Monday, February 14, 2011

Let the Season of Royal Balls Begin...


I have three friends who are due to give birth in April, May, and June, respectively.  My sister-in-law's due date is July 4th.  That means the season of baby showers is upon me.  I’ve known it was coming and have, at times, stressed about where I would be at in my journey when the time came.  I LOVE parties…any excuse for one will do.  But, when you are dealing with infertility, you stop looking forward to baby showers. 

Most of the aforementioned pregnant friends are fertility friends.  We’ve discussed baby shower etiquette when they were on the other side of the infertility aisle (pre-preggers).  Still, I’ve been worrying that the excitement of pregnancy would cause my friends to forget how they felt in the situation that I now find myself in.  I am pleased to announce that my friends have come through for me (of course) and my fears, thus far, have gone unrealized.   Two of the three friends have called to ask if I would like to receive an invitation to their showers.  Both of those friends let me know that they would love to have me at the showers but would totally understand if I would prefer not to come, or even to forego getting an invitation in the mail.  In my personal opinion, this is really the best way for a pregnant woman to approach this issue when she knows that a friend is struggling with infertility.  The phone call says “I care about you and know what you are feeling, so I would love to have you there but if you need to sit this one out, I love you anyways.”  It also removes the element of surprise when you don’t know that a baby shower is coming.  There is nothing worse than being in the depths of despair over a failed ART or natural cycle, and getting a cutesy baby shower invitation in the mail…complete with pictures of booties and rattles. 

So far, I’ve been able to honestly tell my friends that I would like to receive an invitation.  I always add the caveat that I am not sure if I’ll be able to attend the showers, but that I hope I will.  And that is the truth, not the “grin and bear it” responses that those of us struggling with infertility sometimes have to give, so as not to create a socially awkward situation.  I’m so happy for my fertility friends who have made it through their journey, that I want to celebrate with them and help them however I can.  But I have to place emotional self-preservation above all else these days.  I’ve heard friends talk about feeling like they had to attend a shower, being filled with dread for days or even weeks before hand, and breaking down at the actual event.  I don’t want that to happen to me.  So, for me, I’m making sure that I know I have the freedom to excuse myself before or during the shower, without any hurt feelings.  If I have that freedom, I know I'll be fine. 

On Saturday, I received the first of the actual invitations.  I was a little scared opening it…as I knew what it was.  The invitation to my friend's baby shower was adorable and clever.  There was also a bookmark, requesting that guests bring a children's book to the shower, to start off the baby’s library.  What an awesome idea!  As I breathed a sigh of relief at my positive reaction to the invitation, it occurred to me that I am going to have the best baby shower ever!  If I can, I am going to attend each and every baby shower that presents itself, with the intention of stealing (or...shall we call it "procuring") all of the clever ideas from each friend’s showers and invitations, so that my baby shower will have all of the clever trappings that I would never have thought about (even a Hostess With the Mostest can't think of everything).  I know how that sounds…someone else's baby shower is not supposed to be about me.  I should be going in solely as a guest thinking about the baby that my friend is being blessed with.  But I’m a big believer that having small distractions available can make the difference between being overwhelmed by something, or being able to ignore the bad and focus on the good.  So…if all goes as planned, I’m going to be a baby shower idea thief, spending each shower celebrating my friends’ good fortunes, but also looking forward to my own.  I’m going to attend each shower, knowing that my baby is going to have the most awesome Royal Gala ever held...or at least I'm going to try.  So I say, bring on the baby showers.  I've got this!   

6 comments:

Pez said...

That is a great way to look at it. I wish I had thought of that when I had to go to 15 showers starting after I lost my twins.

I hope you get some great ideas. I love the bookmark.

Pez

Emily said...

What a fantastic outlook you have! That helps when you've got a calendar full of showers, that's for sure.

New Year Mum said...

With you on not being keen on baby showers at the moment... but sounds like you have very considerate friends :) Great thought to find the positive in going & getting ideas for your own... anything to get through it I say :) xo

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

Wow, Pez. 15! I am so sorry that you had to face that after a loss. I don't know the pain associated with an actual loss, as I only know the pain of cycles not taking at all. It might be a lot harder for me to keep my chin up under those circumstances. But I've read you blog, and you have an amazing outlook on life in general. You are an inspiration.

Emily, Thank you for your kind comment. I'm full of good ideas...implementing them is the tough part. But I have faith that I can run this gauntlet.

New Mum, Writing this post was great because it made me realize just how awesome my friends are during throughout what could be a very awkward and uncomfortable situation. The benefit of having been in a support group together, is that we've all discussed what we would want (how to fnd out about a friend's pregnancy, baby shower, etc.). I'm just so glad they have been able to remember and care about my feelings.

cgd said...

good luck to you. I am very glad to be jewish for the sole reason that we do not really traditionally do baby showers, what a relief.

China Doll said...

We don't really have baby showers in the UK either but now with being an expat and having an international bunch of friends, they seem to be more common (though have avoided them so far). Do love the bookmark/library idea though.. def stealing that one!