• Fri, Apr 18 - 12:00 pm ET

All Women Going Through Infertility Hell Should Have A ‘No Baby’ Shower

Basic RGBDealing with infertility is its own special hell. It took us five years to conceive our first child and those were five of the loneliest years of my life. Infertility can be really depressing and isolating. That’s why I am totally behind the “no baby” shower idea that I read about today.

The “no baby” shower is a party you throw for your friend who is going through the hell of infertility. A writer in XO Jane talks about it today – and I think it’s a great idea. Since the trend doesn’t really exist yet – you can basically make it whatever you want:

This is why I’m finally making my dream a reality and planning a “No Baby Shower” for all of those in the trying to conceive trenches. They deserve a party and a goodie bag of treats just as much as anyone else. True, their goodie bags will be filled with ovulation prediction kits, maxi pads and chocolate — but still. It is my hope that all of those who attend will not only have fun but make connections with others who can empathize and support them.

Clearly, this isn’t an event that requires a registry and invitations – and you need to be really careful about the temperament of the recipient. I would have loved something like this when I was struggling with infertility. Every positive pregnancy test one of my friends reported, every baby shower I had to attend, every announcement on Facebook almost felt like a personal attack. Not to mention the fact that pregnancy tests and ovulation prediction sticks are really expensive! Goody bags full of this stuff would be a major score for the woman struggling to conceive.

It’s not about the party or the stuff. It’s about the acknowledgment of what someone is going through. It’s hard to respond to someone else’s pain – and the pain of infertility is no different. You never know if you are saying the right thing or doing the right thing for a friend that is taxed with this situation. Because it’s so difficult, we usually respond by doing nothing. I think a day of champagne, streamers, pregnancy tests and laughter is a damn good way to bring our “dark secret” of infertility out of the closet. So many women struggle with it and it’s still so hard to talk about.

Every woman is different and some may think it’s a horrible idea. But having been through a period of infertility myself – I think this is great. Also – there should be cake. Cake makes everyone happy.

(photo: PremiumVector/ Shutterstock)

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  • Butt Trophy Recipient

    OK, I thought of some no-baby shower games… they’re all sad :(

  • Rachel Sea

    My inability to get pregnant is pretty much the last thing in the world I want to be the center of attention over, but I do support any gathering which involves champagne and cake.

    • Lackadaisical

      Actually, forget the no baby aspect of it and have a girly cake and champers party for a group of friends that doesn’t revolve around a bump or bride to be and I am sold. We don’t have baby showers in the UK, thank goodness, and to me they sound like a twee stepford form of hell anyway. I haven’t had a girly party in ages and now I feel the need to throw one where no-one feels the state of their womb is on display. It needs pink champagne, chocolate and an excuse to dress up but without pressure.

    • Rachel Sea

      My best friend and I used to host Estrogen Night parties, where 10 or so of our female friends would come have a sleepover, and do girly shit. They were fabulous…I should do that again.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      Can I come?

    • Rachel Sea

      Are you transitioning female now? I expect that will put a damper on your dreams of being a sperm donor.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      Can I bring a bottle of Estrogen instead?

    • Rachel Sea

      It’s sort of like bringing wine into a venue. If you imbibe before you arrive, you’re cool, but there is no carrying containers across the threshold.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      man, this whole woman thing is so complicated!

    • Mystik Spiral

      No baby showers in the UK? Time to renew my passport and research emigration…brb.

    • Lackadaisical

      None. Also, no bridal showers. We have hen nights but that is about getting utterly drunk and you never, ever get gifts at them. I assume you have hen dos as well as bridal showers, or are bridal showers no longer the done thing?

    • Rachel Sea

      Bridal showers are optional, but pretty much everyone does bachelorette parties, which are our hen nights.

    • dresdenfae

      There are baby showers in the UK – I was just invited to one. I’ve declined to attend. We’ve been trying a year now and are just starting to get help. I can’t go to a shower for a person who had an accident on their honey moon.

  • Kay_Sue

    I think it would be something that would have to be so carefully done. But I could see wanting to spend time with my closest girlfriends and drink wine and eat chocolate and cry if I needed to. I’m a pretty private person about some things though, and conceiving falls on that line.

    I do think it’s important for folks to have support and if this is an outlet that someone would appreciate, more power to them.

  • Lackadaisical

    I worry that if planned by the wrong person a no baby shower will just rub the noses of people already feeling low in their lack of conception. I think it could work if a group of women who are struggling to conceive organise it together but imagine the accidental smugness and patronising sympathy (without intending to be patronising) of inviting good friends who are parents or pregnant. Imagine the struggle to understand but not quite feel it of those who would rather gouge their own eyeballs than be parents. However as a solidarity amongst women going through the same struggle thing it could be fun if done right.

  • bl

    Haven’t yet tried to get pregnant, so my opinion is not from experience, but there’s something off-putting about this idea for me. I can’t imagine getting fertility and period related gifts and expect to have fun. If a bunch of friends want to take a friend out for the day or give her the space to talk because she’s stressed and sad, that’s great, but I call that being a friend, not a shower. The term “no baby shower” and following the template of a baby shower would be horrible to me–especially if put on and attended by friends with kids.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      I could see this working for a specific person with a specific type of humor who has made it clear that it’s okay. Still seems like an emotional landmine, though.

    • Iwill Findu

      lets forget all about the “no baby shower” and treat our friends dealing with infertility to a spa day. Because everyone loves and needs a spa day. In fact spa days work for just about everything.

    • JLH1986

      YES! all day!

  • Momma425

    I didn’t go through infirtility- but had a severe bout of clinical depression in 2006 after my son was born still. I didn’t leave my room for 3 weeks and my family was severely concerned. My best friend came over and insisted I go with her on a day she planned out filled with “no pregnancy” stuff. We drank wine, ate brie, rose on a rollercoaster and ferris wheel, sat in a hot tub- basically enjoyed all the fun stuff that one can not do when pregnant.
    Of course I was still sad about what I went through, but she tried so hard to lift my spirits and I will never ever forget that. We are still besties. :)
    Some people might not be into the party thing- but others might just like to know they are very much not alone.

    • Bethany Ramos

      What a great friend. So sorry for your loss.

  • Caitlin

    I want this, but I know my friends lack the tact required to host something like this without crushing me emotionally. It would be so nice to be celebrated by my friends for just being me. But after attending endless baby showers and gender reveal parties, then reading a continuous stream of baby or pregnancy related announcements, infertility is incredibly isolating. No matter how much I try and open up, not one person I know understands. It would end up being a “sympathy shower”. I would end up in prison for asphyxiating a room of women with super plus tampons.

    • bl

      1. God, I forgot about gender reveal parties. Never will understand these just from a “what’s the point?” perspective, but I can also see how the extra parties could be a struggle for people dealing with infertility.

      2. Love the idea of friends just celebrating you. Adult friends should make a bigger deal of birthdays or just take random days and say “we’re celebrating so-and so today. It’s a fun event for everyone but centered on one person–what they like, they get the free drinks and special party hat, etc. And then a few months later do one for another friend.

      No need to force a shower. In the original article the author compares them to divorce parties or a friend who celebrates surviving her aneurysm. To me, not the same thing. A no baby shower comes in the middle of an ongoing struggle, not at a point of change or reflection, which would make it really really hard to celebrate tactfully.

    • Caitlin

      1. I totally agree! The only gender reveal party I enjoyed was when mom of three boys found out she’s having another boy. The party was immediately over. (Yes, I am a terrible person for enjoying her reaction so wholeheartedly.)

      2. I think it would be really nice if adults made a bigger deal on birthdays for friends that haven’t had those big experiences. With weddings, pregnancies, engagements, and housewarming parties, it would be nice to feel equally as important and appreciated as everyone else. I mean, don’t you think the person that has nothing to celebrate, deserves a fiesta most of all?

      The original author clearly is confused. Divorce or survival parties are totally different, getting there may have been hard, but you’re celebrating a resolution. Infertility is not the destination at the end of the road and there is no consultation prize.

    • Larkin

      Oh man, I can’t stop laughing at #1, so I guess I’m a terrible person too. Why on earth would someone have a gender reveal party if they were going to freak out if the gender wasn’t what they wanted? I mean… it’s a 50/50 chance.

    • Rachel Sea

      Maybe if it came when a woman decided she was going to stop trying, and be childfree instead of childless? I don’t know, I can’t imagine picking a day to celebrate it. I will probably never have kids, and I’m coming to terms with it, but it’s like being accustomed to living with an injury that can’t heal: I get along fine, but it still hurts.

    • Iwill Findu

      A gender reveal party has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever herd of. It’s not like you can keep it a secret until the kids turns 18. Tell people or don’t, find out or don’t. But once the baby is born everybody knows if you had a boy or girl, and I can wait a few more weeks.

    • JLH1986

      I refuse to attend gender reveal parties, 1-because WHY? 2-I am upset enough that ANOTHER person gets to have a baby and I don’t. I’m jealous but genuinely happy when a friend is having a baby but by the end of the shower I’m a mess. No way could I keep my composure while everyone plays the “boy/girl” game. Ugh.

    • Caitlin

      Within the last year I have started sending a gift with a friend and not attending showers and reveals. No matter how close or happy I am for them, the pain is too much. I’m afraid I will ruin their day by crying hysterically or with piercing looks of judgement. “But I wanted a GREEN boppy?!?” and I wanted a baby. so shut the fuck up.

    • JLH1986

      Thankfully my friends aren’t popping babies out left and right so I have some time in between. EXCEPT my husband’s cousin is having a shower and 5 other friends suddenly are pregnant. So I’m thinking I’m going to have to start doing that. After almost a year I’m starting to get very bitter. I know many others have been at this for a long time which is disheartening because I want them to have babies too. Just ugh.

    • Caitlin

      I wish I could give you some sort of sage advice about how it gets better and you just need to let go. But I don’t know how. I will say this, you are very loved and you’re not alone. The world may not be fair, but it is not out to get you. It may seem like there is a relatively constant barrage of have and have nots, but those that have are not trying to be insensitive. They just can’t possibly understand what you feel.
      For me, the best thing I’ve done is remove myself from social media. Also regularly reading mommyish has helped me realize that my struggle does not make me a freak, even if my community makes me feel that way.

    • JLH1986

      Aww thanks. Today was a really bad day (5 fucking announcements yesterday FIVE!). This actually made me feel a bit better. And I’m thinking a FB time out is on order. Sending love and light to you.

  • AP

    This reminds me of that episode of “Friends” where they throw the pregnant surrogate Phoebe a not-keeping-the-babies shower, and it ends up upsetting her because she can’t use any of the gifts and finds it inconsiderate.

    • Iwill Findu

      I would show up to a “not keeping the babies” shower with a bottle of wine, or a gift card for the spa.

  • Lala

    I don’t know. I don’t think this is a good idea. Way to throw someone into the limelight for something they may consider to be their big failure. If you want to show support for your friend take them out to dinner/lunch/spa day. I just feel like this could turn into a very big embarrassment for someone. And does having this shower mean they are throwing in the towel? No longer trying to have kids. There are better ways to show support than a potential humiliating party

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    Can’t we just throw the person a birthday party….and if she wants to talk about her struggles, cool? And if she doesn’t….pass the wine?

  • Elisa78

    This sounds like the worst idea ever. I would have hated this so much when I was struggling with infertility. I didn’t feel like the party was what I was missing out on. The suggestion of a spa day was great. The last thing I needed was recognition that I couldn’t have a real baby shower, even if everyone in attendance already knew.

    • Iwill Findu

      Everybody needs a spa day when they’re going though a tough time, there’s nothing better then being pampered with people that love you to help lift the spirits.

  • emilyg25

    No thanks. I don’t need to be reminded of my struggle. I do agree that the spa day—or really any kind of fun outing where babies (or lack thereof) isn’t the focus—would be much more fun.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    I was just recently diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. What really frustrates me is that so much of the medial literature I’ve read about it is concerned with the infertility aspect. I get it, and I understand that for many women this can be quiet a blow. But I’m 39 and I have two teenagers. I’m done with having babies. I’m ok with being infertile. In fact it’s a bit of a perk. But reading all this medical stuff so concerned with my infertility makes me feel as if doctors only see my uterus and not me as a person. As if not being able to have babies means I am no longer a woman, and I should be upset or less of a female or I don’t know–but it is disturbing.

  • Leah

    If this is going to be a thing, I want a “No baby, and don’t want one” shower. I’m with Carrie Bradshaw on this. People that get married and have kids get all sorts of presents and love showered on them. People that are single without kids by choice or circumstance pay out all this love and money and attention and get…a thank you card. Nope. I want a “Not having an engagement” party, “Still a bachelorette” party, “Non-Bridal” shower, “Don’t know the gender, not having a baby” reveal, “Still not contributing to the population of the earth with a baby” shower, “Didn’t have to push” present, “Still don’t have a baby to have” birthday party (every year mind you, in addition to my own birthday).

  • Gangle

    I think this is an awesome idea, although some women probably would not feel comfortable with it. I would throw a fur-baby party for a fellow stirrup sister of mine. I have known her for much of my own infertility battle, and she is still facing hers. A day of tribute to how awesome a parent to her beautiful dogs, filled with cake, little gifts and acknowledgement that she has bravely kicked ass through some truly horrendous surgical procedures etc? Hell yes!

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