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to think baby shower is a shower??!!

(50 Posts)
Casserole Fri 12-Jun-09 22:52:54

I just don't GET baby showers. They just seem to be an excuse to expect gifts from people. Am I alone in thinking this? I didn't have one, hardly anyone I know with kids has had one but suddenly in the last few months I or close friends of mine have been invited to several and I just don't get it!

There's another invite come through today. It is someone I've known for years and I totally totally would intend to go and see her after the baby was born and take presents and a meal with me (I always take a meal for friends who've had babies so they don't have to bother about dinner that evening after I've gone). But I really really don't want to go and sit around for the afternoon with other women I don't all know... doing what? feeling her bump?? talking about our labours?? There isn't even a baby too coo over yet. But now that the official invites have gone out, I feel put into a position where I have to officially decline to go. Which I think is the bit I resent. Cos I'll still be doing everything I would anyway, but why do I have to be summonsed to do it?

Am I just jealous because no-one did this for me!?? I really don't think so, and I've thought about it quite a bit. It's being organised by the same person who organised the girl's hen do, and in both cases (said friend is childless and single and idealises both marriage and parenthood to a ridiculous degree) and I think it's partly the "Oooooh, we must all make a fuss for she is doing this wondrous, sacred, special thing" that gets me.... even though I do agree that motherhood is all those things!!!

Argh. Come on then. AIBU to decline politely (and if not, any ideas on how?)

GlastonburyGoddess Fri 12-Jun-09 22:56:36

YANBU its soooo american.Showers have only become popular here in the last 2yrs. I personally wouldnt go.

mistymee Fri 12-Jun-09 23:02:23

Does your friend want to have a baby shower? If she does and you are close friends then I am sure she would want you to be there. I think they are a bit naff tbh but each to their own.

CandleQueen Fri 12-Jun-09 23:04:48

They are a bit naff.
Only one I've been to (hosted actually!) was for a friend who was moving away when she was 8 months pg, so it was a little "goodbye & goodluck with your baby, we're spoiling you now because we won't be seeing you when the baby comes" party!

flockwallpaper Fri 12-Jun-09 23:11:36

Where I live it is usually your friends that organise it for you and sometimes it is as a surprise. I had one organised for me and I felt a bit uncomfortable about receiving lots of presents, but it was nice to have a girly evening with my friends.

Triggles Sat 13-Jun-09 08:28:55

You could just say you're sorry you can't attend as you have a prior commitment that day.

I hate the idea of baby showers. If you go on US pregnancy websites, half the talk is about registering, getting what they want as gifts at the shower, complaining because people dare to buy a gift for them that is not on their gift register, and so on. And they don't just have them for first babies, but expect them for every baby! Even if they've just had one a year or so ago - I mean how much baby stuff do you need? But it's the whole "oh but EVERY baby must be celebrated" line they use to excuse asking for more gifts.

Very very tacky IMO.

skidoodle Sat 13-Jun-09 08:35:14

Just pass on your regrets, you don't have to say why.

The baby shower for the friend who is leaving is the first time I've ever heard of a good reason for having one. They are awful.

mychildrenarebarmy Sat 13-Jun-09 08:46:07

So very tacky. My SIL had a baby shower and 'unfortunatly' I wasn't able to go as I was washing.my.hair already doing something else. wink

oliverboliverbutt Sat 13-Jun-09 08:48:28

you don't 'get' them because you are not American. It's actually about more than just getting presents, but whatever, I can't explain it to you so you'll listen or care.

Hope your friend has some friends who DO think she is important and is moving on to a very different stage in her life.
Don't go, sounds like you wouldn't be much fun to have around anyway.

2rebecca Sat 13-Jun-09 08:56:31

American nonsense. Never been to one/ had one.
Most of my friends and relatives bought me presents for my babies anyway without the need for a special day and enforced materialism.
I think inviting your friends to bring presents on a particular day is very grasping.
It sounds like an atheist christening without the naming ceremony.
Having your friends visit to see baby sounds great, I think it's the centrality of the presents that I don't like about the baby shower idea.
Blokes have a better idea when they "wet the babies head" , no presents, often no baby there, just go down the pub for a good night out.

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 13-Jun-09 09:04:58

Message withdrawn

alicecrail Sat 13-Jun-09 09:07:40

I think that it is an American tradition which to those who have grown up with it, it is normal, expected behaviour etc. But i wonder if perhaps people who do because they have seen it on tv or in a film do it for the wrong reasons iyswim?

PlumpRumpSoggyBaps Sat 13-Jun-09 09:08:04

I wouldn't go either, tbh.

My MIL and SIL offered to host one for me- apparently it's quite big in South Africa too(due, I believe, to the American influence)- but I politely declined as no-one I know does this and would have thought such an invitation a bit hmm.

Doesn't mean, though, that they didn't think I was 'important' or that they didn't want to celebrate the birth of my baby. They do and they did- but visited after he was born so they could admire him. grin

oliverboliverbutt Sat 13-Jun-09 10:06:07

2rebecca - 'American nonsense. Never been to one/ had one.'

I love how you have such a strong opinion on something you know nothing about!
LOL!

It's a cultural difference, and one that you/many Brits don't understand.
I may not understand why you do something, but I wouldn't just rubbish it away - especially if I had never experienced it!

DarrellRivers Sat 13-Jun-09 10:12:16

SGM, I like how you describe it
Now that is something to celebrate

LeonieSoSleepy Sat 13-Jun-09 10:21:23

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bunnymother Sat 13-Jun-09 10:22:35

I feel I have to defend the poor maligned baby shower. Its like any event - can be dreadful, can be fantastic.

Although I am not American, I had a baby shower, and it was fantastic - they can be great! I knew my sister and some girlfriends wanted to throw me one, so I just asked that it not be held anywhere expensive and that they specify NO PRESENTS in the invitation.

So, DH and I turned up for what we thought was a birthday lunch at a pub, and actually it was our surprise baby shower (I had no idea when/where/if it was going to happen). Despite specifically requesting that people don't bring presents, most people had, which was v generous. I was a bit embarassed, though. However, best bit was all our friends (male and female) having drinks and canapes at a pub chatting and laughing away. We didn't have any games, but had a pinada that DH massacred after a few beers grin and the helium balloon inhaling was entertaining.

They don't have to be contrived and overly girly, can be a great time.

However, if you don't actually want to attend and feel that you are being forced into something, then YANBU to politely decline. Just please don't think that they are all the same.

LeonieSoSleepy Sat 13-Jun-09 10:25:50

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duchesse Sat 13-Jun-09 10:30:39

I gave away all my baby stuff last year, a couple of months before falling pregnant. Now a friend who spent her childhood in the US is proposing organising a baby shower for me and just feel embarrassed to be honest. I do feel that it's more about stuff than about celebrating the baby, who is not even here yet, and anything could still happen. It's taken so long to get to being pregnant again that I can't and won't feel excited about this baby until it's here and healthy.

SugarBird Sat 13-Jun-09 10:48:35

I like the idea of celebrating a coming baby with friends and family (would have enjoyed that when I was expecting my babies, but the way a lot of us Brits perceive a baby shower is that it's about gifts. Good to hear that we're wrong!

Having said that, from what some of you are saying a gift-fest is what it's becoming sometimes - over here at least.

I always send/take a present when a friend has a baby so it's not that I don't want to give gifts - I do - but not in a way that feels enforced. And doing gifts before the baby arrives - except when it's a cot or similar from GPs, or a work-leaving pressie - does feel like jumping the gun a bit.

I've never heard of a wedding shower! Is that like a hen night? (I'm not married and nor are many of my friends so don't know much about these things grin)

CherryChoc Sat 13-Jun-09 10:56:58

SGM thanks for explaining that, I never really "got" the idea of baby showers before but I feel I understand a bit more now. I can also see why I don't think it will ever fully catch on here.

The buying of presents also - if everyone has a baby shower, surely you still end up spending the same amount of money on baby items, but a little at a time, ie you spend some money on your sister's crib, or pram, a few years later on your best friend's nursery bedding set with matching curtains, and when it comes to your own baby people buy the main things so you don't have to spend all the money out at once. If that's the accepted custom it makes sense, it just seems odd to us because we're not used to it (and doesn't really work if one person has a baby shower and then only buys her friends/family something like an outfit or teddybear)

StayFrosty Sat 13-Jun-09 11:12:40

I sort of had a baby shower, when I was pg with dd I worked with a Canadian woman who had had a baby the previous year and had felt so homesick at the end of her pg that she asked the women from work to throw her one, which they did, so they also had one for me. It was just me and women from work but is was really really nice, and I felt really touched esp as I hadn't worked there very long.

They didn't spend huge amounts of money but they got me some really useful things that I would never have thought to get for myself, like a big pack of those cheapo flannel wash cloths from Ikea that came in handy for all sorts of things, baby nail clippers, nipple shields and disposable knickers (lol). We ahd some nibbles and they talked about labour and birth a bit, it was nice and thoughtful of them and I really appreciated it. It was also v useful cos I was a first timer and had not discovered MN at this juncture and had no close friends with children at the time, so I learned one or two things (such as why one would need such a thing as disposable knickers in the first place....).

I think it's like any celebration (eddings, birthdays), it can be corrupted into a tacky materialistic thing that's all about who gets what and spends how much, or it can be done with love and care and be really nice.

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 13-Jun-09 11:17:00

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SalBySea Sat 13-Jun-09 11:18:54

I can think of nothing worse. I HATE HATE HATE hen nights and think that baby showers would be that sort of enforced fun with everyone sitting around cringing because its actually not as fun as it is supposed to be

that said, I would go to one if invited, and embrace it and hopefully enjoy it

I would hate to have one myself - being the centre of attention in frumpy late pregnancy - no thanks!

I also wouldnt let myself fully celebrate it like that till the baby was safely in my arms.

I was brought up to believe it is bad luck to give gifts to a baby thats not born yet - if you bought them in advance you kept them and sent them once the baby was home. Reason being that if anything happened ( and so much can still happen at that stage) the grieving parents would be surrounded with gifts for a baby they never got to take home. I no longer completely agree with this as having had a baby, I now realise that you are surrounded with baby stuff anyway because you cannot wait till the baby is born to start stocking up on all the things you'll need when you bring him/her home.
- but to the Americans, maybe this helps you understand why it sits so badly with some people on this side of the atlantic - some see it as jinxing or tempting fate to fully celebrate a baby who's not born yet and feel wrong doing so

and many of us will have christenings so that fills the warm fuzzy family and friends gathering for us

posieparker Sat 13-Jun-09 11:19:06

I'm sure babyshowers are great in the US where there is a tradition, but it's not cricket is it??

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