Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bawling at a Baby Shower?

Last week, I went to a baby shower.  I love baby showers with all that I am.  I love them so much, I planned two of my own!

My friend, K., is having twin girls -- her first babies!  When I received the shower invitation, I was thrilled.  I hadn't seen K. in about seven years.  In fact, the last time was when I was well into my own first pregnancy, so I could not wait -- not only to celebrate these girls-on-the-way, but  I also relished the thought of a few face-to-face minutes with my dear friend.

I walked into the shower, saw K. and before I knew it, I could hardly speak.  Tears welled, throat closed and I wanted to drop to the floor and sob.  Not the reaction most women have arriving to a celebration of new life?  I'm not so sure.  I think we keep our emotions in check quite often and that if we wanted to be very very honest, there is a part of every mother that wants to let the water works turn on full blast each time she confronts the memory of her own pregnancy and childbirth experiences.

And that's what a shower is for, right?  Not only to provide the new parents with the necessities -- diapers and burp cloths -- and lovely luxuries (K. got these gorgeous little crocheted hats for the girls that were so sweet I knew everyone in the room had an urge to taste them!).  A shower is also a chance for women to gather and share their own stories, stories we never get tired of telling, but that everyone near us has heard more than they care to recall.  Our pregnancies are the times in our lives when, as K. said, everyone is our best friend. Everyone wants to care for us, cater to us, ask us too-personal questions and offer unsolicited, but always well-meaning, advice.  Any intimate detail now becomes a perfectly acceptable questions to ask -- boy or girl? epidural or natural? bottle or breast? what does your belly button look like?  In K.'s case, she and her husband are keeping one little detail secret -- the girls' names.  They've been chosen, but for now are only for the parents-to-be to enjoy.  While personally I think this is a delicious treat they have given themselves, others at the shower were not as pleased and tried all kinds of clever tricks to get K. to reveal the monikers.  She kept mum.  Of course, like the silly games everyone resists, but would sell out their own mother to win, at the shower all of this is done with the grace and a smile.  It is a baby shower, after all. And after months of being interrogated by medical personnel and hazed by her own body, the shower is the woman's formal initiation into the society of motherhood, Maternity.

I know my response was a bit odd and I did try to keep the tears back for most of the party, but I had really missed my spunky, incredibly wonderful friend. Now she is becoming a mother; and though I don't know the names of the baby girls she is about to bring into the world, I do know the joy, the heartache and the hope that lies ahead. I couldn't help but be overcome.

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