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Baby showers... urghhhhhhhh!

(49 Posts)
passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:13:40

I expect I might get bah-humbugged out of cyberworld if not the real world for this, but... am I the only person that squirms when invited to a 'Baby Shower' (gushed in my best New York accent)???

Am I really the only person out there that thinks baby showers are a grotesque Americanism (no offence intended to any Americans out there - you are entitled to your own culture, it works pretty well in America!)?

Surely, I am not alone in resenting yet another imported celebration of consumerism. Doesn't anyone else feel a bit abused when the invitation comes through, listing what should be purchased for the forthcoming arrival, when it should be handed over and accompanied by which food stuffs that will contribute to the party event in honour of as-yet-unborn-infant.

I love to buy my friends' new babies gifts when they arrive in the world. Waiting to hear whether the newborn is a boy or a girl and then seeking out something special that might be appreciated by baby or parents or both is loads of fun. A baby shower shopping list, however, is brash, unromantic and rather insulting. Or is it just me?....

justkeepingheadabovewater Tue 02-Aug-11 20:18:07

My 'baby shower' involved tea and cakes, some balloons, and a lovely few hours with good friends. They all knew how long and difficult it had been for us to have a baby, and wanted to celebrate with me. It was lovely.
There were no presents at the party, they all waited till I had DS home from hospital.
I realise there are extremes, I have read of several 'fright-mares' on here, but in my case it was a great surprise, that made me feel loved and cared for. smile

Lizcat Tue 02-Aug-11 20:19:57

Never been invited to one hmm.

passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:21:05

That's a much nicer approach. And waiting until the baby is born with no shopping list issued sounds genuine. I wouldn't feel irked about an invitation to that.

passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:23:45

Ahhh.. bless you. That also makes me feel a little bit warmer! Perhaps it isn't the epidemic I fear!

sancerrre Tue 02-Aug-11 20:24:08

Yep, it's bollocks. Presents should wait till the baby's been born.

EuphemiaMcGonagall Tue 02-Aug-11 20:24:46

Never been invited to one either. Mind you, I haven't been invited to a wedding for more than 10 years either! grin

itisnearlysummer Tue 02-Aug-11 20:27:33

Very presumptuous to expect presents. Let alone specify what you want!

I got quite a few 'practical' gifts when I was pregnant with/had given birth to DS. By the time I had DD I got none because everyone assumed I had everything from the first time round. Which I didn't really because it was 7.5years and a house move later!

But I certainly wouldn't have issued a list wedding style.

Never been invited to one and not sure I'd go. I like the sound of yours though justkeeping.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 02-Aug-11 20:28:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LemonDifficult Tue 02-Aug-11 20:32:04

I've never been invited to one but would definitely go (and take pressie) if I was. Why not?

When I was pregnant I loved doing anything to do with planning the arrival of the baby, but none of my friends were pregnant or even in the maybe-baby zone, so DH and I just had to chat about it amongst ourselves. I'd have loved a baby party, and I'm happy to go along with anyone else's and make them feel special. It's fine.

If you don't like it don't go, but it's all just part of being a friend isn't it?

MadamDeathstare Tue 02-Aug-11 20:34:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TattyDevine Tue 02-Aug-11 20:35:18

They are, apparently, not compulsory...

passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:35:46

I used 'grotesque' because I think it is ugly and I absolutely intended to convey my passion about that. I am not debating the merits or otherwise of any culture, but making a comment about the importing of what might be seen as one cultural expression into a different culture. And I do think lists and expectations are ugly and obvious and they don't sit comfortably with what I feel is the culture that I have grown up in. I think I might be on the extremes in my opinion, which doesn't bother me but I am interested to see to what extent contributors here confirm that.

MadamDeathstare Tue 02-Aug-11 20:35:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Tue 02-Aug-11 20:36:15

Never been to one. I do like the idea of a nice party before the baby is born with lots of friends together, as that's impossible when the baby is born, but I don't like the gift list element. I'd also rather buy something for the baby after it was born than before. I don't buy from wedding lists either though as a general rule. WRT baby gifts - I think it's the parents/grandparents job to buy things like breast pumps and car seats, friends buy lovely little outfits and cashmere booties IMO.

passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:38:57

Thank you for that response. I really like learning about the history of where it came from and why. And setting up for a first baby when people were in real need, without lists, sounds lovely. It doesn't quite translate in the instance that I am thinking about but I really enjoyed hearing from you that introduction. Thanks. (P.S. I also did not have a wedding gift list for similar convictions).

passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:41:04

LOL. I haven't been on here for halloween comments previously, I shall make a note!

MadamDeathstare Tue 02-Aug-11 20:41:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YouDoTheMath Tue 02-Aug-11 20:42:28

I can't stand them either.

Usually it's flattering to receive an invitation - but somehow when a baby shower invitation lands on the doormat, I get that sinking feeling...

I'm leaving the Americans out of the rant - it's part of their culture, has been for years, and they often live much further from their families than we do over here, etc etc. That's not a generalisation that we in the UK all live up the road from our parents, but it IS part of the US way of life.

I love buying baby presents, but I don't like feeling like I'm being ASKED to do it. It just feels like the recipient expects the present, rather than appreciates it.

I have a friend who's had a baby shower for each of her three children, plus expects presents on birth, and then further presents at their Christenings. And she always puts a note on the invites to the BS/christening to say she doesn't want toys or clothes, as they have enough stuff - but would appreciate money/vouchers. Her friendship is starting to feel like another tax on our family and needless to say since Baby 2, I've been making my excuses!

babybarrister Tue 02-Aug-11 20:44:01

babylists much more prevalent in USA though ....

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 02-Aug-11 20:45:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Baby2b Tue 02-Aug-11 20:45:57

My amazing work colleagues surprised me with an afternoon tea before I went on maternity leave. We had a lovely afternoon together and I was given little gifts e.g. Wrist rattle, books etc. Really unexpected and very generous of them.

However, I have been invited to a baby shower that was run like a military operation. I had already bought my friend a lovely gift, but then received an email dictating that I take clothing 9-12 months size. Think it is like any occasion where taken to extremes it can cause resentment.

passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:48:14

Wow. Your 'friend' really does top it. Thanks for your words though. So I'm not completely an island in this then...
(P.S. Your thoughts on the American issue, also much appreciated. Like I said, it's importing into different cultural circumstances that makes the custom a different beast)...

SheCutOffTheirTails Tue 02-Aug-11 20:49:47

"If you choose to hang around with tacky, grabby people you can expect to be treated in a tacky, grabby manner whichever country you live in."

Bingo smile

passionforskiing Tue 02-Aug-11 20:50:14

Baby2b: yes, yes, that's it exactly. In fact a few of my friends and work colleagues did similar things for me, just as you describe and (until now) I never even thought of that as a baby shower. It is the approach that makes all the difference...

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