Dear Boston Mamas: Baby Shower Etiquette

ialbert-owls.jpgToday's Dear Boston Mamas question comes from Renee via e-mail:

Dear Boston Mamas: Hello! I'm hoping to get some input/advice. I'm a mom to a 19 month old girl and I'm pregnant with twins. We do not yet know the genders. Several people have suggested to me that I should have a shower. I always thought of a shower for your 2nd+ kids as greedy and poor etiquette. However, given that we are expecting twins, there are quite a few things that we will need, especially if one or more of the babies is a boy. Do you think there is an exception to the etiquette if you are having twins?

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Dear Renee,

First, congratulations on your pregnancy -- I hope you are feeling well!

Now, I used to agree with your opinion that showers (whether for weddings or babies) are a one-time thing. But as the years have passed and I have seen loved ones go through complicated life matters, it's clear to me that things aren't always black and white. For example, if I had a friend who went through a bad marriage and divorce and then found her soul mate, would I want to throw or attend a second wedding shower? Absolutely! Same goes for baby showers, and I think the "appropriateness" depends on the circumstances -- also perhaps quantified as the need. For example, in my case, after three years of what seemed like secondary infertility, I became resolved with the idea of us being a three-person family and gave away almost all of my baby things. And then of course learned I was pregnant three months later. I was touched that my girlfriend Heidi offered to host a shower for me, and it was very welcome, given that I needed a lot of basics.

In your case, having twins following a singleton is a big deal! You may have all of your gear from your 19-month-old, but now you will need doubles of certain things (e.g., carseat) or different items altogether (e.g., double stroller).

Here are my thoughts on baby shower etiquette, depending on different scenarios:

1. I do think it's questionable to host your own shower. Maybe I'm a little old fashioned but personally, I wouldn't go there.

2. If a loved one offers to host a shower for you, graciously accept. And make a note to do something nice for that person as a thank you! (I purchased a gift certificate to Bella Sante for Heidi, which -- not surprisingly -- was a hit!)

3. If you haven't had a direct hosting offer, ask one of the people who suggested you have a shower (whoever you feel closest to) whether they would feel comfortable hosting. Offer to help (hopefully they will say of course they'd love to host and of course you don't need to help, but it's good to put it out there!), and also express that it's OK if they don't want to take on the responsibility (because the reality is, hosting a shower takes time and expense).

4. If you find yourself in scenario #3 but are not comfortable making the ask, then I would simply start emailing your friends with kids and ask about borrowing things. Part of the impetus for my secondhand baby shower was that many of my friends were done with the baby stage and were eager to pass along items to me. I suspect you will probably be able to procure a lot of clothes and gear from friends.

5. If a shower doesn't pan out and you still have a lot of needs after canvassing your friends, check out local consignment stores, Craigslist, and your town parent list (if there is one; check out my local resources page for leads).

I hope these ideas are helpful. Let me know if you have other questions and I'm wishing you a smooth pregnancy!

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Image credit: ialbert via etsy

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Have a question for Christine? Drop her a line! And of course feel free to comment in if you have recommendations beyond those made above.