If I could name the season of life I’m in, it’s baby shower season. A few years ago, wedding season began. That is starting to wrap up (still a few straggling invitations to come, though). And, so, naturally, as things go, many of the couples who I witnessed say, “I do” a few years ago are now sending out the “We’re expecting!” notices. And I am going to a lot of baby showers. As a woman who doesn’t plan on having children and who has come to terms with it, going to all of these celebrations of babies and pregnancy brings up some interesting feelings and experiences. They aren’t necessarily bad or good, but I can’t help but feel like…an intruder? Or…an imposter? I feel that I’m at the meeting of a club of which I am not a member. When a woman becomes pregnant, she changes from being a child to a parent. That’s not to say that I’m a child, but, there is this major transition that everyone I know is going through that I’m…not. Here is what it’s like to attend baby showers as a woman who doesn’t want kids.
I wonder if they know
I almost feel like I’m wearing some sort of scarlet letter that everyone can see. I’m sure I’m totally projecting and it’s all in my head, but it’s hard to shake the idea that everyone thinks “She doesn’t belong here” when I walk in, because I’ll never officially be joining that baby-makers club.
Do they fear I don’t want to be there?
My close girlfriends know that I won’t be having children. Naturally, they still invite me to their baby showers because we are close, and I am happy for them! But I can’t help but wonder if they think, “She doesn’t even want to be here. She doesn’t like all this baby stuff. She’s here to be polite.”
It’s a foreign language
All of the women who already are mothers talk a lot about baby stuff at baby showers. Of course they do. I get that. But I have not idea what anyone is talking about. I feel as if I’m in a foreign country. It’s hard for me to participate in any conversation.
The gifts go over my head
When I’m at a bridal shower, and I watch the bride-to-be take out negligee after lacey thong, I know how to react. I understand what I’m looking at. But when I’m at a baby shower, unless it’s just some adorable baby clothes, I have not idea what that thing is that the mama just took out of the bag. I have to look at everyone else to figure out what my reaction should be.
Alright, there is some financial resentment
I’d like to say I’m a saint who is so thrilled to spend money on my friends. If I were wealthy, that’d be the case. But, as it stands, I’ve attended four baby showers in the last three months, I am not rolling in money, and I find myself wondering, “Why am I participating in funding a choice that you made?” I know I sound like a grouch. I am happy for my friends. But, really four baby showers in three months. My savings for those months were nearly eaten up by babies that aren’t mine.
And I doubt where my money is going
Since I’ve never had kids, I don’t really understand these products I’m buying on the registry. When I buy wedding gifts, I can buy a food processor, and think of all the ways it will make the recipient’s life easier. But when I buy something called a chair nest, I can’t help but think, “Is my money really being put to good use here?”
When asked if I’ll have any
Babies are the topic of the day at a baby shower. So it’s normal that many, many people ask me, “Do you have any of your own?” and then, “Oh. Okay. Well are you going to have any?” And when I say, “No” it gets awkward. By simply speaking my truth, it feels like I somehow just rejected and insulted the event we’re at.
When my mom is in attendance
My mom is invited to many of the same baby showers I attend. Many of these friends are childhood friends, and my mom is friends with their moms, so she’s like part of the family. But that means I sit next to my mom, who desperately wants me to have kids, and watch someone else unwrap little diaper bags and baby booties.
My mom gets baby fever
You can imagine what the drive home is like with her. “It’s a very beautiful thing to be a mother. Many women say it changes their lives. It brings you and your partner closer together.” Yes mom. I get it.
I feel like the black sheep
I’m still young so, if we’re all going to meet for brunch on a Sunday, I think we’re going to have mimosas and have a good time. And, we are going to drink mimosas but, we’re sort of only supposed to have one or two. And we’re supposed to talk about baby stuff, not the party I went to last night where two guests had sex in the shower and broke it. There is a tone to a baby shower, and I’m adjusting to it.
A missing camaraderie
There is this camaraderie among the moms. Those who have had babies now—they had the now mother-to-be at their baby showers. Those who will have babies know that these mothers will be at their baby shower. At one point, each one is the woman sharing this vulnerable moment, opening up the little rompers she’ll put on her cutie, and letting everyone touch her belly.
I feel like an intruder
There is something fair about it because everyone had her turn in being so exposed. Every woman let each of these other women—or will, at some point—in for this once in a lifetime (or a few times, depending on how many kids they have) day. I almost feel like an intruder, participating in this very personal event, since I’ll never have any of these women at any baby shower of mine.
There are always the star guests
You know the one. She’s like the Helen character in “Bridesmaids” (played by Rose Byrne) who goes so over the top to be the best friend at this time that it’s kind of rude—it makes everyone else look bad. Here I am, having spent $75 on some bottle warmer and changing pads, feeling pretty good about that, and this b*tch (sorry, do I sound bitter?) busts in with a $2,000 designer crib she purchased for the mom-to-be. That wasn’t even on the registry!
Talks with my partner
There are two people in my life with whom post-baby shower interactions are awkward. We covered my mom, then there’s my partner. He—to be polite—asks how the baby shower went. I—to be polite—gush about it. Then he asks again, “You…still don’t want to have kids, right? We’re still on the same page about that?” I assure him yes, yes! But now he doesn’t believe me because I told him how cute all the rompers and booties were.
Can I have a doggy shower?
Hey, having a dog is not cheap. I rescued this dog from a life on the streets. I pay for her insurance, her flea prevention, her heartworm prevention, her grooming, her vaccines, her food…I’m just saying. It crosses my mind. Can I throw a doggy shower for myself?