You’re coming to the end of your third trimester. Your back aches, your ankles are swollen and you’re starting to wonder if this pregnancy will ever end. But other than finally getting to meet your new bundle of joy, there’s still one thing you’re really looking forward to: your baby shower!
And why not? Who wouldn’t want to be showered with gifts of cute little onesies and teeny tiny shoes, all for your little bambino. Perhaps you’ve even registered and are hoping some of your best gals pool together and get you that off-roading stroller or even that ever-functional diaper genie.
Maybe your best friend is hosting the shower, or it could be your mother-in-law. Either way, you know they’ve put a lot of time and effort into your party and you’re looking forward to celebrating. Until you realize, hey wait a minute - who is even coming to this shower? That’s when you remember your friend’s habit of inviting any and all people who know you - and that may not be a good thing.
As excited as you may be about your shower, you may want to think about the guest list and give your gracious host a heads up. Although she may not understand all your choices, it is about you. According to Parents.com, baby shower etiquette dictates that the guest of honor should have some say over who is invited.
After all, who wants Debbie Downer from your old sorority showing up and bringing everyone down? Or what about that frenemy of yours who constantly competes with everything you do? You don’t want her to mess up what’s supposed to be a fun afternoon. At this stage in your pregnancy you want to be relaxed, not stressed.
So before your shower invites go out, you may want to have a quick chat with your host and give her a heads up on the 7 people you definitely don’t want there!
7 The Know-it-all
This one is self explanatory, but let’s dive a little deeper. The Know-it-all can come in many forms: she can be your neighbour, a friend, a relative or co-worker. Regardless of her official status, she seems to be the expert on anything and everything relating to pregnancy and parenting.
Want to know if you should’ve used a midwife or an OB/GYN? She’ll tell you the absolute way to go. Wondering how to get rid of those stretch marks? She has the best remedy. While this may initially seem like useful information, wait until she starts talking about child-rearing. That’s when the gloves really come off.
But think about your shower. When you open Aunt Betty’s hand knit doll she made for you do you really want this so-called expert riffing on how easily hand knit toys fall apart?
No One Likes a Know-It-All
Or how about that baby monitor? Sorry, it’s not the right one. The reception is bad and you’ll be wasting money on batteries that constantly need to be replaced. And those teethers? Don’t you know those are a hazard? Not only could the baby choke on them, they are filled with BPA and other nasty chemicals. My kids would chew on frozen fruit.
You get the picture. Do you really want this person making comments about every gift you receive?
Often the Know-it-all comes with a competitive side too and will immediately compare everything about your pregnancy to hers. She’ll likely be keeping a close eye on you and if you so much as reach for the tuna fish sandwich, she’ll tsk tsk you and say “when I was pregnant, I made sure to only eat wild Pacific salmon fresh from the local fish monger.”
If this person is not super close to you, then leave them off the guest list.
6 The Resentful Friend
This one is the opposite of the Know-it-all. She’s the could-care-less-at-all, or so she makes it seem. She’s often one of your single friends who doesn’t understand all this baby fuss. While she may have initially expressed happiness for you, she eventually becomes bored or uneasy with any of your baby talk. You’ll try to fill her in on the latest of your pregnancy aches and pains and you catch her rolling her eyes.
You start to wonder… is it me? Did I say too much?
But then you start to notice things. She starts to make snide little comments in your presence. They seem innocent enough at first, until you start to unpack their true meaning. “A bunch of us are going to go skiing next month. But I guess you won’t be able to make it.”
Or, “The government shouldn’t fund prenatal care. Why should my tax dollars pay for your choices? Kids aren’t a necessity.”
Avoid the Haters and Enjoy Your Baby Shower
She may even start to loudly announce how happy she is to be living child-free. That may very well be true and it’s just as valid a life choice as parenthood. But if her rants are suddenly becoming bolder and are happening more regularly, then this is likely the sign of someone who is resentful of your life. Either she really does want kids and is upset that she is nowhere near that stage in her life, or she is upset that she is losing her friend to the motherhood.
Whatever it is, it’s not your problem. In fact, it may be wise to start distancing yourself now because it’s clear her attitude will only get worse once your baby arrives. No matter how you try to salvage the friendship, it’s not going to work. Whether she admits it or not, she now sees you as the enemy. A true friend, regardless of her own life, will want to share in your joy. Your shower is a time to celebrate and you don’t need her rants or her presence to bring you and everyone else down.
5 The Happy Homemaker
Ah, this one seems all smiles and innocent on the surface. But beware her sunny demeanor! Underneath that Holly Homemaker is a woman hell-bent on doing everything just perfect - and it will grate on you.
This is often someone you know but not that well. Perhaps she’s your mother’s friend, or she’s your new next door neighbour. Either way, your hostess thought it was a good idea to include her and you’re not sure why.
Without a doubt, she’ll be overjoyed with news of your pregnancy and more than willing to participate in any and all activities leading up to your delivery. She’ll bake cookies for the occasion and make handmade place cards. She’ll welcome everyone with a warm smile and hug.
Her Role Model is Martha Stewart, and Your's is Rachael Ray
She’ll join you in drinking a mug of milk because, you know, you have to keep up with your calcium intake! And when your baby finally arrives, she’s the one who will show up at your door the next day with a casserole and a plea to call on her whenever you need.
All nice stuff until you realize that this is really over-the-top behaviour from an acquaintance. Even your own mother doesn’t step in like this. It’s like she’s a cartoon character from the 1950’s. So if you invite her to the shower, it’s like you’re inviting her into your home life and she’ll make herself more than welcome to be there no matter what you do. It’s best to nip this behaviour in the bud early and leave her out of the baby shower.
4 Casual Co-workers
These are your surprise guests. The ones that you say “OMG! I didn’t know you’d be here!” as you offer a forced smile and graciously accept their gift.
Chances are, they didn’t expect to be here either. But your best friend thought for sure you’d want Linda from Accounting and Lisa from HR here. After all, you do talk about them a lot, right? That may be true, but your friend may not have picked up on the sarcasm in your voice each time you relay one of your work stories.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice if these ladies take time out of their day to come to your shower. But it may create a false sense of friendship between you that can make the occasion feel awkward. And then what happens when you do go back to work?
You're Not Even Sure You Like Having Lunch With Them
Suddenly these work mates know more than you wanted about your personal life - they’ve now met your friends and family, they’ve heard about your birth plans - and now they are going to want to know more details about you and your child. You’ll feel obliged to fill them in and email them photos when you’re on mat leave.
Don’t do it. Before you know it, you’ll be sucked into a cycle of reciprocity that you never wanted in the first place. If there’s any chance of these women being invited, quickly tell your shower host: no colleagues.
3 The Distant Relative
This one may be tough to avoid, especially if your mother or mother-in-law is hosting the shower. They may feel that’s it nice to invite their cousin Gertie who you met at that one family reunion 20 years ago. The last time you saw cousin Gertie she was bending down to pinch your cheeks as you tried to wriggle free from her old lady grasp.
Cousin Gertie loves kids and wouldn’t miss a chance to welcome the latest member of the family. Trouble is, you don’t really know her and suddenly feel put on the spot to make her feel welcome and included. You may even feel pressure from your mother or MIL to start a regular dialogue with her because she so graciously showed up to celebrate you.
The Whole Time You're Trying to Figure Out How You're Related
And that just leads to regular contact or correspondence to keep her up to date on your baby’s growth and milestones over the next few years.
This isn’t the sort of stress you need at this stage of your life. You have way too many things to think and worry about than the feelings of some distant relative. So if you have a cousin Gertie in your family tree, be sure to tell your mother or MIL to limit the celebration to close family members only.
2 The Long-lost Childhood Friend
You were best friends in Kindergarten. You played soccer together when you were 10. And then just before high school, she moved away. Years ago you reconnected on Facebook and after the obligatory hi-how-are-you catch up messages, you stopped communicating even though you see regular photo updates of her husband and kids in your news feed.
It feels a bit creepy and voyeuristic to witness her expanding family life. You’ve seen her go from single to engaged to married to pregnant to mom of two all in the last 7 years. Don’t get me wrong, her kids are cute and maybe every now and then you ‘like’ one of her photos. But you feel like you know way too much about someone whom you haven’t physically seen in almost 20 years.
Then your current best friend runs into her at a work conference. They also used to be friends way back in the day and spend the afternoon catching up. Turns out this long-lost friend will be in town the week of your shower and so your current bestie invites her. Why not? It will be fun! Like old times!
Those Awkward Reunions with Friends You Lost Touch with
But will it really? You’ve both changed a lot in the last two decades. It may be fun to see her, but what if your reunion falls flat in person? She’s now in your home, eating sandwiches with your current friends and sharing in your baby news. Does this mean you now have to try and keep this friendship alive after the shower? Will she expect you to reciprocate for her next life milestone?
Of course there is a chance it could go well and you’ve now expanded your circle of friends. But let’s face it, you’re not likely to have time once your baby arrives to nurture this resurrected friendship. And there’s always the risk that she could be a Know-it-all, a resentful friend, or a Happy Homemaker in disguise. Since you haven’t seen her in years, there’s really no way to know what her personality is like now.
You’re opening yourself up to being double-whammied in that regard. So if your bestie asks you if you’d like her to invite Susie from elementary school, tell her you’ll just catch up with her on Facebook instead.
1 The Sensitive Friend or Family Member
Out of all the people not to have at your baby shower, this is by far the most delicate topic. I’m referring to your friend or family member who may find it difficult to be at the party because they are experiencing either fertility issues of their own, or they have recently suffered a miscarriage.
If there’s someone close to you who is in this situation, it doesn’t mean you can’t invite them. In fact, they may find it a bit rude if you don’t. But be aware that they may not want or be able to attend because it’s just too sensitive an issue for them right now.
If they decide not to come, don’t take it personally. Imagine if you were in their shoes: you’ve been trying to conceive for months and nothing’s happening. Or you’ve gone to a fertility specialist and the latest round of IUI didn’t work. Or perhaps you’ve gone so far as to try IVF and it didn’t take. Or you finally did get pregnant and lost the baby a few weeks later. Imagine how hard it’d be to show up at your friend’s shower and act all happy.
You Walk on Egg Shells at Your Own Shower so You Don't Upset Them
If they do show up, you also don’t want to feel like you can’t celebrate. You don’t want to feel like you have to mute your excitement for their sake. You can be sensitive to what they’ve gone through, but you shouldn’t have to hold back on their account.
The best thing to do in this situation is to casually let them know that your friend is planning a baby shower for you and you’d love it if they could come. But let them know you totally understand if they don’t feel up for it. See what their reaction is and decide if it’s worth sending a proper invite. Some might say yes to your face because they don’t want to offend you, but then may not RSVP in the end.
That’s ok too. Don’t get upset, don’t unfriend them, just recognize where they are coming from and reconnect with them at a later time. In the end, it’s probably better for the both of you if they don’t attend.
They Emotionally Drain You With Their Conversation
Remember, the baby shower is for you and your soon-to-arrive son or daughter. It’s a time to celebrate, relax, and revel in the fact you’ve come this far in your pregnancy without any issues. Your life is about to change dramatically and you don’t need any added stress. While the host is indeed doing a kind and generous act by organizing the event, it’s still about your choices.
Be polite and firm with your guest list, and effusive with your appreciation. Do that and you’re bound to have a wonderful time.