Does anyone really love going to a baby shower? Over the years I have been invited to countless wedding showers and baby showers. I always feel so honoured to be invited but they are so predictable – games, opening gifts, a lot of small talk, etc.
When my sisters and Mom asked me what kind of baby shower I wanted, I got completely stressed out. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was because I wanted to create some sort of shower that people would want to attend. I also recognized how I felt going to baby showers when I was struggling to get pregnant and I didn’t want to make anyone feel sad, bad, conflicted, etc.
So what did I do instead?
I turned into Mama-Zilla. Picture Bride-Zilla but as a future Mom-to-Be. I tried so hard to make everyone not have to go out of their way, that I drove everyone around me crazy.
Don’t get me wrong – my shower was the most beautiful and memorable day. I just feel like I need to be honest with you about what I have learned from it.
So I am going to share what not to do/what to do when having a shower.
Tip 1: Invite Everyone
My guest list stressed me out beyond belief. Who should I invite? Should I invite people just from my hometown? What about people from work? Would all of my friends from different groups get along? In which city should I have my shower? How could I make it convenient for everyone?
If I had to do it over again, I would have hosted my own shower. That way, I wouldn’t worry about how many people were attending and how much my amazing family was spending on my shower in order to make it special.
I would have picked a city (hometown or Toronto) and would have invited everyone. Instead of worrying about feelings and where people were in their lives, they could have just determined if they wanted to come. Instead of worrying about people travelling too far to attend a shower, I would have let them make a decision about driving.
Tip 2: Plan Your Shower When You Are Feeling Good
As you know, I have had a TOUGH time with this pregnancy and have had many days where I am in bed. Luckily, I finally started feeling a bit better and announced to my family that I was ready to have a shower even if it was at 32.5 weeks. At the time, I didn’t feel too huge and still felt pretty. I felt extremely happy because I was no longer puking every day and it also gave me a lot of time to figure out a registry. I registered on Amazon and it was amazing.
I gave my two sisters my Amazon password and they controlled my registry. Once I picked out items, I had no more control over what happened. I didn’t want to be one of those people constantly checking out what people had purchased for me.
Even before the shower, I was receiving gifts in the mail and it was so exciting to open it up and see what was in the box. There was always an envelope with a little message stating who it was from. This was GREAT for larger items. People didn’t have to worry about carrying them or transporting them. Also, what does Amazon not have? You can get anything.
If my sisters knew I was getting something similar from another store from other people, they would just delete the similar item from my Amazon registry. It worked so well.
Tip 3: Provide Booze
This is huge for me because I honestly think there should be alcohol at every shower. Alcohol is just a nice buffer and it makes people feel more confident when socializing. I am NOT saying to overindulge or to drink while pregnant. I am just saying that it is always nice to have it as an option.
Tip 4: Have a Theme
My theme was “champagne and cupcakes.” The only food I wanted my family to have to worry about (which I said I would pick up and they said “no”) were cupcakes. Our lovely family friend Cathy also surprised us with some other amazing baked goods but we only had baked goods at the shower. That way, we didn’t need oversized plates or anything fancy.
My family made lemon cupcakes filled with raspberry, chocolate gluten-free cupcakes with peanut butter, and chocolate cupcakes with raspberry. Delicious!
We also had champagne for everyone (Lola Sparkling) along with alcohol-free drinks as well.
Tip 5: You Will Cry and It is Okay
Maybe not every single person will cry at their shower, but just know that it is okay to cry. There were several times when I cried while opening gifts and I couldn’t even read some of the cards. It was okay though – when I started crying, other people started crying too.
I was also full of so much joy throughout the day that my crying only lasted for a really short time.
Tip 6: Everyone Will Watch You Open Gifts No Matter What
My Mom, sisters, and I tried to come up with various ways to allow guests to do things instead of watching me open gifts.
Our whole idea of the shower was to have a “pop-in” shower where people could just stop by for as little or as long as they wanted. I’d speak with them for a bit, ask if they wanted to be there while I opened my gift, and they could drink their glass of champagne, and have a cupcake. My goal was to make sure that nobody would be forced to stay for hours.
This is not how things went.
I kept saying “please continue your conversations” as I opened my gifts but nobody really did. The room fell silent every single time I opened something.
To be honest though, I love seeing what people get as gifts so maybe it wasn’t that bad? Who knows? At least they had champagne, if they were bored out of their minds.
Tip 7: Soak It All In
It happens way too fast. My shower felt like two minutes to me. I am sure it felt like countless hours to others, but it went by way too quickly for me.
It was amazing to see so many loved ones in one room. Women who are my role models for a variety of reasons. I got to hear stories of pregnancy, motherhood, women just coming together. It was absolutely incredible and I was in absolute awe that people came to my shower especially when Christmas had just ended.
Tip 8: Take Pictures
I have a bunch of pictures but I wish I had taken more. I had my own camera and my kind sister L was also taking pictures.
There are way more photos than the ones I am placing here but I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by posting them. My sisters gave me full permission to finally post a photo of the three of us. I am so proud to have these ladies beside me because they really have championed and helped me through really tough times.
I’ve made sure to print out pictures from the shower and have placed them in my Pregnancy Journal and my Baby Book. This may make it seem like I have everything together, but I really don’t. I am trying my best to create and add to these books as I go along because I have a feeling I’ll be way too busy to add to these books as a Mama.
Tip 9: Do Something Sentimental
I can’t take credit for this tip at all because my sisters and Mom are the ones who thought of it.
Sentimental Idea 1: Blocks
My brother in law’s Dad is amazing at woodworking. He created the most special gift for my shower. He made blocks and then all of the guests at my shower used markers to draw on the blocks. They all drew very creative pictures on the blocks of things that were meaningful to them/us to give to my future son. It was as if everyone was working together and creating the most beautiful gift together.
Sentimental Idea 2: Letters
The other thing that was super sentimental was that everyone that attended (or couldn’t attend the shower) wrote me a letter. My sister L got everyone to send them to her and she put them in a little book for me. After the shower, she took the little book away from me and said that a few people were in the midst of writing letters and had asked for a bit more time.
Luckily I didn’t even read one of these letters at my shower because I can’t even imagine holding it together as I read them. I’m going to wait to read them at times when I feel like giving up or when being a Mom just feels so overwhelming.
Tip 10: Appreciate Everything
At this time I want to express a HUGE thank you for the ultimate baby shower.
Mom – thank you for opening up your beautiful home and for always being so willing to host things for our family. Your cooking/baking is by far my favourite and it is amazing watching you in “host mode” because you really thrive. Everyone loves you so much and I want to thank you for everything. I love you.
Sister J – thank you for the sweet invites to the shower and for all of the signage (via Vistaprint). You made the celebration so very special and I appreciate it so much. Sorry I was so difficult through the planning stages as well. Thanks for baking cupcakes with Mom and for going to the LCBO for booze. You are so supportive and somehow always know the right things to say. Thanks for always keeping me calm and for understanding that my anxiety can be a lot to deal with. I love you.
Sister L – thank you for allowing your kids to be at the shower. I know that you may have found it a bit much but they are the people that mean so much to me so I loved having them there. Thank you for helping with the cupcakes, for running errands, for putting together the letters, etc. You are super Mom and super busy so it meant so much to me that you took time out of your busy schedule for me. You are the most organized woman of life and I don’t know how you have it altogether. I love you.
Dad – thank you for organizing a beer/spirit tour for the men. It was nice that the ladies could be dropped off by their partners and were free to have some time for themselves. Thank you for also putting the images together featuring our family and us as kids. It made the day so special seeing these photos in the background. I love you.
Family and People Who We Consider Family: Thank you so much for being there for me. This journey has been a lot and your support has meant so much to me along the way. Thank you for attending the shower and/or for your kind messages. You always help me to feel so loved and without you, I don’t know if I could have been strong enough to go through everything I have gone through thus far. I love you.
Readers and Friends: Thanks for all of your comments and love along the way. Thanks for supporting me and for reading my scattered thoughts. Somehow I have had over 18,000 people read this blog and I am still in absolute shock that people care about what a random woman has to say.
My hope is that these blogs don’t seem self indulgent because my whole goal in writing the blog is to help people connect and to give tips based on things I have learned along the way. Thanks for your messages, for checking in, and for being open and sharing your personal stories with me. I love you.
Wishing everyone a great week ahead!