Minnie’s policy: no baby showers, no exceptions. She did not always feel this militant but after two hideous experiences, she had quickly developed shower fatigue. She was sure the original concept was noble in intention but they had never worked out for her.
The first, in her early thirties, was for a family friend who had not intended to have a baby. It was a genteel blur of an afternoon with women of all ages exchanging advice about breast feeding. Minnie felt unable to contribute and her face hurt from the effort of trying to smile as the owners of successful hormones shared their stories. The second shower, in her late thirties, was more earthy. A gigantic, inflated penis balloon knocked her on the head as female friends told funny tales. The mother-to-be, despite being rich enough never to have to work again, had made a list of demands at a local shop and Minnie had despondently trailed around the store, feeling increasingly alienated at this exorbitant Santa’s grotto of under 5s merchandising.
Minnie knew many of her bad feelings emanated from envy but she also thought baby showers were more about clever marketing and peer pressure than a genuine mother-to-be’s rite of passage and strong celebration of female bonding. Maybe they were good for a struggling parent-to-be without a lot of emotional support or money but the baby showers around her were usually for affluent women who hired decorators for the nurseries. She had got very drunk after both the ones she had attended but even her hangovers were easier to bear than the pain of an empty womb.