Thursday, August 23, 2012

Showerless

I've had two babies and zero baby showers.

What does it matter in the scheme of things? It doesn't. But it's still something that upsets me from time to time.

I didn't expect a shower with my first. I was just starting a new residency and lived thousands of miles from my family and friends. I certainly didn't expect the residency program to throw me a shower. And they didn't.

But there were some hard moments. Like when we were having a team meeting and they threw a spontaneous baby shower for a therapist who was a month less pregnant than I was.

The nurse manager did gather a few presents for me contributed by nurses, which was nice. It wasn't a shower, but it was a nice thought. I wasn't even all that upset about it until the next year, when another resident got pregnant and an attending told us to organize a baby shower for her.

I always thought that someday I'd have another baby and I'd be in a place where people knew me and liked me, and then I'd get a baby shower.

Then I got pregnant about two months into a brand new job. The floor I worked in my hospital was not the nicest floor in the world. As far as I could tell, they weren't big on organizing events for people. Two other women delivered before I did, and I'm pretty sure nothing was organized for them. So once again, I made it through my pregnancy without a baby shower.

Now I work on a floor where everyone is totally into organizing parties for people. I've already contributed money for a bunch of baby showers and bridal showers. And every time I go to one of these parties, it pains me. Because everyone thought to organize a party for these people and nobody thought to do anything for me. Ever.

I know it's such a lame, unimportant thing to get upset over, but I can't seem to let it go, mostly because I keep being reminded of it over and over. I mean, it seems like every other woman in the world has had a baby shower, and some of them multiple showers. Mostly, it just makes me feel unloved.

27 comments:

  1. I've never had a baby shower either. Few people were excited for my first because I was 19; I was the first of my friends to have a baby and to them all it meant was I couldn't go party with them so they all pretty much dropped out of my life in short order. Even if a family member had thrown me a shower, there wouldn't have been anyone who wanted to come.

    Where we live, showers for second or later children are not the done thing, so I didn't have one with my second either.

    Yet I buy presents, chuck a few dollars into the collection, etc. when others have baby showers because it is expected, but it is always with a bit of sadness.

    You're not alone.

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  2. After shelling out money for so many many people's birthdays, my birthday went unnoticed when I was in dental school. I don't mind being unloved by strangers. I just feel like when I spent money on them to make them happy on their day.. they should have thought to do the same. Maybe we should be shameless and organize events for ourselves!!!

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    1. Don't get me started on that! In my first year of college, I made a point of organizing birthday parties for every single one of my friends, some of them elaborate surprise parties. Then my birthday was during the summer and nobody did so much as call me! I was so pissed off, I never organized another party again during college.

      Finally, during my senior year of college, one of my friends saw how frustrated and insulted I was, and organized me a surprise half-birthday party in December. But it took three years for anyone to do that.

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    2. The best excuse I heard for this was, "you organize things so well.. we didn't know what to to do". Parties are pretty standard eh? A cake, a few presents?? So many people are just inconsiderate.

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  3. i'm so sorry to hear about this happening to you; i know that though it seems silly to get upset about, it still hurts. i'm not to the babies part yet, but i had that experience with my wedding. a bunch of friends and i got married within a year (i was right in the middle), and while i wholeheartedly celebrated each and every one of them, none of them came to my wedding shower--though family and old friends did--and not a single one of them came to my bachelorette party, which they organized! i sat at the bar for half an hour before calling my then-fiance, sobbing, to come pick me up. shameful as it is to say, i haven't forgiven them for that, and it was three years ago.

    all this to say, if you have another one (kid, that is) -- let us know! and we'll throw you a virtual baby shower. somehow. =)

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    1. Wow, what was their excuse for not showing up??

      This woman at my work told me she was shocked that they didn't make me anything on the other floor, and if I had another baby, she would definitely organize something for me, but I'm sick of promises like that, especially since I have no plans to ever get pregnant again.

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  4. No babies here, yet- but my friends all had assorted engagement parties and showers and the like- but it took friends of my husbands' family, and then some friends who heard how sad I felt that they all had that opportunity and I hadn't, to throw me what turned into 2 showers, one on each coast (husband is from the West Coast, where we were briefly living before our wedding, my friends were East Coast, and my mom was able to come with me to that one). We've since thrown an engagement party for friends who were feeling exactly the same way... It seems like some people just seem to communicate "I need a party" louder than others- us quieter folks seem to need to say something out loud in order to get that same treatment. It's really frustrating.

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    1. If I threw a fit, maybe someone would have done something. In retrospect, I wish I had. But then it wouldn't have been as special if I begged for it.

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  5. No shower here either. One of my friends asked if I was having one. I told her that it is poor form for the expectant mother to throw a shower for herself. This seemed to be news to her. My closest friends don't live near me, so honestly I wasn't expecting anything.

    I do find myself wanting to give small gifts to some of my friends who are about to have/just had a baby, mostly because I remember how isolated I felt during those first few months after my daughter was born. But then I feel like maybe that would seem weird to them since every one of them totally blew off my pregnancy. On the other hand, perhaps they deserve to feel a little weird.

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    1. I know someone at work now who is pregnant and doesn't work on my floor 'o showers, and part of me feels like I should try to organize something for her. But I suspect she has lots of friends outside of work and will likely have a shower, so she doesn't "need" it. Plus whenever I think about doing it, I feel that surge of resentment that nobody did anything for me.

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  6. Just to say, that totally sucks Fizzy, I can imagine how you feel. I've had that happen a lot with my birthday. When I first started here, we organized presents/lunch/decorations for everyone's birthday, so I was kind of excited for mine. Nada. It stung. This year I through myself a little party. Unfortunately its in extremely poor taste to throw yourself a shower... If nothing has come up by the third trimester of any co-worker's (first) pregnancy, I organize something small (collect money and get a gift card, get a cake) I think every woman deserves it.

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    1. Yeah, I've learned that being considerate to others doesn't in any way equate to people being considerate back. But even if you feel being considerate is its own reward, it still stings.

      I can't imagine throwing myself a party. Last year, there was a nurse I worked with who had the same birthday as me, and she suggested with both bring in cakes and celebrate together... seemed like a great idea, but then I had to tell her I'd be in labor most likely.

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    2. It wasn't a "party" per se, but I organized going out for drinks after work, as a celebration for myself and another co-worker with a birthday that week. I also organized my own birthday "date night", got the sitter, booked the restaurant, etc... because my husband is useless in that regard.

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    3. @ana -- Are you sure we're not married to the same man?

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  7. It really is "funny" (not really) how these things can hurt even though we are mature adults. I really don't know why, but I can still get all misty about not going to my Senior Prom in high school...
    When I had my first child (many years later) nobody threw me a shower BUT I got the most thoughtful baby gifts from busy friends - a baby quilt (for display ONLY) (hand)made by my business partner's grandmother...an antique pull toy (that Stubble LOVED and has saved for HIS someday children)...2 more "handmade by the giver" baby quilts (usable ones - one of which I just repaired last weekend that gets used by Stubble as a couch throw)...

    I also get all misty over how wonderful my friends were when the baby came even though we couldn't get together.

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    1. I don't think it's "funny" really. Does growing up mean that you have no desire to have special events in your life celebrated? Or to be given gifts by friends?

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  8. I am the organizer at work and no one ever organizes anything for my birthday! I make an effort to have a nice potluck lunch for the birthday girl or at least a cake. This year I got a card and a bag of dog treats (?!?!) from my boss. :(

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  9. Well, I don't have any babies (would like to some day, though), but I think I would probably cry if no one had a baby shower for me. Especially if it seemed like they were having baby showers for everyone else.

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  10. My mom and mother in law both threw parties for me. My friends and medical school classmates were too busy to plan it but they came. I am sorry there is not a close friend or family member who insisted on doing this for you.

    I do have a funny story though. I threw a big party- a goodbye party of sorts - on my birthday this year. I forgot that because of facebook people would know it was my birthday. And you know what?! People brought all kinds of presents. I meant for it just to be a dinner party and I was not pandering for presents.

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  11. Not everyone cares about gifts or parties. I'm self-conscious and do not enjoy being the center of attention. My birthday isn't listed on my FB account, and I'm okay with only family members and close friends acknowledging the day... or not. Low-key and private is nice.

    I'm not entirely clueless. Other people do not feel as I do, so I make an effort to send birthday cards/gifts/phone, give baby shower gifts (though I have no children), and pay attention to major holidays. As for organizing parties, I've never done it alone, but I've helped for my sisters and close friends.

    Unless a co-worker is a close friend, I'm not going to organize a shower. I'd probably give a nice gift and card, though. Socially backward I may be, but that's basic.

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  12. Thanks Fizzy for bringing up the topic. I can finally share it n vent.
    In every part of India, there is a baby shower in some form, almost, arranged by inlaws mostly. And so is the part of India I come from. I was doing MD away from my place when I was pregnant for the first time. So I didnt have any baby shower. I didn't mind much as I explained to myself that it was the distance which prevented any celebrations. But the second time around, I was in a job closer home( just 3 hrs away). My in laws visited me a few times, and as I entered the third trimester, I started getting excited about it. But alas, there was no baby shower for me. And the most painful was the nurses(from the same region as me) asking me if I had the baby shower yet ! Could never understand why I didnt have one. Never asked in laws. But I can still feel the pain in some corner of my heart.

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    1. In retrospect, I wish I had asked for one. But if I had, it would have been all the worse if it didn't happen.

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  13. Not having a shower is no reflection on you or your lovely family. And perhaps not even a bad reflection on all the people you were working with, as in some cultures, having a shower would be bad luck, and other people may be somewhat less extroverted and party-throwing/organizing, and perhaps another person had just lost a pregnancy and the thought of organizing a shower was too much to bear. These are all hypothetical, and perhaps none of them apply, but we just never know what is in the hearts and minds of the people who are around us. Someone i work with specifically asked me to come and look at and admire a beautiful handmade blanket she'd made for my colleague - who'd had a baby a couple months after me. While for a second i felt horrible, then i remembered the sighs that i've seen on others' faces when i've mentioned all the great hand me downs i've gotten, or the twinge on the face of my childless friend when she asks me about my kids, and I realize there is truly nothing i should be envying. anytime you feel that way, i'd look at a picture of your kids that makes you laugh, or, if you are with them, kiss some sticky cheeks or that sweet after-bath-smelling hair. for me, that solves all problems, for a few minutes anyway.

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    1. I realize it's a very unimportant problem. I'd imagine that if I were trying unsuccessfully for a baby for several years, which some women do, or simply longing for a baby, these parties would be much much more painful to me. I think there's a significant percentage of women for whom these showers are painful to attend... yet we keep throwing them.

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  15. Oh Fizzy, I am so sorry! How old are your kids? Can we have an online "baby" shower for you? I'm SERIOUS! Meg

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