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Baby Shower StorkWhy Baby Showers are Necessary

By Tonya L. Thompson
An Editor's favorite

When I think of my first baby shower, I remember it being like Christmas morning – only better.  It wasn’t just the gifts (although, those were great!); it was the dawning anticipation of what was getting ready to take place in my life, the look on my mother’s face as she prepared little keepsakes for the arrival of her first grandson, and the overwhelming awe at the celebration my family, friends and I shared together.

I remember feeling inexperienced and anxious as I filled my baby registry checklist with unfamiliar little things: layettes, changing table covers, creams and rubs of all sorts, and that strange but ever-indispensable ‘boppy’ pillow.  I followed the Babies R Us checklist completely, worried that when my baby arrived, his life would depend on something on the list - you never know when a wipes warmer might be necessary, right?

baby showerThen the day of my baby shower arrived, and I imagined cute little trinkets, games my mother would force us all to play, and a list of goodies to make the process of decorating my baby’s room much easier.  Was I ever in for a surprise!

Even though you’ve probably set up your own registry, spending breathless hours looking over the latest selection of infant tummy drops and teething toys, nothing fully prepares you for the sheer joy of opening those first tiny gifts.  Surprisingly, it’s the ones that you didn’t place on your registry that will most likely fill your eyes with tears.  Those ‘seasoned’ moms who attended my shower astonished me with the most considerate and adorable presents imaginable – things that I would have never known I needed (being a first-time mom) and presents that definitely weren’t on the “Registry Checklist” at the baby store. 

First, there were the little cowboy boots.  Did you know they make cowboy boots for newborns?  I didn’t.  baby showerEven though I live in the country, I never considered myself a ‘country girl’; yet, these were the most darling little shoes I had ever seen.  In retrospect, I think my son wore them once.  But opening them, I remember the feeling that flowed through me: I was going to have a boy

Then came the monogrammed blankets, the personalized scrapbooks, and other such meaningful mementos that I could never imagine parting with.  Don’t get me wrong – the gift cards, diapers, layettes and toys were all wonderful.  But there are those gifts that help you to see into the future and imagine yourself as an old woman looking through a box of trinkets, remembering the days when your grown children were babies in your arms and wishing (however briefly) that you could return there again.  

baby showerThen came the games - the ones I knew I’d have to endure for my mother’s sake.  I waited for silly trivia, jokes about diaper changes, the end of sleeping in, and the like.  She handed my guests a blank piece of drawing paper and pencil, with the instruction to draw a picture of what they think our baby will look like.  Besides the bursts of laughter throughout the room, I now have a dozen or so hand-drawn sketches of a baby (at least, I think that was what they were drawing), and I’ve included these sketches in my son’s scrapbook.  I know it was more for the guests’ enjoyment than a keepsake, but I still look back at those sketches and remember the delight I felt on that day laughing at the drawings.

After the sketches, my mother requested that each mom within the room give me a piece of advice about having a baby.  babyTheir responses were priceless: “Don’t worry about what the books say, just follow your instincts”, “Take a long bath in the evening, just so your husband has a reason to take the kids for awhile” and “Enjoy holding him when he’s little; he’ll wriggle out of your arms soon enough”.

We cut the cake, poured the punch, and sat around talking about labor-room woes and the trials, tribulations, and elation of becoming a parent.  After catching up with my friends and sharing laughs about my huge belly, the day became something more than what I had originally thought it would be. It’s the reason why baby showers are such a necessary tradition, and why mothers, both new and seasoned, should experience one.

It isn’t about the gifts or games; it’s about the priceless support of friends and family as you make this giant leap into motherhood.  There isn’t a registry checklist in the world that can beat that.

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