J.Q. asks from Saint Paul, MN on April 03, 2008
Baby Shower Etiquette
I am almost 8 months pregnant with my third child. My stepsister is also pregnant but a month behind me. I just received my stepsister's shower invitation in the mail today. My stepmom is hosting a shower for her. It is her first baby conceived after invitro and much anticipated. Now, to give you a little more info. My mother died when I was 13 from cancer . My father remarried a year and a half later to my stepmom and I have had a pretty close relationship with her ever since. When my first son was born, I was also planning my wedding. I know it is a little backwards but that is how it worked out. My stepmom didn't host a shower for me at that time. She also didn't when my second son was born. I thought maybe it wasn't her thing but it's not like you can say anything. Now, I got this invitation in the mail today and was really hurt. I feel angry and slighted. I am being fair? My father insists that it is bad etiquette to hold a shower for a third baby. I was hoping that we would have one together. I don't know. Any advice on how to handle this situation would be helpful. Thanks.
M.K. answers from Chicago on April 03, 2008
If your family is trying to adhere to the Traditional Rules of Etiquette, then, yes: showers are only thrown for the first-time mother, to help her "stock up" her layette and prepare for her first baby. Any additional children are "gifted" by friends and family after they are born (usually during their visit to meet the baby).
That being said, the Traditional Rules of Etiquette also dictate the following. And we already know that your family is breaking rule #1 (and probably rule #2!!)
1) Traditional etiquette dictates that it is inappropriate for a family member to throw the baby shower. Baby showers should be hosted by friends of the Mom-To-Be. (This rule doesn't seem to be upheld by many people these days!)
2) Traditional etiquette dictates that it is inappropriate to register for gifts. It is simply rude to direct your guests to a list of gifts that they should bring. (Everyone I know, including myself, breaks this rule!!)
But you asked for suggestions on how to handle your situation. I suggest that, instead of being angry on the inside and letting it eat you up, you ask your stepmom why she never threw you a shower for your firstborn. But be prepared for any answer she might give.
Furthermore, she most likely is in alignment with your father about showers only for the first baby only, so she is not going to throw you a shower now. (And, as a first-time Mom, your stepsister likely has no interest in sharing her shower with you).
At least, you can tell her that you still feel hurt that she didn't throw you a shower. I hope that alone can help you to heal. I wouldn't count on getting anything more from her.
I'm sorry you are hurting. Try to focus on the joy that your newborn will bring you soon!
2 moms found this helpful
J.R. answers from Chicago on April 04, 2008
I can understand why you feel you have been cheated of the whole experience, never having a shower. I felt the same way, never having a church wedding with a REAL dress (first marriage in a courthouse - i wore a suit dress). So when my husband and I married (2nd husband) we went to Jamaica and darn it,... I WORE A BIG WHITE DRESS! :)
I can understand that you feel slighted and angry, like your step mom doesn't really care about doing this for YOU, but she will for her OWN daughter. I do not want to dismiss that hurt in any way... you are absolutely right to feel hurt. two sisters, mother figure throws shower for one, but not the other. (the whole 'step' situation should not come into play here... in my opinion). If you can find a subtle tactful way to let her know that you are hurt about it, then do it. But I would be careful not to squash the joy of your sister, or make her feel bad, so don't do it AT the shower.
I had a shower for my 3rd baby, thrown by my SIL's and MIL. because it was the first baby for my husband, and it had been 8-9 years since my last child - i had NOTHING. I do not believe it was tacky to do so - and i registered because people were asking me 'where are you registered?' so a lot of those rules have relaxed from traditional etiquette.
Why don't you ask your step mom to throw you a 'cigar party' after the baby is born. you can say 'since i never had a shower...(subtle dig there) i would like to have a cigar party... would you mind hosting it for me?'
Good luck to you... i'm sorry you are having to deal with the insensitivity and clear disregard for your feelings.
1 mom found this helpful
H.J. answers from Peoria on April 04, 2008
When my sister was pregnant with her second and my step mom got me into doing the shower with her my mom said why it's her second. And they weren't that far apart. I guess it is customary to only give a shower on the 1st child. I can see how you would feel though at the same time. I have had step mom problems for years. I have also gone through infertility so I know what that is like. We never have been able to have a child of our own but decided to go the foster parenting route. Our church threw us a shower. No one but my mom attended that.
But knowing what infertility is like I am sure that everything your step sister has gone through your step mom is excited for her and probably wants her to have the best pregnancy ever. Just think this may be her ONLY chance to experience pregnancy and everything that goes along with it.
Don't take that joy from her. Give her you love and support if that's the kind of relationship you have and try to let everything else roll off your back. I have had to learn to do that and after 33 years it's still not easy!! Good luck with the baby and everything, and enjoy yourself.
C.D. answers from Springfield on April 03, 2008
Sweetie, I share your feelings...but it's time to remind your dad that time's have changed. Everyone I know has held baby shower's for 2nd, 3rd plus children. A baby shower is a time for celebration for THAT baby, and each one should have their special welcoming. An alternative you can do is have a welcome party a few weeks after the baby is born.
M.K. answers from Chicago on April 03, 2008
My friend and I have decided that if our next kids are girls (we both have boys) then we will throw each other a small baby shower, just for the little girlie things. Not like the showers we had for our firsts.
If you are close with your stepmom maybe you could talk to her and tell her that you are hurt by this.
Did you have a first shower? Maybe she didn't know how to approach the situation with the wedding planning and all.
Or she could be like my mother in law and be a airhead, maybe your stepmom didn't even think of it if someone else was planning it.
L.K. answers from Chicago on April 03, 2008
Well, actually the mother or step mother should not throw the shower. It is to be hosted by an aunt,friend or some other relative even if the mother or mother in law are actually paying the bill .I can see that they would not want a shower together especially since this is her first and your third. It is ok to have a baby shower for a third child if it is not one child after the other and everyone was at the first one. Since you never had a shower maybe a close friend could host one for you. I agree it was pretty hurtful for your step mother not to have helped have a shower for you. Let it go if you can. She will never take the place of your own mother so keep her memory close and keep your head up.Build that bond with your own children because they along with your husband are most important. Congats on your new baby to be!Good luck!
K.G. answers from Milwaukee on April 03, 2008
I can see how you feel hurt. I think I would feel the same way honestly. As far as only having a baby shower for a first baby, I completely disagree with that. I've been to showers for 2nd, even 3rd babies, the point of the shower is to have special things just for that baby and to welcome that baby into the world, just as another poster said. That doesn't mean you have a big shower, but just a small gathering where people bring what they'd like, rather than all the big stuff cause you already have it anyhow. Don't listen to the post about it being tacky, her harsh response to your post was what was tacky!
I would just let it go. Go to your stepsister's shower and smile and be happy for her. Give yourself your own little "shower" by taking some time for yourself and going out and spurlging on your new baby girl! I know it's hard, but don't get angry, it will only make you feel worse. Take care and good luck.
G.B. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2008
Baby showers are for baby number one