Need Your Help.. Need Your Opinion

Updated on May 05, 2008
M.O. asks from Surprise, AZ
20 answers

hi moms,
I need your input... My cousin's wife is due with her fourth baby this June/July. This time, the baby will finally be a girl!:) I've mentioned to her a few months ago that I want to host a baby shower for her and she responded with a happy, exited smile. Now, just a few weeks ago.. so sad to say that I just found out from my aunt the baby has some developmental challenges such as spina bifida.
I need to know from you moms on how am I going to approach the baby shower this time - I still want to give her one of course. but i need to know how now.. I figure this may be a joyous and delicate matter. I still want this to be a special and momentous occasion for her so I need your help on helping me plan her baby shower.. (i feel lost)
Should I tell the guests of the condition of the baby?
I also do need to know from you moms that also have her situation - having a baby/child with spina bifida. what things/gifts can I give that will help her the most for herself and the baby? could be before and after the baby is born.
I thank you in advance for your time and effort on helping me. Happy Mother's Day in advance too!!

Sincerely,
M.

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So What Happened?

To all great and wonderful moms.. thank you for your inputs. I am hosting the baby shower as planned, it will definetely be a special and joyous one as I and the family are so excited for her. It also turned out she is going to get 2 showers (one from me and another from a good friend of hers as well - yeah! I have spoken to her about not to be too worried about the baby, letting her know that she has a lot of support and care from everyone around her -family and friends)
I will incorporate your suggestions, thank you so much once again.

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C.S.

answers from Phoenix on

I have one child who was born with some special needs, granted I didn't know until she was born and no diagnosis still and it can be a challenge for families. I know it is such a hard thing to address, especially depending how private or open a person may be. If possible, I would try to find a time with just the two of you and ask her what she really wants. Maybe a women's day at the spa with a few close friends and lunch would be more what she needs to prepare. Maybe she still wants a regular shower. Everyone is so different in these situations and it is so hard to know what she is going through and what might help to her to celebrate the little angel she has been give, despite the special needs.

Best of luck with everything!! You show great love and sensitivity which is a great first step to what she will need through the process.
Take care,
C.

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J.V.

answers from Phoenix on

I would just treat it as a normal shower. This baby is special, just like any other, and deserves to be celebrated. Let her tell people, if she wants to, but just plan the shower as if everything is ok. That's my two cents :)

More Answers

T.C.

answers from Albuquerque on

Hi M.,
I've been to the baby shower of a Mom expecting a special needs child. All the guests knew. The party was a joyous celebration, like any baby shower you've ever been to before.

I read an interesting article once written by another Mom of a special-needs kiddo, who compared it to a trip (stay with me here). She said it's like planning for years and years to go on your "dream vacation" to Paris: you plan, save money, get very excited, buy special clothes for your trip, etc. Then the airplane takes off for Paris, and the pilot suddenly announces he can't go to Paris because of mechanical problems, and he's flying the plane to London, where you'll have to spend your vacation: London is still a wonderful place, full of fantastic places to visit; you still have a wonderful time... it's just not the vacation you had planned.

I'd have a few conversations with the Mom about what special things she'll need; the guests should probably be made aware so they can make more specific gift choices - but that's up to her how they are told. Think how happy Mom will be when she sees how much love and support she and this baby are going to get!

Remember: if you're throwing the party, and your attitude is somber, the guests will follow your lead.

Celebrate!
T

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D.A.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi M.,

That is a very good question. I would definitley ask your cousin if she wants everyone to know. As for the shower as long as she still wants one you would treat as any normal shower. It all depends on how severe the problems are. I have three cousins that were all born with spina bifida. All of them, while they have had their own hurdles and issues to overcome, walk, talk and act just like the rest of us and even have families of their own. Which by the way each and every one of their children are healthy and normal. The information she has been given is not neccesarily as bad as you think, there is still hope for this child to lead a normal life with a few hurdles to overcome. Give your cousin all your love and support and do as she wishes for the shower. Good luck and God bless.

D.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.M.

answers from Tucson on

I would approach the baby shower the same as if you didn't know that the baby has some problems..... each baby is a precious gift from God even those who have physical difficutlies. At the baby shower I would let the mom tell of the problems if she felt comfortable.... let her lead. Don't try to make her feel more awkward than she may already be feeling. Just celebrate this new precious life.

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L.W.

answers from Phoenix on

Hello M.! I think that you should still have the shower as planned. Just because the baby has spina bifida, doesn't mean the shower has to change.
I have a niece that has spina bifida. She is 12 now and as vibrant as ever. Yes, she is in a wheel chair and there is a certain amount of extra work that comes along with having a child with spina bifida. I do respite work for her and I have her about 3-4 days a week. Do they know the severity of the spina bifida?? There are different severities. My niece has the worst case however there are some that you can't even tell they have it and they are still able to walk.
As far as the gifts go....is she going to breast feed? I think a Boppy will be wonderful especially if she is having a c-section. The baby will need all of the same things that any other baby will need. The only thing that may be different is the clothes. And that just depends on the severity of the spina bifida and how the baby's back will be.
Just remember for the shower that this is a baby and a special blessing just like any other baby!! Have fun and enjoy it!!
I would be more than happy to sit down and talk with your cousin's wife (and you). And if she would like, she can meet my niece. Let me know.

L.
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J.L.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi M. O, My name is also M., I worked for a High Risk Maternity group in the Chicagoland area for 19 years and I learned a lot. There are different degrees of spina bifida. Some cases are corrected and some are more severe. It all depends on the severity of the spina bifida. I would ask if she wants people to know, and if not just plan a shower like you normally would and I think by that wonderful jesture alone is telling her how much love and support she has.

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M.C.

answers from Tucson on

Dear M.,
I am a mom and also a pediatric physical therapist. As a mom, I would not change a thing that you have planned. She still needs all of the regular baby stuff as well as cute girl stuff - the spina bifida will not change that and while people mean well they do not always respond well to too much information. As a therapist,she will need things that support and encourage her development. Baby gyms for reaching, a Bumpo chair for sitting, a sturdy shopping cart to help with walking if this is appropriate etc. Also, depending on the site and size of the defect, the baby may need surgery soon after birth and will be in the hospital for longer. Help with her other childrena nd meals etc will be essential. Hope this helps! M.

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V.J.

answers from Phoenix on

I don't have any personal experience with this type of situation but if I were in your position, I would just throw a regular baby shower. It's your choice (or maybe you could ask your cousin and his wife if they want to share that info) to tell the other invitees of the baby's special condition but if you do, I would just ask that everyone stay positive so it doesn't affect the mood at the event. You certainly wouldn't want to put a big raincloud on the day because that could really be difficult on the mom to be. Being pregnant is hard enough by itself and adding the worries of a special needs baby is undoubtedly taxing on her, so I would try to keep things bright and fun. Whether the baby is going to have special needs or not, a child is a blessing and a miracle. I think that's the most important thing to focus on and celebrate at the shower and when he/she is born. Just my opinion, but I hope this helps! =)

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M.C.

answers from Tucson on

It is very important that she feels as much support for this little one as if she was going to be completely healthy. I would ask her to register for her shower so that you know what she wants. I would be direct. It is probably her place to tell people individually, but she may want you to as well so just ask. This is her fourth child so she is an old pro at handling the things life throws at her. When people are afraid of our situations it can be just as hurtful than if they are completely careless. Invite her out for lunch and give her a chance to open up about what she wants. Continue to be excited for her and supportive and lovingly ask her the questions you need answered. She will absolutely appreciate your loving candor.

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S.M.

answers from Phoenix on

For sure throw a wonderful shower as though nothing was wrong. In addition to a gift people are bringing you could also input to have guests make a contribution on behalf of the family that supports research, treatment and cures of spina bifida. Good luck. Remember that you are celebrating the birth of the baby and the mother. It should be joyous.

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D.J.

answers from Phoenix on

I know nothing about SB, but it would seem to me that the baby shower should proceed normally. A child with health problems is just as wonderful blessing as a "normal" child (if not more!) and just as much to be welcomed and loved. I would think that the subject should not be avoided but also not obsessed over. The mommy will need extra love and support.

The postpartum period is SO difficult even with a healthy baby - I would think that one really helpful thing would be to have a sign-up to bring meals to the new family after baby is born. Our church did that for us, and it was SO helpful and supportive - I would think it would be essential for a special-needs baby's family.

Also, here's something that we just did at my friend's baby shower, and it was wonderful - it might work especially well for your friend. It's called a bead ceremony. Each guest selects a bead from a bowl and strings it on a wire, and as you go around the room doing this, each guess says a wish or a prayer or a blessing or some sort of loving statement to the mother. I'll print the examples we gave below:

- Encouragement: “You are going to be a great mom.”
- Love: “We are so happy for you.” “We can’t wait to meet your baby.”
- Prayers: “I pray for a wonderful birth experience for you.”
- Encouragement: “God has a wonderful plan for your life as a mother.”
- Friendship: Share a fun memory of -----’s pregnancy, or something especially precious about your own pregnancy, birth, or experience as a new mother.

The beads are then made into a necklace for the mommy to wear during labor and after baby is born as a reminder of the love of her family and friends. This might be applicable to her situation and would be a time for people to acknowledge the baby's condition while expressing unconditional love for both her and baby.

Blessings!!!

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L.B.

answers from Phoenix on

I know I am later in responding to this, yet I really wanted to do so. My grandson was born with spina bifida 15 mos ago. His is a severe SB and he will likely never walk. He has had 5 surgeries this past year. However, this has been a wonderful time for us despite the challenges. He is an amazing baby and a true joy in our lives. I know it is scary when there are so many unknowns and there still are times that it is scary for us. Yet, there is so much joy and love too. The doctors at St. Joseph's are so amazing and they take really good care of these babies. (I'm assuming that is where she will be, due to the specialists and resources they have there.) Please throw this shower and remember to have joy with her. This baby will be loved and enrich their lives despite the challenges. It will help her through the trauma of it all to be able to have people to celebrate with too. No one wants people to be sad because they are having a baby. I think there have been some wonderful suggestions so far. I would say that one of the nicest gifts you can give her is to let her experience the joy of her baby with you rather than all the sad. Yes, the surgeries are hard (we had another one last week), yet in between those, are the wonderful everyday joys that every mother experiences with all their children. As for gifts, a boppy is an excellent suggestion, and any regular gift ideas too. Things will be more normal than not most days.

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K.C.

answers from Phoenix on

M.,

Spina Bifida can be mild to server. You should find out how bad it is. Hopefully it's not that bad and can be fixed after delivery. You can also google it and find advise and hopefully a support group in her area. Call the county in your area too. They usually have some type of program to help the kids and parents and it should be free. As far as the shower, ask your cousion if she wants people at the shpwer to know and do what she wants. Good Luck.

K.

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J.J.

answers from Phoenix on

you should still have the shower. she needs to know that she has your support in a time like this. just because the baby has some challenges doesnt mean it isnt a happy occasion. you can shoose nto to tell your guests to protect her privacy but if she were my cousin and if i was close enough to her to host a shower i would aske her what she wants to do. if she chooses to let the guests know then go ahead if she doesnt then dont. im sure they will hear about it eventually but it is her choice.

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L.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hey M.....

My advise is to "throw the shower as if you knew nothing"....

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M.A.

answers from Phoenix on

I would ask her about the baby shower and how she wants it done. If she assumes everyone knows, and you know not everyone does, then I would inform them to avoid mishaps later. If she wants it kept private and break the news herself then you know that and can spread the word to the ladies who do know and allow her to handle the news on her time. That way you can make the shower a pleasant celebration of her baby and sort of be the goto guy on her behalf. That way she isn't bombarded with questions, and it can truly be about the celebration of a new life and the mother carrying her. You will learn a lot about the way to handle the shower and what she wants/needs by talking to your friend and getting a feel for where she is at. Every mom loves the girly cute things and mom to be stuff! What a wonderful time to show her how much her baby is already loved and anticipated! I hope this helps!

L.H.

answers from Albuquerque on

Hi M.!
I agree with all the other moms that have suggested throwing the shower as you had planned. There is no reason to not celebrate and prepare for her arrival. I also wanted to say that two ideas on here were great and I wouldn't have thought of them! The idea about having the guests contribute to a fund for research as an extra present at the shower is so thoughtful and generous. Also, the idea about having everyone at the shower sign up for a day to bring dinner is a fantastic idea. If you decide to do the donation thing toward spinal bifida you would need to call all the people invited and tell them of your plan. Maybe you could get the money and make the donation to the foundation before the shower so that you could give it to her in a card. :) Good luck and have fun celebrating!

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C.W.

answers from Tucson on

A baby's birth is a wonderful thing. Personally I think everybody should know. And of course I assume that all people who will show up, absolutely love and care for both, mother and child, so they could do some research before the big day and give her some suggestions and tips. Also, depending on how bad the problem is, I would think that if there is some sort of surgery that can be performed to fix or lessen the problem, that they would give money instead of gifts, to help pay for this opperation. And of course, all the emotional support she will need will be appreciated. On the other hand, baby girl gifts will be needed anyway, so the baby shower should still be a wonderful event to have.

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K.E.

answers from Phoenix on

I would personally go about it as you planned, don't make changes or act any differently.
I also think it is up to the mom if she wants to mention the condition of the baby, also,
Dr's are not always right, so there is a chance the baby could be perfectly normal. I have known this to happen too. I would try to just be yourself and go about with things the way you planned.

Take care,
K.

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