How to Attend Baby Showers After a Miscarriage
I can remember it well. I had a miscarriage, on the exact day that a family member was admitted to the hospital to have a baby. Same hospital. While I was dying inside from grief and despair – there was a celebration going on around me. I hated myself for not being able to feel happy for my husband’s cousin, and I even refused to visit the nursery and see the beautiful baby boy in the aftermath of my D&C.
Then, weeks later, another family member and a friend sent me invitations to their baby showers. “Come celebrate the birth of our baby,” felt like a direct punch in the throat that said, “Since you can't have a baby you might as well come celebrate mine.”
I tried to put on my big girl panties and make my way inside Baby's R Us to purchase a baby shower gift. I walked through the aisles looking for nursery items and fell apart in the diaper aisle. I opted for putting some money inside a card, and sending the gift with a fellow family member to the shower.
It's selfish, I know, to not partake in the joy of someone else just because I was hurting. As badly as I wanted to go and celebrate, the wounds of my own pregnancy loss were just too fresh. The last thing I wanted to do was sit through baby shower games and gift openings, and be a part of the buzz about an up and coming baby’s arrival while inside I felt like a failure as a woman.
Every woman handles miscarriage differently. In my humble opinion, it is only natural to feel an odd mixture of anger, resentment, frustration, extreme grief, and sadness. In the weeks after my miscarriage, it seemed that everywhere I went I was bumping into another pregnant woman, or was being invited to a baby shower. Beating myself up with guilt for not being able to share in someone else's happiness didn’t help matters much. In order to move forward, we all have to handle grief and pain in our own way – and no one can tell us how we should or shouldn't do that. One person actually told me that if I went to a baby shower, I would “feel better.”
As time went on, my open wounds closed. I was able to share in the pregnancy joys of other people, and eventually went on to have two more healthy and happy baby girls. This doesn't mean that I forgot the pain I felt after pregnancy loss. And my reasons for not showing up at a party to celebrate someone’s pregnancy, in no way meant that I didn’t care about my friends or family members who were expecting. I did. And I didn’t think it was fair for me to rain on their parade (literally with my tears) or make them feel guilty for being so happy at a time when I was so incredibly sad.
How about you? How did you handle baby showers and baby celebrations after a pregnancy loss?
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