This approach is not shared by all infertile women, and I respect people's individual choices. I think we each go through different experiences and figure out what we can do and what we can't. For me, a gathering of women celebrating the one big dream I wasn't sure I would ever get to fulfill was too much. That was an automatic no for me, so much so that I stopped being invited altogether.
Then I got pregnant (again) (and this time for a longer time and it resulted in a living baby).
My dear, lovely, generous friends wanted to have a gathering for me. I politely declined. I could not bring myself to go through with that, for many reasons. I felt guilty for not having shown up at so many baby showers, and not having supported many of my friends through early motherhood. I felt like at this point, I had grown to HATE baby showers and so why the fuck would I want one. I wondered if I needed to believe I was going to have a baby to have a baby shower, and unsure of the answer, I had to forgo the experience.
I don't feel like I missed out.
(but tell me if you think I did)
I went to a baby shower this afternoon. My first one in....shit....I can't even remember. It was a lovely gathering of women for Lianne, this great woman I know a little bit and like very much. I wanted to be there especially because she has struggled psychologically with some aspects of expecting a child and turned to me for support. In turn, I wanted to show my support by joining in the gathering.
It started early last week. I found myself complaining, complaining, and complaining some more to Mr. A about ALL the crap I had to do for this stupid shower. Bring cheeses and crackers. Bring a photo. Bring a bead. Bring a fucking affirmation. 'This is too much', I thought. 'The excessive meaningfulness is going to make me vomit' (and I did vomit, but that was because Gummy gave me the stomach flu by vomiting on me twice).
But last night, as I was flossing, I thought "Augusta, what the hell is up with all your complaining about this shower?" I had to admit to myself a few things:
1) I still felt anxious about going to baby showers.
2) I had nothing to offer a woman about to give birth on the topic of birth.
3) I was scared for Lianne. In my mind giving birth is still scarier than meeting the Yeti.
It was good to have an honest conversation with myself about these things. I could check my fears at the door today, and try to make this experience about Lianne and not about me.
I went to the shower and it was mostly uncomfortable. The excessive meaningfulness did make me want to vomit at times, but I could also find it meaningful and sweet. Of course, when it came time to read affirmations, people had all these lovely wishes for the mother-to-be. I, on the other hand, pulled out a quote from psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott* and sobered the mood right up.
There was a game of trying to guess whose were the baby pictures on a board, and people talked about wether their babies looked more like them or their husbands. Always an interesting one for a DE mom. And then I tried talking to a friend I hadn't seen since April and she wouldn't even look at me. There were other parts too, good parts, but I left feeling like I just had been at a gathering of ornithologists and all I know about birds is that blue jays are blue.
I'm not ready to reinstate the moratorium, but I would say these darn baby showers are still hard. I've got a few more coming up, and I probably need to spend less time complaining to Mr. A and a little more time shoring up the necessary inner resources to attend.
*"I would rather be the child of a mother who has all the inner conflicts of the human being than be mothered by someone for whom al l is easy and smooth, who knows all the answers, and is a stranger to doubt."