Someone you know, a friend, a friend’s child, your son or daughter is having a baby. You decide to take a shower for them. Someone asks what they can do to help, what to bring and all the details. The baby shower is an important ritual in the process of pregnancy and childbirth, a tradition that goes back a long time. Here’s a brief history of the baby shower and seven ways to make it the best one yet.
Why a shower? Is it because the mom-to-be will be showered with good wishes and goodwill? Why will they shower her with gifts? Or will it be because of the shower of happy tears that she will run during the event, one of the happiest, most solidly traditional milestones on the path of motherhood?
No one seems to know the exact history of baby showers, and much speculation centers around the fact that whatever theory emerges cannot be proven. Perhaps at one of the common tea parties held for the mom-to-be, a shower was a sign of good luck and good fortune for mom and the little one. It is true that during those snacks, held for women who in other times had to remain hidden during their pregnancy, the assistants, always women only passing through, carried umbrellas waiting for the blessed rain to appear. It doesn’t matter. The baby shower is now a solid part of the traditional pregnancy. Here are seven tips for creating and promoting the best baby shower under the sun.
1. One thing that is known about baby showers of yesteryear is this. Most of the gifts were handmade. There is no reason to overlook this. We are dealing with tradition, after all. It takes little time and less technical skill to create a simple garment, baby toy, crib mobile, nightstand decoration, or other knick-knack that mom will treasure as part of the blissful time before delivery.
2. If you’re not feeling creative, go online and find a craft site like Etsy etc. and order a personalized gift. Include names, dates, secret inside information on it. This could be the one gift mom and baby will keep forever.
3. Depending on how close you are to the mom-to-be, why not an actual shower? This is reserved for spouses or truly close friends, but there’s nothing saying I love you, I care about you, quite like a real shower of pampering. Shop for bath oils, candles, incense, and the mom-to-be’s favorite soft music. Then give her a bath or shower, followed by a long, lingering full-body massage, just like you would with her own child during a time of transition and change for them.
4. If there is a registry, like babys-r-us, check it out and get as much as your pocket can handle. Ask for it to be delivered or take it with you. If there is extensive travel involved, for you or for them, be sure to observe the size and weight limits for any gifts you get.
5. Don’t forget to include the other children, if any. A small token, inexpensive toy, age-appropriate item of clothing, or healthy snack to recognize them and include them in the event will be greatly appreciated, perhaps even more by the mother than the child.
6. Be sure to acknowledge the mother in a way that preserves her autonomy in the process. We tend to focus all our attention on the newborn and neglect the mom. We assume a lot: That mom allows touching her tummy; that she is willing to share the sex of the baby, if she knows it; that she likes to listen to people’s advice, especially those who don’t have children of their own! It could be the best baby shower gift of all to shower mom with the assumption of maturity. Assume that she knows what she is doing, and all else will follow.
7. Finally, make sure the mom-to-be really wants a shower in the first place. These days, with everyone working full time, chaotic schedules, other kids, busy spouses, the traditional shower may just rain down on mom’s already hectic parade of responsibilities. The way to know if she would like a baby shower? Ask him.
Baby showers are about babies and moms-to-be. They can be an excellent way to recognize the bond and community inclusion of women who are preparing for the birth of a child. One final note. Because every child, and every mom, needs to feel this inclusion, don’t forget that adoptive moms and dads need this recognition too. All of the above ideas will work just as well for parents who are about to adopt or are in the process of adopting.