say you have other plans that day. If it’s being held in the office during work hours, you may have to get a little more creative on the reasoning or you could just say that you have a lot of work to catch up on.
If the baby shower is for a very dear friend or close relative, it might be harder to not attend. You may choose to simply go as a gesture to support the person, but if you really feel you cannot handle going, decline. But be sure to talk to that person in advance about why you are not attending. Offer your congratulations and gift in private, but explain that you are still grieving and you’re afraid a group gathering would be too much. Any true friend/loved one would understand completely why you’re not up for a baby shower under the circumstances.
If anyone is disapproving of your lack of attendance and makes comments like “I thought you would be over that by now,” then that’s not someone who deserves your company anyway. Try not to let others’ insensitivity upset you or shame you into going.
If You Decide to Attend
You may decide to attend a baby shower anyway if the shower is for someone you feel very close to. In this case, the first step is to acknowledge to yourself how hard the event may be on you. Don’t be afraid to step away to the bathroom if you need to cry for a minute, and don’t be afraid to leave early if you can’t handle it.
Allow yourself to have a good cry
Before going to the baby shower, carve out a block of time and let yourself have a good cry so you can expel your emotions before the party. Whether you need two minutes or two hours, give yourself the time you need to regroup and emotionally prepare for the baby shower. If it helps, cry on the shoulder of a friend who’s also going to the shower so they can indirectly support you while you’re there. If for some reason you break down at the party, excuse yourself, go to the bathroom, and dry your tears. Keep in mind that the baby shower is to celebrate your friend’s new baby, and that you are not meant to steal the spotlight with your grief.
Prepare a response for when others ask about your plans for kids
If you don’t really know everyone at the baby shower, you can bet on people asking you when you’re planning on having your own children. Prepare a few responses you feel comfortable with saying just in case anyone asks, such as “Not yet, we’re still in the trying phase,” or “Actually, we’re dealing with infertility problems at the moment.” Say whatever makes you feel comfortable, then take charge of the conversation and change the subject if needed.
If you’re visibly sad, don’t try to hide the reason. People will probably think it’s less weird if you say you’re sad because you had a miscarriage recently and it still stings than if you try to make up excuses about why you’re stepping away to wipe your tears. Tell anyone who asks why you came that it is because you wanted to support your friend who is having the baby but that it’s still hard for you to be around baby-themed gatherings.
When you return home from the event, give yourself some time to recharge. Take some time for yourself to regain your bearings and unwind.
Whether you are attending the shower or not, you may feel like sending a gift along for your friend or relative’s baby. In this case, consider buying something from an online store; at least you won’t have to go into the store where every other customer is either pregnant or carrying a newborn.
If you don’t even want to browse a baby site, consider sending a gift certificate. A gift certificate is simple and doesn’t require any browsing and it is sure to be appreciated even if it’s just to buy diapers.
Avoid shopping for baby products.
When you attend a friend’s baby shower, it is generally expected that you will bring a gift to welcome the new little one into the world. Shopping for baby products can be very triggering for those who have suffered a loss or who are still waiting on their own bundle of joy, prompting them to fall headfirst back into their sadness. Instead of bringing a gift for the baby, consider purchasing a gift for the mother-to-be instead. You might want to bring her a fluffy new bathrobe, some bath salts, or a special basket filled with pampering items. Alternatively, you could also purchase a gift card to a big box store to allow the mother to do her own shopping for baby items.
Keep yourself busy at the baby shower
Take post in the kitchen and help prepare snacks and pour drinks, or put yourself in charge of organizing baby shower games. Whatever you feel like doing to keep busy will most likely be appreciated by the host, and may help distract you from experiencing any major emotional mood swings.
We cannot control what is happening in our lives or our bodies. But we can control how we respond to other people’s pregnancies. And if they’re hard for you, it’s okay to excuse yourself. If they aren’t, it’s okay to stay and celebrate. You just have to make the best decision for YOU, momma. No matter what you do, dear one, you’re doing okay. Your life is about self-preservation right now.
Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE guide 5 Steps To Increase Your Fertile Cervical Mucus & my FREE Self-Care Mini Course. You can access either one by clicking on the title. These are packed full of information that you can begin implementing today to put yourself one step closer to getting pregnant, naturally.
If you’re looking for a group of like-minded women with which to share your fertility wellness journey, be sure to check out my Whole Body Fertility & Wellness Facebook group today!
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