The baby in my belly was getting harder to hide. I'd been avoiding telling people that I was pregnant because I knew an overwhelming list of questions would follow: Are you having a boy or a girl? How many kids do you want in total? Do you want a baby shower? I didn't really have an answer for any of these. My husband and I didn't know the sex of the baby, I wasn't thinking beyond this pregnancy, and I didn't know how to answer the last question. My family had a tradition of not doing baby showers, but now I wondered if I'd be the first to break it.
My baby and I didn't worry about party planning or playing Pin the Tail on the Pregnant Mom. We just belonged to one another, and I loved it.
Our family tradition of not doing baby showers had been upheld by more than a dozen of my pregnant relatives for decades. Now it was my turn. It's true, I was the type of shy girl who'd been known to read a good book during a rockin' party, so I wasn't opposed to skipping the tradition of this baby shindig. But I still wondered what it would be like to be the first pregnant woman in my family to have one.
I'd been to dozens of showers for my pregnant friends, and all those events had been true rite-of-passage moments. Each mother was honored (as she should be) for her efforts as a pregnant lady. For me, being pregnant included a great deal of shuffling to the bathroom every 7.8 seconds while trying to get my giant-size clown feet to cooperate. The larger my tummy became, the more I felt a little honoring was in order. A baby shower would be a supergreat way to achieve that.
"So, are you going to want a baby shower?" my mother asked again.
I needed to give an answer, but I wasn't sure. In my quieter moments, I'd think about my family. My mother didn't have a baby shower. It was just the two of us celebrating quietly together while I was in her belly. And then I entered the world. You see, the real reason our family doesn't have baby showers is because our custom is to wait until the baby is actually born. We wait and celebrate the miracle of birth. I wasn't sure I wanted to be the first woman to break with an age-old custom that tied me back to my mother, my grandmother, and generations of my family tree. This ritual was started long ago, and I was feeling more and more like I needed to be connected to it.
In the end, I chose not to have the baby shower. It was the best choice I could have made for myself, because my pregnancy felt all the more intimate for it. My baby and I didn't worry about party planning or playing Pin the Tail on the Pregnant Mom. We just belonged to one another, and I loved it.
Once my son was born, my family celebrated his birth like they had for generations. Close friends even showed up bearing lovely and helpful gifts. And even though I never had an official baby shower, I was still showered with love. What started out as a tradition became my choice, and I chose correctly.