Today I went to a baby shower, the first I’ve been to since having a baby of my own. It was a surreal feeling being there now that I’m on the other side of pregnancy. It was only about a year ago that I was the one sitting in a white chair opening oversized boxes covered in giraffe wrapping paper.
Amidst the funny onesies and mini sandwiches, I couldn’t help but think: This doesn’t feel quite right. Games and presents are fun, but how are we really helping this woman prepare for the messy journey into motherhood?
We should be cleaning her house before for the baby’s arrival. Her feet are swollen, but her nesting instincts are in full swing, so we should be there with mop and bucket in hand. We should be loading her freezer with frozen crock-pot dinners and microwaveable burritos. We should be stocking her cabinets with granola bars she can eat one-handed while she nurses in the dark. We should be walking her dog, washing dishes, and taking out the trash.
We should be telling her that as truly magical as becoming a mom is, it is harder than anything else she will ever do. We should be telling her that she will fall head over heels for her little nugget, but that the love might not be there right away. We should be telling her that many things are about to be completely out of her control, which is both the scariest and the most exciting thing about parenthood.
And finally, we should be celebrating her AFTER her baby arrives. Because being surrounded by people who love you at your shower is lovely, but being surrounded by those same people postpartum is a necessity.
I hope this new mama never knows the loneliness that can come after the baby has arrived and the guests have all gone. I hope that we shower her with so much love post-baby that she can’t even imagine doing it alone. And I want us to be there to give her the best gift you can really give a new mother – A real shower, in peace.