"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
July 19, 2012
I Don't Want a Baby Shower
by Cyndie Swindlehurst

Question:

I am new in my ward, and I am expecting my fourth child. I work in Young Women with some very friendly sisters.

The other day, one of the Young Women leaders approached me and asked if she and the other leaders could throw me a baby shower. I was caught off guard and stammered something about this being my fourth baby and not really needing anything. She replied with great enthusiasm that they love throwing parties and really wanted to do a shower for me. I didnt want to be rude, so I said okay.

Now Im kicking myself. I dont want a shower! Why didnt I just say no?

Yesterday, the sister in charge of the shower asked me for a guest list. I dont even know anybody! I cant invite total strangers to a baby shower for my fourth child! Theyll think Im greedy! But if I cancel, theyll think Im weird and that I dont like them.

I need a way out. What should I do?

Answer:

Well, youre doing a pretty good job of kicking yourself for not saying no, so I wont pile on. Because saying no was, obviously, the easiest solution.

You might have put a touched and grateful look on your face and said, Oh, you are so kind to think of me. I am enjoying this ward and all of you so much. I feel so welcome here! But I really dont need a shower. Thank you for offering. Its very kind. Any protestations, insistence, or pressed offers might have been met with a grateful smile, a shake of the head, and Oh, no. But thank you.

As with any refusal, you would not have given any reasons for refusing. If you had said, for example, I have everything I need, she would have said, Oh, well do a diapers and wipes shower! Every baby needs diapers! which is true. Every baby does need diapers. And then you would have been stuck again. So you would have said only, No, thank you.

But now that you have accepted their offer, I think it would be overwhelmingly awkward to back out. These kind sisters do not subscribe to the general rule that showers are for first babies, and your sudden insistence on this rule would indeed be alienating.

So your goal is to smile and be gracious and keep the shower as small and simple as possible. You have two tools to accomplish this.

1. The Guest List

When I make a guest list, I usually try to include all friends of a similar intimacy or social circle. Invitations are social currency, and feeling left out is terrible. So, if I am planning a party, I will include all five friends in my daily social circle, even if I feel very close to Pam and Pat and less close to Rachel, Stephanie, and Roxanne. Including people is especially easy when planning showers, where the cost of adding another guest is a chair, some grapes, and a chicken salad croissant.

Fortunately for you, you are new in the ward and work in Young Women. Therefore, you have a ready-made parameter for your guest list: the Young Women leaders. If they insist that the list is too small, just keep repeating that a get-together with the other Young Women leaders will be perfect.

There is a theory that a big shower would introduce you to lots of new friends, but Im not sure I believe it. Attending someone elses shower is a great way to meet friends. But I agree that inviting a boatload of strangers to a baby shower for your fourth child seems greedy. Unless your home has burned down or you are a refugee or you are having your third set of twins or something. But you did not mention anything like that.

2. The Registry

Dont register anywhere for anything. If anyone asks what you need, just say sincerely, Oh, Im sure anything you think of will be nice. Then brighten, as if youve just remembered something, and say, Ive been meaning to ask you... and ask a question.

You obviously feel very awkward about this situation. But now, you must relax because there is nothing you can do beyond suggesting a small guest list and not asking for specific gifts. Even if you arrive at your shower to find they have invited the entire ward, just pop your mouth into an O, raise your eyebrows, and say, Wow! What a surprise! Then act happy.

At the shower, take every opportunity to get to know the other guests. These seem like very thoughtful ladies. Ask them lots of questions and take an interest in their lives and ideas. Above all, try to make them feel as special as they clearly want you to feel.

Do you have a quandary, conundrum, or sticky situation in your life? Click this button to drop Cyndie a line, and shell be happy to answer your question in a future column. Any topic is welcome!


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About Cyndie Swindlehurst

Cynthia Munk Swindlehurst spent her childhood in New Hampshire and her adolescence in San Diego. She served a mission in Manaus Brazil. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and from Duke University with a law degree.

She practiced law until her first child was born. She enjoys reading, tap dancing, and discussing current events. She and her husband live in Greensboro, North Carolina with their two sons.

Cyndie serves as the Sunbeams teacher in her ward.

Visit Cyndie at Dear Cyndie
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