The Shower Situation

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me this article about the debate over showers for second babies, and its arrival in my inbox was timely. Three of my closest friends (one a friend since first grade, the other two since high school) had recently offered to throw me a shower for the twins. After much consideration, I declined.

Here's why:

Two years ago, I had an enormous shower for my first pregnancy. It wasn't enormous because I opted to invite my hair stylist, the girl who drives the ice cream truck around my neighborhood, and the woman who bags my groceries at Wegmans. Rather, I have a large extended family, most of whom are female. The hubs' female family member contingent is big as well. Add some friends to the mix, and suddenly there's almost 50 people at my shower. And if you remember, every single person was extremely generous. Granted, it was my only shower. I know some people have two or three. But for me, my shower was perfect. I didn't want for much afterward, and I'm still in awe of what was done for me two years later.

I know this opinion won't be shared by all, but I've always viewed a shower as a celebration of motherhood, and a way for parents to receive all the baby crap they need to keep their newborn fed, clothed, and relatively fresh-smelling. They are called "showers" after all; as in, "showered with enough blankets, onesies, and tiny, itty, bitty socks to only necessitate three loads of laundry a day instead of four." Much like the author of the article, I don't see showers as a "celebration of the baby" so I've never bought into the whole "every baby deserves a party" thought process. The idea is a nice one I could certainly get behind if not for the underlying gift-buying obligation for the guests. Even when "no gifts" is explicitly stated on the invitation, I know I certainly wouldn't show up to a "baby party," "baby celebration," or "welcome baby" gathering for a second, third, or fourth baby without a gift, would you?

I expressed these concerns to my dear, sweet friends, who wisely told me that everyone I would invite would most likely be buying the twins a gift anyway, so why not gather them all in one place and call it a party? At first I agreed to a small "let's-not-call-it-a-shower" of around 12 people. Then I thought about it some more, and 13 years of guilt-fueled Catholic education reared its head, and I reconsidered.

We're having twins because of a conscious choice we made to transfer three embryos during our FET. We knew about the chance for multiples. We rolled the dice, and we're having two babies instead of one. I'm not having spontaneous twins. My guilty conscience says it shouldn't be anyone's responsibility to accommodate the needs of our twins but ours, regardless of how excited everyone is for us. Would we be all set if we were having a singleton? Without a doubt. Sure, if the singleton was a boy, we'd need some new clothes, and regardless of the gender, we'd need an extra crib, since Isabella is still in hers, but that's about all we'd need. Are we in for a lot more major purchases with twins? Yes.

However, I feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea of asking people to buy us more baby stuff for a situation of our own making, and one that occurred so soon after my first shower. I know this may seem silly to some or even many of you. But I just feel awkward asking for assistance. It's a feeling I'm going to have to get over really soon, because if I'll need anything after the twins are born, it's going to be help: an extra pair of hands willing to hold one of them, a babysitter so I can take a sanity break once and awhile, a kind soul willing to diaper a baby or two 10 times a day.

I certainly don't begrudge anyone who has had a shower for a second, third, or 18th child (hello, Duggars!). In fact, I'm envious of them. In a lot of ways, it seems crazy to turn down a party three wonderful friends want to throw in your honor. But I just can't get beyond the feeling that having a shower for the twins is somehow an imposition on my loved ones.

So instead, my three friends are going to take me out to lunch or dinner, which I will thoroughly enjoy since our schedules don't allow for us all to get together too often. I won't have the shower schwag, but I'll have the gift of time spent with three awesome girls who may not understand my shower hangup but still love me anyway.

14 Responses to “The Shower Situation”

  1. # Blogger Simply Mel

    Hate to break it to you but regardless of a shower or not....yourloved one will buys stuff for your twins. And guess what??? Its because THEY WANT TO . Seriously, who doesnt want to buy a baby a gift?

    I get you around the shower though but do think you need to realise many people love to help out - so stop feeling bad and guilty. Like - right now!!  

  2. # Blogger M

    I completely agree with you. I think people who want to buy gifts for you will. But I feel like inviting them to a shower is almost makign them feel as though they have to. I'm with you on this one.  

  3. # Blogger Marie

    I think I'd feel the same way as you, Kristi. Maybe your wonderful friends can coordinate a helper schedule, when it's needed, so that you don't have to think about that? They can put me on the list of people to be included... ;-)  

  4. # Blogger Sasha

    I completely get where you are coming from. I did not have a second shower for this reason, too. But I still would think you could with twins:) But your call. And I am still buying you something!! :)  

  5. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    I had the obligatory shower with Hannah, only because my mom insisted on giving me one. At the time, we lived close enough (five hours away) for her to be able to do it for us. She invited many of my HS friends (since I was only 21 at the time and still in contact with them), and we all had a cookout. My grandparents were there, too, and we had a great time. But it was a relatively small affair.

    We were living in NY when I was pregnant with Jacob, and my MIL and her best friend had a tea party for us - very proper with tea and scones and flowers - absolutely wonderful and refined! While everyone did bring a gift, I don't think they felt it was expected of them. And the gifts were not the typical blankets and onesies, but more of a keepsake item.

    With Bridget, we did NOT have anything - no shower, no tea party. And yeah . . . . I felt like (in my weird, mommy guilt sort of way) she was getting jipped out of the attention. That is until my mom and sister sent me a "shower in a box." Because Ian and I thought we wouldn't have more children we didn't have anything, and it was great having something NEW for the baby. It was a good thing she sent so many gender-neutral items, since you'll recall that we ended up having a girl and not the boy we thought I was carrying.

    I don't know. I hope that doesn't make me seem selfish. I do see showers and parties as a celebration of BOTH the mother and baby. And I think if your friends want to give you a shower, they're doing it because they absolutely WANT to. I *love* buying gifts for moms-to-be and babies because I think it's so much fun to relive those baby days, not because I feel obligated to attend with gift in hand.

    You could always have a "diaper and wipes" party or "share a book" party or "bring a frozen casserole" party.

    People want to help you out and, you're right, your gonna have to find a way to accept that help however it comes. I may not know what it's like to have twins, but I do know what it's like to have multiple children very close in age. Hannah and Jake are just 27 months apart in age, and it was rough at first.  

  6. # Blogger Jesser

    Ugh. I completely commicerate. All that guilt (and I'm not even Catholic!). I think I might've gone for the smaller "non" shower but it is a sticky situation. But you are blessed by lots of people who love you and your bebes either way and that's a great thing.  

  7. # Anonymous Kris

    I didn't do a shower for the 2nd one either- but some lovely friends took me and another girl who was due around the same time out to lunch in celebration of the upcoming briths (it was a surprise, which was cool). It was the perfect way to celebrate!  

  8. # Blogger Shannon

    Awwww! This was my chance to get you that enormous leather quilt that I dreamt about during your first pregnancy! Your loss, Kristi.  

  9. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    That's really nice of your friends to not only offer the shower, but to offer another option for you!
    Your friends and family probably will buy you lots of stuff, I think my family would.
    As far as cost, I don't know how you feel about them, but there are tons of moms of multiples groups in our area that have big baby sales twice a year. Maybe there's one in your area. Not only are there great deals, but the moms of multiples are there. We talked to some experienced moms and got advice when shopping for Little Elvis.  

  10. # Blogger Mom24

    I have to disagree with you a bit. You didn't really choose/cause this. You struggled enough with infertility to know that. Yes, your chances of twins may have been higher than mine, but it's still really out of your control. I agree you shouldn't have the shower if you're uncomfortable, but I don't see anything wrong with it if you weren't uncomfortable, or if you needed it. I agree not every baby should have a shower, but different circumstances can make it OK. When I got pg number 2, some friends gave me a shower because we had gotten rid of everything. After 7 years, I didn't think we could have more. Eight years later, when I was pg with #3 after again having gotten rid of everything, some people at church gave me a shower--kind of a thank you for what I had done for other people. Two years later when I was pg with number 4? That would have been way wrong, imo.

    I'm not trying to be preachy or tell you that you're feelings are wrong, but sometimes you sound like you feel a bit guilty that you're having twins. Then, a bit guilty about worrying about how you're going to handle things--almost as if you 'asked' for it. Your twins are such a blessing (I KNOW you know that). The people who love and care about you will be thrilled to share in the miracle.  

  11. # Blogger Damselfly

    Isn't it great to know there are so many suportive people around you? :)  

  12. # Blogger Brigid

    Even if you don't have a shower consider registering for the basic stuff that you need. People will buy you things for the babies - it's just too much fun not too. If nothing else register for diapers and wipes - you are going to need TONS of those! :) I had three big showers for my first baby (friends and family, my work, the hubbies work), and two very small showers for my second (family and friends and my work), which worked out nicely.  

  13. # Blogger Christine

    You shouldn't decline a shower because you feel like you "caused" your twins. Sure, you took a risk, but hey, you could have gotten pregnant with twins "naturally" like all those celebs. ;)

    Whoever wants to buy you a gift will and certainly there are a great many out there who will give you a hand when you need one. The trick is not to decline it.

    As you know, I don't have kids yet, but I also feel like a shower isn't necessarily a celebration of the child, but of the mother. So if you feel weird having a shower for baby number 2 (or 2&3) then don't. (You should keep in mind that I've had more weddings, showers, and engagement parties in the past year than I can count on both hands, so I may be feeling all done with gifts right now.)  

  14. # Blogger Shannon

    You need to do what is right for you... but like the others have said... your crazy-in love with you love ones are going to buy those kiddos stuff weither or nough you have a shower... hehehe...  

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