A friend of ours asked us if someone was planning a baby shower for us. When we replied no, she said she would do it. She's honestly our most generous friend, the one who puts others' needs ahead of her own. She's always inviting people over for dinner, giving people rides, buying people presents, etc.
Rather than burden her with another baby shower to plan, Matt and I decided to take matters into our own hands. We decided to plan our own shower. (I can hear the chorus of "tacky!" forming out there...)
Since we had already broken convention by planning our own shower, we decided we might as well break all the other rules too: no girls-only event, no party games, no gift opening--we decided to simply go bowling with all of our friends to celebrate the impending arrival of our baby!
Of course I felt the normal flashes of uncertainty and insecurity as we forged our own path: Will people think we are throwing a party for ourselves just to get presents? Will people even come? If people do come, will they have fun?
Luckily, in the end, we had a ball (pun intended!). At one point in the event, one of our male friends thanked us for inviting him. He expressed frustration at often being left out of baby showers. He explained that women want their partners to be involved in parenting, yet they exclude them from important celebrations. Although I absolutely appreciate time with just my female friends (like pre-natal yoga, for example), it felt right to be celebrating the impending arrival of our baby with all of our friends.
There are so many rules and protocols that surround important life transitions (engagements, weddings, babies, etc.). Sometimes, it can be easy to get caught up in "doing it how it's supposed to be done," instead of focusing on the meaning behind the event. For me, it's about bringing people together, building community, and having fun. If following the traditional pattern brings about those things, great! If it doesn't, it makes sense to do things differently. It's a straightforward concept, but it's not always so easy to implement.