Why I Think Every Mother Deserves a Baby Shower

I once knew a young woman who unexpectedly got pregnant outside of marriage, and although her family threw her a baby shower, they ensured that the event was not a celebratory one, but more of a practical occasion for outfitting her and her baby. 

The invitation was solemn—no fanfare or cutesy requests. It called for prayer for the expecting mother, who was obviously in dire need of some re-direction, right?

Um, no. 

Here's the thing:

I believe that a baby is always a cause for a celebration, and that every mother, regardless of age, marital status, income, or employment, deserves a baby shower where she can feel excited to prepare for her baby. 

{ MORE: 5 Alternatives to a Traditional Baby Shower }

teen_shower
Image via Flickr/ abarefoot

I've heard the arguments against showers, especially for teenage mothers, that go along the lines of worry that we will somehow be “promoting” births to young women whom we feel aren't ready to become mothers. 

But here's the thing:

I was that young mother (I wasn't a teen, but I was still in college when I became pregnant), and of all the things that worried me the most about parenting, it was the thought that I didn't deserve to be happy about my baby because I wasn't a “real” mother. 

{ MORE: Thank You! }

And any gesture that made me feel more like a normal mother who had permission to love her baby made a world of difference to me. 

Because it's not up to us to judge a mother—any mother—for how well she will perform her parenting skills. It's not up to us to judge when she should and should not become a mother. It's not even up to us to judge how happy she gets to be about her baby. 

We all know that parenting is hard and that having a baby at a young age can present its own set of challenges. 

But it doesn't mean that when it happens that that baby and that new family doesn't have every right to feel loved and cherished and supported as much as a picture-perfect couple who has done everything “correctly.” 

An afternoon party with some watery punch and a few cheesy diaper-themed games will not cause a boost in teenage pregnancy. 

But I can almost guarantee you that it will give a much-needed boost in one young mother's life. 

{ MORE: Is Teen Pregnancy a Turning Point? }

What do you think? Are teen baby showers ever a no-no?

What do you think?

Why I Think Every Mother Deserves a Baby Shower

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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17 comments

  1. Profile photo of Lindsay Lindsay says:

    I am the mother of a 16 year old who got pregnant. I was so angry and disappointed. I admit I was mean to her at the start. But that didn’t stop me from buying everything I could find at yard sales!! I figured for the cost of a shower I could get her all she needed second hand. She is due any day now, recently turned 17, and baby daddy is in the picture. If only he would get a job! But he dotes on my daughter and the baby so it’s hard to complain.
    I had the same old fashioned views about giving her a baby shower. I wish I would have read this months ago. But at the prompting from a friend we did have a little shower with some of their classmates. I’m so glad I did. It turned out so much better than I expected!! Just a bunch of kids. They’re so supportive! They each brought a gift, they played games, hung out, and I ordered pizza. It was just that easy and they had such a great time.
    So now we’re past the due date, waiting. We have bags packed and by the door, her room is ready to welcome our little miracle, and we’ve had a lot of support, prayers and well wishes. I thought we’d be judged harshly but was amazed by the positive reactions. It is what you make it. If someone doesn’t give you the love and support you need, move on. The kids also attended classes at a Pregnancy Helpline. It taught them so much, plus they weren’t judged and they got all kinds of support. And so many of my friends told me (after the shock wore off) that all babies were miracles. We are very blessed.

  2. Profile photo of Sara Sara says:

    I know my story is much different than other girls’ stories but I’ll share anyhow as is article struck a chord with me. I was 31, married, with a planned pregnancy, and the first grandchild on my husband’s side of the family. I didn’t demand a shower or even ask for one but I assumed, given the above description and being my parents’ only daughter, that a shower might be given. Since my husband and I were dating, my mil did not like me and let it be known. I’ll spare you the stories of the ways she let it be known, but they weren’t pretty. I thought carrying her grandchild would make a difference. It didn’t. During the pregnancy, she would ask what we need and how we would afford buying everything. I said I would see what I got as gifts and take it from there. She would roll her eyes and say I wouldn’t get any gifts, I wasn’t getting a shower, I didn’t deserve a shower, etc. She told my mom this as well. She also told my and my husband we needed to get married before the baby came because she didn’t want her grandchild being a bastard (we got married in a garden, not the Catholic Church, so she said we weren’t actually married). When my mom and aunt planned a shower and mil got the invitation, she was livid. She called my mom, yelling at her, how dare she do this behind her back, she didn’t give her permission, she didn’t want me having a shower and since I was having one, then she wanted her name on the invitation as the one giving it. My mom was polite and told her everything was planned and done (obviously since mil received an invitation in the mail) but if she had any further ideas or wanted to help with favors, she was more than welcome to help out. Mil told her that this is HER grandchild, my mom already has one, and she is to have nothing to do with this one, and she needs to butt out. I didn’t find this out till after I had the baby and my mom never came to visit; she was too afraid of being here if mil was here and having a fight break out. Cut to the shower, she showed up late with a puss on her face, stayed in the back, bad mouthing me, my friends and family to her friends and family (loud enough for my friends and family to hear), and started fights with a few of my friends (who were mature enough to just walk away). At the end of the shower, she approached my mom and said very loudly “If you ever do anything like this again, I am to be consulted first.” Once again, a big event in my life was mad miserable by her. What should have been one of the happiest times in my life was made stressful and fairly miserable. I had a girl (she has all boys) and she announced at she finally has a girl of her own. She’s still nasty to me yet tries to take my daughter every chance she gets (and bad mouths me to her behind my back). Four years later, she threw a baby shower (and an engagement party. And a bridal shower. And a rehearsal dinner.) for my sister-in-law. She not only threw one but asked me to help plan it because “you planned yours so you know what you’re doing.” (She insists I threw my own to spite her despite the afore mentioned fights with my mom.) and wanted me to be there 2 hours early to set up even though my 4 year old was sick and I had a newborn. He shower was at a 5 star restaurant with a 4 course dinner and was over the top in every way. Needless to say, after all the ruckus she made for my shower, this was a major slap in the face. I’m not jealous or think I’m necessarily “deserving”, but it was hurtful and sucked the joy out of expecting my first and celebrating that. This article was an excellent read and was quite comforting.

  3. Profile photo of Sarah B. Sarah B. says:

    I was 17 years old when I became pregnant with my first son. Needless to say, my parents were disappointed and upset. But, after my belly began to grow, they accepted the pregnancy for the most part. I had two baby showers. One with my family, and one with my baby’s fathers family. They were both a great way to celebrate and also to prepare for the baby that I would give birth to at the young age of 18. Three months before my son was born, his father and I married. It wasn’t until three days before the wedding that the reality of the situation hit me. Not the fact that I would be a teen mother. That was something that changed my whole life, for the better, the second I saw two blue lines on the pregnancy test. The reality was that that my fiancé had basically been talked into becoming just that. He had been pressured and persuaded. Things were said and done that I had no knowledge of until my fiancé was telling me, only because days before our wedding he needed to come clean. He didn’t want to marry me. He just thought that it was the right thing to do. The support that I thought I had, suddenly felt like an act. The wedding, the baby showers, the gifts and advice…it felt more like everyone’s need to justify my baby. Of course I will never know if anyone would have still thrown my showers if I hadn’t been married, but my guess would be probably not. My point is, EVERY mother should have a support system. It’s so very important whether you’re married, single, going through a divorce, adopting, or having your fourth baby. Being pregnant isn’t always easy. A mother needs to feel like it’s okay to be happy and excited about her pregnancy. Or maybe she’s scared and alone and needs that support even more.

  4. Profile photo of Kim Kim says:

    I have read some of the comments below and I feel so bad for these young ladies. My GD is 17 and is not married. Trust and believe she will be having a baby shower. Yes,we would have liked it if she had waited until she was older,but she didn’t. In my opinion every mother regardless of age should have a baby shower. So ladies don’t let someones ignorance make you feel bad,a baby is a gift from God.

  5. Profile photo of Taylor Taylor says:

    I am 4 months pregnant, I moved away from my family about 4 years ago to be with my boyfriend, they live in anther state. We have not gotten along for away and just started to mend things. I can tell they are not happy that I am pregnant outside of marriage again. My daughter is almost 11 now, a friend gave me a baby shower for her after she was born. Because of the distance and us not seeing eye to eye, I know I will not get a baby shower from them. I have no friends here and my in laws are crazy, so no one to give me a baby shower and no one would come if I gave myself one. But I wish I could share this joy and celebrate with others. It would be nice to feel that love and support from others. It was hard the first time being so young and not getting this I need for my daughter and feeling so ashamed. Now I am just sad not to have one when I have my life more together and I am with the father. Don’t give up on what makes you happy and what is right for you even when everyone around you makes it negative. It is not easy but baby are wonderful blessing and should be celebrated no matter what.

  6. Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

    I’ll be 20 in May and I’m 4 and a half months pregnant, my dad won’t let me have a baby shower because I’m not Sapost to be celebrating a child that I’m not even Sapost to be having. It’s really hard to be happy about your child when everyone around you is upset at you and isn’t happy. I guess I don’t mind not having one too much because I feel like everyone I would invite would come out of spite and really be upset that I’m doing it. unfortunatly the whole experience has been very depressing for me. I don’t think I’m going to have another kid because of the negative experience Iv had.

  7. Profile photo of barros barros says:

    I was sixteen when i had my first child. My mother refused to let anyone throw me a shower. Said I didn’t deserve it for doing what I did. And try all she could to convince me not to keep my daughter. I got over it quick enough. A month after having my daughter I got a job. Still attended and graduated highschool. Although her biological father didn’t care for her, his father gave me plenty of things to start off with and I managed. I started dating my now husband of 11 years shortly after I had mg daughter. He adopted her as his own, she’s he’s little princess. We are now on our third child, he’s two months. I threw myself a shower this time, because again no one really wanted to do anything for me.

  8. Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

    I think every Mom and BABY deserve a shower! Showers are to celebrate this new little miracle and a woman committing to parenting them. No one should be told they don’t deserve it or that their baby is in any way less special than any other child.

  9. Profile photo of Erin Erin says:

    My sister got pregnant at 20 and was at a really bad time of her. On top of that our relationship was struggling not because of a lot of reasons that were not entirely her fault. However, I still tried to put together a shower she would love and feel loved. We did pooh bear because she was doing that for the nursery. I transferred a map of the 100 acre wood to wood squares and added a tree house with her daughter name.

    It may have been a difficult time in our relationship but I still wanted her to know she was loved and that her daughter was loved already too

  10. Profile photo of Jenna Jenna says:

    My daughter got pregnant at the age if 15. She got a baby shower instead of a sweet 16 birthday party. I do not regret doing that for her. Both kids graduated high school and now live together with their soon to be 5 year old. They are getting married and doing well financially. Not all teen pregnancies are a disaster.

    • Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

      I think that is great! In high school my best friend got pregnant our junior year. She distanced her self from me and everyone who else. It stunk! Now she had 2 boys and is married and our friendship is close again. I just had to wait for her and let her know I was still there. I hope that when my first is born this summer that I’ll be a mom that listens and supports especially in times of need. I am 26 and you can say I did everything right. Graduate college, get married, then pregnant but my family is still not all excited because my sister already had 3 kids. So you don’t have to be a teen our unmarried to have a down play on how exciting this time is. Thanks for being a role model mom in tough situations!

  11. Profile photo of hether hether says:

    I didn’t have a baby shower, my adopted family all thought I was too young and couldn’t handle being a parent. I got pregnant by my parter of 2 and a half years and we had just split up a couple weeks before finding out. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant. I’m assuming no one threw me one, with the assumption that I would give my LO up for adoption. I am now 26, still a single mom but with a bright, bubbly, and very well mannered 3 and a half year old. The saddest part of it, was that I threw my sister’s baby shower when I was 15 years old, with the help of my older cousin of course, but I planned it all, and wasn’t given the same courtesy.

  12. Profile photo of Monique Monique says:

    My baby shower ended up failing . Barely anyone showed. And all I got were clothes when I asked for the cheaper things that I would need. So now I have credit card bills to try and play catch up because I am a single mother….

  13. Profile photo of Rachael Rachael says:

    I didn’t have a baby shower. Everyone knew I was pregnant with twins- my first and only. I was the single woman in the group who would graciously watch the friend’s kids do they can go out. I was the scapegoat when a friend would buy too buy too much at the store and needed a place to hide her brand new tall boots until she can ‘hustle’ the husband. Yet when I get pregnant, in my thirties, everyone under the sun, family included, is upset with me because I was supposed to be smarter than that. No shower. No flowers. No balloons. No one other than my parents came to the hospital to get the twins. When they were in the NICU for 2 months it was I who had to go up there every day with no assistance, meanwhile I should have been home resting. If it weren’t for my mother’s co-workers who LATER found out she had twin grannies, my kids would not have a stitch of clothes. By His Grace my mother’s co-workers not only clothed the twins as full-term basis with preemie problems, they also gave toys, mattresses, books and droves if clothes that they are just winding down at the age of 5!! Had it not been for my mother’s guilt and humble soul!!

    There were 4 other births directly after the twins but I wasn’t invited to any of the showers but they sure knew how to ask for milk! About 2 years ago an old friend had a child.She asked me to the shower and instead of outright refusing, I explained why I could not attend. She said she understood and apologized for treating me so harsh back then. Tough love she called. Year one she invited me again and I refused same reason. This year the invite came and I plan to attend. Can’t hold a grudge forever if I truly forgive.

    The point is that it affects you emotionally. To this day, I wish I had my family and friends you get my babies home and our honor me as a mother with a baby shower. If u should ever be blessed with another child, I won’t let that moment slip away. It’s sad how much I long for it.

    Thanks for listening. I’ve never told.

    • Profile photo of barros barros says:

      At the end of the day, what’s import an is our children. Others may not see that. And there’s nothing we can do to change it. Thank God your babies came home, and they are your pride and joy. All we could do is forgive them. We need to be better , for the sake of our children.

  14. Profile photo of jej03 jej03 says:

    I agree 100%. As women we should be building one another up. There is a ton of negativity out there, things that will try to tear us down, we don’t need to do that to each other ourselves, especially when we are in a unique position to understand how it feels.

    I’m also a fan of baby showers (or “sprinkles”) for every baby. It doesn’t have to nor need to be about bringing/receiving tons of presents, but instead should be about celebrating the new little life about to make its appearance.

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