When I got pregnant, I became superstitious. I stopped walking under ladders and started running away from black cats. I surprised myself at how nervous I’d become. Somehow being pregnant felt like I was filled not only with a baby, but with possibility. And possibility can be good–or it can be really bad. (For a primer on what can be bad, just read What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Scary!) So when it came time to have a baby shower, I balked at that, too. I knew that many Jews didn’t have baby showers–tempting the evil eye and all–and so that was my excuse.
Though a party sounded like fun, I didn’t want a pile of baby gifts in my apartment that I would have to walk by every day, making me nervous. So after much discussion, my friends talked me into having a tea party. A tea for me, not for the baby to come. We would celebrate life, family, and friendship…and I wouldn’t go home with a faux cake made of diapers and 10 onesies hand-decorated by my nearest and dearest.
For those of you who also don’t want baby showers, here are some alternatives…
1. Couples Shower
This is basically just a party. Before the baby arrives and changes your life, spend time relaxing with your partner and friends. Cocktails for all–mocktails for you!
2. Spa Day
Grab a few friends and take a day to relax. Being pregnant is hard work, and getting a pregnancy massage or a manicure is always a winning idea.
3. Helping Hands
Invite those helpful friends and family members to commit to helping out once the baby arrives. Appoint a friend to organize a list of tasks and have people sign up to help after the baby is born. They can deliver meals, run errands for you, come over and clean your house, or take the baby for a walk so you and your partner can catch up on sleep.
4. Freezer Party
Have your friends and family come stock your freezer so that when the baby comes you don’t need to be worrying about food. Encourage them to also “think outside the freezer” and bring dried fruit, or even a gift card for FreshDirect!
Take a bunch of friends to tea. Bring with you a bag that you’ve filled with random items from your home–a comb, a watch, sunglasses, a remote control, a water bottle, anything! Have each guest pull out one item and use it to inspire a wish or piece of advice for your new family. For example, upon pulling the watch out of the bag: “Though it’s important to take care of the baby, don’t forget to take time for yourself, even if that just means having a glass of wine after the baby comes!”
6. Giving Back
This works especially well for second- or third-time moms. Instead of collecting new items for yourself, collect them and donate them to a shelter. Or, have everyone bring some canned food for a soup kitchen.
7. Environmentally Friendly
Have your friends help plant a garden in your backyard–you certainly can’t bend over anymore with that belly in the way! And you’ll appreciate free organic vegetables once your little one starts eating solid foods.
8. Baby-proofing Shower
My husband spent many weekends installing cabinet locks, toilet locks, surge protector covers, and more. He still bemoans the hours of his life he can’t get back. Instead, invite over your most dexterous friends and have them do it. (You could do this one either before or after the baby’s arrival).
9. Gift Card Shower
If you don’t want to have gifts sitting in your house after your party, ask friends and family to bring you gift cards to your favorite baby stores. That way you can just get the items you want and need when the time is right.
10. Blessings and Wishes
Ask your friends and family to write down a few different wishes. One for you as you are in labor (although you might not feel like reading it then), one for your new baby upon his arrival, and one for you on your baby’s first birthday. Put them in separate envelopes to open on each occasion and then be sure to store them in your child’s baby book (if unlike me, you’ve actually gotten around to making one).