All babies are miracles, but every so often, a baby enters this world that defies the odds and proves how miraculous babies truly are. These babies often spend some time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). The NICU is one of the scariest places to ever find yourself as a parent. I speak from experience. My oldest son entered the world a full 16 weeks ahead of schedule at the cusp of “viability” as they call it. Motherhood began for me in a room surrounded by medical professionals who decided how I could interact with my one pound baby all while beeps and buzzer rang in my head. This isn’t the ideal way to start a life. As a parent, it’s easy to feel lost, overwhelmed and isolated even though you’re constantly surrounded by people….
All babies deserve to be celebrated but, how do you celebrate a second baby or a third or a forth when the mama already feels prepared? What does a non-shower baby celebration look like? The first step is to refocus on the real reason for a baby shower. Yes, it is to prepare mom for her impending bundle of joy but, more importantly, it’s to honor mom and celebrate the miracle of new life.
I was recently confronted with this conundrum when a good friend quickly accepted my offer for a baby shower with the caveat that she didn’t want a “shower” per se because she had everything she needed and she really didn’t want a “fuss.” My visions of a prim, frilly tea party shower with piles of gifts wrapped in floral paper now dashed, I went back to the drawing board and started thinking what does a non-shower baby shower look like. And I realized the heart of the event is actually more fun that all the trappings. Here’s what I did to make it memorable without falling into the trap of Pinterest perfection.
Refocus on the real reason you’re there
At its heart, a baby shower should always be about mom and baby but really, mostly about mom. A baby shower is mainly an excuse for girl-time before her social life is put on hold for a while. After all, she’s the one whose life is about to be turned topsy-turvy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fallen down the Pinterest rabbit hole as much as everyone else and thrown over-the-top themed baby showers (and had a blast doing it). But, as my ever astute husband pointed out to me at 11 p.m. the night before one of these parties, “Isn’t the theme of a baby shower, you know, ‘baby?’” Mind blown. I had completely lost sight of the whole point of the festivity. So, with my non-shower baby celebration, I had an opportunity to really focus on the motivation of this event.
Select an easy location
If you’re trying to keep things simple, this isn’t the time to decide to transform your backyard into a baby oasis. Pick a spot that is naturally pretty like a local park or a spot that’s designed to accommodate a large group of people like a restaurant. For our party, we picked a restaurant the mama loved that was a little off the beaten path. We ended up getting a whole side of the restaurant almost entirely to ourselves! If you pick a restaurant, do call ahead to let them know your coming and roughly how many people to expect. Don’t forget to tell them why you’re coming, if you get the staff excited you’ll probably get extra special treatment!
Bring a few special touches
Once again, this isn’t the shower to go crazy on the DIY’s but it is okay to bring a few things to make this outing feel different than just a girls lunch. Think about how much you might spend throwing a traditional shower in your home or at church. Between the food, décor and a gift, those showers can really add up so, it’s okay to do something a little special for this celebration as well. My friend was expecting a sweet little girl and is pretty feminine herself, so I decided getting a little girlie was what we needed. I ordered a couple of balloon bouquets in pink, white and gold and called a local florist to order a delicate, pastel colored floral arrangement for the table. When I arrived, the wait staff had the tables set up and helped me tie a balloon to the back of each chair and put a few by the door. (Whenever I decorate with balloons, I always put them on the chairs if possible so strings aren’t blocking guests’ views across the table.) The floral arrangement was the perfect centerpiece and, after the party was over, I sent it home with mama as a little gift to remember her special afternoon.
Say a prayer
Most women are thrilled to not have to put up with some of the normal shower shenanigans like guessing the type of baby food or the girth of the mother’s belly but you do want to make sure that there is something special about this lunch to highlight the reason you’ve all come together. I think a prayer of blessing on the mom and baby is a great way to do this. There are a couple of approaches but, in my case, I offered to open the prayer and someone else offered to close and a few ladies popped in the middle. But, you could also write specific prayer requests on popsicle sticks and pass them out to everyone and ask people to pray specifically for those items. Either way you do it. A great time to pray is just after the server has taken your orders but before the food has come.
Picking up the check
Each of the guests knew that they would be covering their own tab for the lunch and I planned on picking up mama’s (despite her protests). As I was leaving, several guests quietly gave me a couple dollars to contribute toward mama’s meal. The whole system seemed to work well and kept the check haggling to a minimum which made it easy for the wait staff as well and didn’t make for an awkward end of the meal.
I hope you’ll keep some of these tips in mind the next time you have a new baby to celebrate! I’d love to know if you’ve found ways to keep focused on the true reason for a baby shower in this world of Pinterest perfection. Share your tips in the comments below!