A new way to celebrate the new arrival

My pregnancy started about 8 months after J. and I got married.  Yes, this was very much a planned pregnancy.  Perhaps obsessively planned.  I started telling my close friends very early — too excited to wait till the ‘safe zone.’   What struck me, though, was that usually one of the first few questions after “planned?” “when are you due” and “do you want a boy or a girl” was “you’re going to have a shower, right?”

The third question was not so much as a question, as an order.  And my response in the negative has been quite controversial.

Now, here’s what goes through my head on this issue.  Admittedly, the first thought was: didn’t I JUST have a wedding shower and there were those 10% of people that I shamefully never got thank you notes to, and I can’t ever face them again.  But my second thought was that I wanted to make an effort to have a green-ish nursery, avoid plastics, stuff made in china, and choose sustainable products and not over-buy stuff I don’t really need.  I also thought about a friend who traversed the state for numerous showers, then confided in me that it wasn’t the present bonanza she had hoped for and still had to go out and buy what she actually needed.  Or the other friend who sat overwhelmed at her shower looking at the pile of toys that I bet she didn’t anticipte getting and had no idea where to store.  Or the friend who hates ducks and got almost entirely duck-themed gifts for her shower.

Because there is no centralized source for all things baby-orgnanic, I knew registering for gifts was not possible. And frankly, people over register for stuff because of the fear/horror/shame that there won’t be enough gifts for people to buy — hence, you set yourself up for amassing stuff you don’t need.

My approach has been to welcome the idea of getting together to celebrate the birth (maybe a girly mani-pedi day) but leave the stuff-getting to us and our immediate family.  I’ve welcomed second-hand stuff from friends who have had babies.  This way, if the baby is not into said item, I won’t feel bad over the money & resources used to make it.

While I think many still think this is part of my crazy hippy phase, I do see some new support.

My mother-in-law has given us a dresser that is 65 years old.  It was J.’s dresser as a kid — and I saw it as it looked under his ownership, complete with yellow/white paint and snoopy stickers.  Really cute.  J. and MIL have spent several weeks stripping the paint, sanding, refinishing, staining, etc. said dresser to get it ready for the baby.  I love all the thought and effort that went into it.  J. wouldn’t let me see it till it was done because of all the fumes involved in refinishing it.  I asked him what it looked like and he said, “it doesn’t look like new, but it looks well loved.”  Indeed, it is.



1 Comment

  1. Gretchen said,

    November 24, 2008 at 6:09 am

    I think you’re totally right. I hate the consumerism that comes with children – I think you’re too wonderful thinking about the impact a shower would have for your sanity and the planet. I’ll be looking for a green gift (a useful one!) to send when the little one arrives!

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