Thursday, October 20, 2011

Banned from Baby Showers

Haha, I'm not really banned from baby showers. But that is the title of one of the blogs I like to frequent, and the phrase sure ran through my head a lot this past week.

Last weekend I went to my first baby shower for a couple that I consider my friends. Compared to the baby showers I've attended in the past, which were for moms who weren't in my friend circle, this one was a little bit different. This was the first one where I signed a card "Auntie Em"!

So, here I am at this baby shower, as a doula, but not as the pregnant couple's doula, thinking things that would surely get me banned from baby showers if I were to express them out loud.

The whole time I was suppressing the urge to get into pregnancy, birth and baby talk with the people at the baby shower. For one thing, I wanted to keep these friends, and you never know when one piece of unwanted information or advice could really piss someone off. Secondly, a lot of the family members in the room were either from a previous generation (which comes with its own beliefs and experiences and knowledge of how things go or should go), or from a younger generation that hasn't yet been exposed to the birth world beyond the fiction portrayed on television.

I think that its a fine line to walk, and probably why the blogger, Donna, decided to name her blog "banned from baby showers" in the first place. As someone who eat, sleeps, and breathes childbirth education and has numerous, recent, firsthand experiences in a variety of settings, (not to mention that I read about birth in my free time for fun, and I study maternal and child health in graduate school), I find it difficult not to share everything I've learned with everyone I encounter! I want to shout it all from the rooftops!

Now, don't get me wrong, I do not want to force anything on anyone, and I certainly respect someone's choices, but I respect them more if they are well-researched and well-considered. I would never ever openly judge a doula client or a friend for the choices they feel are best for them. But I am passionate about spreading knowledge, and I am of the opinion that pregnant women and their partners are severely under-prepared for childbirth these days.

Donna writes on her blog:
I decided a couple of years ago that it was probably more important to have friends than to educate them about why they shouldn't believe everything their OB says.
And that's how I feel, too. So, for now, all I can do is refer them to websites that they may not go to, lend them books they may not read, but otherwise keep my mouth shut at baby showers.

I promise I will! Please still invite me to your baby showers, friends!

5 comments:

  1. Good job being a good friend! I guess what I hope to never hear is, "Why didn't you tell me?" And I guess I could say, "Would you have listened?" It's like that with anything. I wish someone would have told me that music was not not NOT a good field for me to go into...but I wouldn't have listened. I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

    It's not only baby showers that aggravate...it's just gathering with women sometimes. I know several women who like to say things around me just to be antagonistic. I don't know why they do that, but I guess they are angry about their experiences and maybe just want an excuse to express it. But so far I have been successful just listening.

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  2. Thanks, Kristi! :) And good luck - but you seem to be handling it well!

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  3. How true! Friend or birth expert? Always a fine line! I realized when my sister was pregnant that I was going to have to learn how to be quiet and supportive if I was going to be allowed to be an aunt! So, I've learned how. And it has taught ME a lot about many things I didn't expect.

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  4. Just stumbled upon this post. What a fun read! It is difficult. Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. Thanks for reading. :)

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  5. I agree with you. It is really difficult to want to support your friends in their pregnancy but also not want to get anyone's bloomers in a knot over advice or information they really didn't want to hear. It is SO difficult to keep your mouth shut though, and I am always having to deal with the question "should I tell them what I know? Or just leave them alone and let them figure it out themselves?" Usually I end up doing the latter....

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