08 February 2009

q&a: baby showers

Q. Hello, Miss Marta. I'm hosting a baby shower for a first-time young mom in my neighborhood. I'm keeping things very low key, but I'd like to include an activity of some kind, some sort of non-typical baby shower game. I'm coming up short. It needs to be budget friendly, accessible to older ladies and younger ladies alike. I thought you and all your creative juices and genius would have some ideas?

A. oh, yes. the Baby Shower Game. what a great obstacle. you want a vehicle for conversation. a game to keep your guests buzzing, not bored. something easy, fun and entertaining, not tacky or embarrassing. after all, the whole point of a baby shower is to honor the lady in waiting, not terrify her. once i heard about a horrible game requiring guesses about how many inches around a pregnant lady's tummy had grown. yikes. now that would never be fun, ever. the least bit fun while in a state of water retention and high hormone turmoil. hopefully i have a better idea for you. all thanks to the hostess with the mostest, mary.

my sweet sister-in-law, mary, hosted a fabulous luncheon for me last summer. every detail was lovely. we partied on the patio with close friends and cool mint lemonade in our cups. while we enjoyed a delicious lunch, we played a perfect baby shower game. it's simple, fun and educational for the new mama-to-be.

mary passed out index cards to all the ladies. we each wrote down a question about motherhood, pregnancy, or birth, etc. this was a great game for everyone. whether you're young, old, whether you've had a child or not, we all have questions about kids. mary then gathered up the cards and gave them to me. i read each question aloud and the group laughed and agreed and answered each one, everyone adding their own tips and experience. some of the questions were ones i hadn't even thought of, but very insightful.

what should i take to the hospital? (mary's helpful advice, bring clean socks to wear for the delivery.) what do i do if my baby gets sick? which is the best baby gear to buy? how do i help my toddler behave at a restaurant? does an epidural hurt? what can i expect for recovery? how can i help my husband bond with the baby? what should i do now to prepare my nursery?

all the light hearted questions got us chatting, learning wisdom from the older women and ideas from the younger gals. delivery experiences vary greatly, so it's nice to hear a collection of tales. most mothers love to tell their story again and again.

thank you, mary.
it was a beautiful celebration for our baby bird.

on a side note. when i was pregnant, i wanted to know exactly what i could expect from the moment i felt my first labor pain. i wanted to be completely prepared as possible. little did i know everything i thought would happen, didn't. and visa versa. i thought the epidural would be terribly painful or have major complications. nope, the epidural was glorious. the best thing ever. i thought i would be in labor for hours. nope, benji wasn't tolerating it well, so i had a surprise c-section and in moments i was wheeled into surgery. hello!? surgery? wasn't at all planning on getting sliced open. i wondered if dan would bond to our babe. are you kiddin' me?! benji and his dad are two peas in a pod. the cutest thing ever. i wondered how nursing would go and feared the worst. it's way better than i ever imagined. feeding him is a learned skill, but well worth the effort. i thought i would be taking benji home from the hospital in a matter of days. nope, our babe had to stay a few more days for extra tender care.

basically my advice to you new mamas is, expect the unexpected. be flexible. be happy. be positive. know that this experience will make you stronger. be nice to your nurses and they will be nice right back to you. nurses are like angels. they became my best friends. around the clock ice water refills and offers for a dose of pain killers is a surefire way to make a new bff. they will give you good advice, if you just ask. and they will care for you in ways you might not expect. i'll never forget the time my nurse gave me a big hug when i found out benji had to stay in the nicu. she didn't say a word, she just hugged me. it was exactly what i needed. i still get teary thinking about her and that moment.

read books to prepare yourself and don't skip the c-section parts, love your baby and sing to him from the get go, take tons of photos and let dad hold him a lot. everything will work out. you were born to do this. and after the baby arrives, put down your books and let your instincts lead. the first few months are precious, give him your undivided attention. pause everything else in your life and enjoy the brand newness.


--r said...

thank you for the mom advice. i go tomorrow to be induced, which wasn't what i had planned but i suppose it's a first lesson in flexibility. i'm looking forward to joining the ranks!

discourseanddesign said...

Thank you for the honest and really helpful advice. It is so interesting, the journey to motherhood, as you said it is about staying in the moment and not having specific expectations of anyone including yourself.
I could list all the reasons I think you are right, but most of all want to say thank you for keeping it all in perspective!!!

KJ said...

marta, this game was perfect for our crowd, and really got people talking, and giggling "will my boobs ever be the same again?" well, NOPE! and "What if my hubby passes out during labo?r" and "how should I prepare for breastfeeding?" and "what do I need in the hospital?" were all great questions and proved to be very enlightening to our new mommy. Thanks!

Holly said...

sounds ike a fun, non stressful game. was benji going to be bruce??

summer said...

loving the weekend blog posts
loving the "side note" section
loving having happy dreams of being a mom someday.

thanks marta!

brooke said...

That salad looks divine. I'm sure Mary is an excellent host--she is so sweet and kind. I love your advice--it is perfect.

Christina said...

Oh, sweet Marta, great advice as always. Makes me think back so fondly on that time of waiting for #1. You are wise beyond your mothering years. :)

TravelinOma said...

Your first picture is so typical and so cute. The hand to the heart gesture? Darling!

leah charbonneau said...

Thanks for the honest and upbeat advice. I'm expecting in June and found that woman like to give horror stories and make this out to be horrible experience. I'm so happy being pregnant and can't wait for this little guy to get here. Of course I'm nervous but I'd rather focus on the positives and make this a great experience instead of a scary one. Thanks again!

ali said...

Hey! I spy my cute mom!

And also, I love a lovin' spoonful of motherly advice on a Monday morning. T minus five days ... and counting. :)

sarah at twolooseteeth.com said...

I threw a baby shower with some friends for my sister and we brought a bunch of puff paint and a pile of plain white onesies to decorate. It was pretty inexpensive and gave people something to do with their hands. Plus, showing off your onesie was a great icebreaker, and the mom ended up with a bunch of party favors she could use!

katie, dave, lucille said...

perfect advice for me. i'm actually headed to my final baby shower tonight before the arrival of our little guy in 4 weeks. i can certainly relate to your questions and i appreciate the candid responses.

Alyssa Coberly said...

oh hehe - - i just threw a baby shower (http://chicagocoberlys.blogspot.com/2009/01/guess-girth.html) and played the guess the girth game and it was hilarious! and the mom to be loved it ... I think it just depends on the people in the crowd :0) girlfriends yes, work party - - maybe not so much ...

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