Baby showers are an exciting time for couples expecting, but they can be difficult for those still wanting to parent. We’re happy for the mom-to-be, but can’t help being reminded of the one thing we want most in our life that is missing. I know everyone handles their emotions around infertility differently, but over the years I have picked up a few tips I thought were worth sharing.
Sometimes it’s OK to say “no.” If the couple expecting is not a family member or close friend you see outside a group setting, it’s OK to decline their invitation. You can easily pass them a gift the next time you see them or send it in the mail.
Timing is everything. If you decide to attend the baby shower, a great way to maintain control over your emotions is to limit the time you spend there. If it’s a close friend or family member, offer to come early to help with setup, but let them know you may not be able to stay through the end. Before the event takes place, choose a transition period (like before games or presents) or set a time when you plan to leave. Or, you can decide to wait and take your emotional temperature — you might find that things are going well, and you can stay for the entire shower. The point is: having a plan in place allows you to have a set goal and the freedom to know you’re in control. Once you reach your time to leave, you can still choose to stick around, or you can feel confident knowing that you did your part and gracefully make your exit.
Choose a gift that’s versatile. Sometimes it can be hard to look for the perfect gift when you are stuck wandering the aisles of all things baby. Seeing all of the baby clothes, books and goodies can be hard for someone wanting to parent, especially when you are going through fertility treatments or in your two-week-wait. One gift I have learned is always appreciated is a gift card. I don’t know of a single person who doesn’t enjoy getting to purchase exactly what they want. And purchasing a gift card allows you to stay away from the baby aisle.
Be honest and offer an alternative. If you find yourself overwhelmed at just the sight of a baby shower invitation, simply don’t go. You can easily send a gift, and if it’s for a close friend or family member, simply decline by being honest. Let them know that you’re excited for them, but are afraid you’ll ruin their day by getting emotional. Tell them you love them, want the day to be special for them, and would love to set a date to take them out to lunch or get pedicures as a way of making up for lost time you would have spent together.