Baby showers are the worst
I am expecting twins. I am not having a baby shower.
This would not be unusual if I lived outside of the United States, but here in America it has raised some eyebrows. Baby showers are an assumed part of pregnancy, and the news that I'll have two babies instead of one only compounds that expectation.
But I am putting my foot down on this. Here's why.
1. Baby showers are not fun
I like hosting parties and do so often. We do dinner parties, board game nights, an annual New Year's Eve cocktail party (continuing this year though I will not partake of the cocktails), and more. I even threw a 100-year birthday party for my house.
All sorts of parties can be fun. But baby showers are not fun. They are structured affairs, herding guests through awkward parlour games and culminating in a lengthy circle sit so the mother-to-be can open presents. The food is dainty and weird, all tea sandwiches and cupcakes with tiny rubber infants baked inside. And to top it off, the whole event is either dry out of respect for the guest of honor's nine-month teetotalism — no fun for the guests — or it serves alcohol which the one person most in need of a drink can't enjoy.
2. Baby showers demand a performance
I am not a good actress, nor am I prone to expressive displays of enthusiasm. I am very thankful my friends and family want to give me presents to help me prepare for parenthood, but there is no way I can perform that gratitude for an hour straight for a room full of people.
Especially for introverts like me, the present opening part of baby showers is truly dreaded. It is not an easy thing to unwrap dozens of gifts in short succession and make each giver feel they have been properly and uniquely thanked. And that's a shame, because my gratitude is sincere, but I know it won't come off that way in a shower setting. It will mostly come off as exhaustion.
3. Baby showers encourage frivolous gifts
When everyone's presents are opened at once, it sucks to be the person with the boring gift. Who wants to bring workaday onesies and a thermometer when they'll be overshadowed by sparkly slippers and adorable stuffed animals?
The trouble is these showy gifts are rarely of any practical use. A friend of mine recently attended a shower for a woman expecting a little girl where nearly every gift was pink and multiple presents involved baby tutus. What will this child's mother possibly do with four tutus?
I'm reasonably confident my friends would not give me tutus, but skipping a baby shower nixes any pressure to buy something cute or extravagant. Instead they can give me what I really want: hand-me-downs, the tried and true clothes and books that need to be cleaned out of other people's closets. Three moms at my church have offered me stuff their kids have outgrown, and it's so much better than a baby shower could be. I get things I'll actually use, and they're spared the work of wrapping presents and a trip to the Goodwill.
4. Baby showers drown you in presents
My house is small, and I like it that way, but it also means I do not have room for a deluge of unnecessary junk. Not having a baby shower is the single best way to escape the flood.
In theory, getting lots of presents sounds like a good thing, but it's also that much more to organize, maintain, and clean. The aftermath of baby showers past — living rooms filled to bursting with gear that will see maybe three uses before it ends up on Craigslist — has for me served as a grave cautionary tale. At this point, strange though it may seem, I am far more concerned with avoiding presents I don't need than getting stuff I do. (After all, Craigslist is well stocked should we realize something's missing.)
Don't spend money on me. I'd rather have you spend time with me. Instead of buying me something, let's get lunch together. Or if you want to pitch in to prepare for the babies, help me with a project around the house. Or I can have a party — but, like, a normal party, where we eat normal food and have normal conversations and everyone doesn't sit in a circle and watch me wonder if I'm making remotely the right facial expression to convey my thanks.
For that I would be grateful indeed.