A great way to start a blog on parenting and motherhood is by writing about the baby shower. To me, this is the first public acknowledgement of my pregnancy, my entry into the journey of motherhood, a societal acceptance of my family unit, and the emergence of the awareness of my life having gotten new meaning through this experience – an awareness that now makes for my family – my husband, my baby, and me.
My baby shower is being hosted this Sunday, the 12th of January. I am looking forward to the celebration. We have about 30 people attending the shower and I am excited about seeing our different groups of friends – my work friends, Aaron’s business school buddies, our common friends, family friends and others. The shower is hosted by the wives of two of Aaron’s MBA buddies, two girl friends I didn’t even know until 2012. Life is so unpredictable, you never know how and from where your friends will emerge, who your true friends are, when friendships live their course and it’s time to move on, when new people enter your life and start meaning so much to you and so on. Both the party hosts are Indian as well and I enjoy their friendship and company. I am truly grateful that they have taken over the hosting of the shower with help from Aaron. Although it is a couples’ shower, Aaron did help coordinate everything. I had made a list of things I would like as catering options. He ordered those food items and also ordered a cake – from the same place we ordered our wedding cake – Chicago’s Sweet Mandy B’s.
We are mindful of sticking to a budget and still desiring a good time. For us, the essence of this shower is to celebrate our much awaited and much longed-for pregnancy with friends we hold dear and who mean something to us. We did the same with the wedding although for the wedding, I did feel compelled to invite four people I didn’t really care for but because I had attended their events, I felt obliged to have them at mine. Sadly, those friendships had already run their course but I wanted to make it right somehow. Since Aaron and I have both attended things they hosted in the past, I felt all the more like I needed to invite them to the wedding. Even at the time I knew that once the wedding was over, I was going to recuse myself of any future obligation to drag on those stagnated, meaningless relationships.
The custom of holding a baby shower is a non-Indian phenomenon mostly practiced in the U.S. and Canada. I am sure other cultures have their own versions of this prenatal celebration of the baby, mother, and pregnancy. In India, in the Hindi speaking belt, this ritual is called Godh Bharai. In my own native Indian culture this is known as ‘gurbini kappad’ or literally ‘pregnant woman’s sari’ comprising mostly of women who attend the ceremony to bless the mother-to-be with blessings and I believe gifts in the form of cash and maybe even jewelry. A quick Google search with the words, ‘godh bharai’ will spring numerous entries and pictures of this event.
Despite the largely celebrated baby showers in the U.S., a number of people believe superstitiously that to celebrate the baby before birth is a little presumptuous and so many co-cultures will wait until after the baby is born to then host what is known as a ‘Sip and See’ where family, friends, and others can come see the baby. I didn’t even know about this until I started looking for invitations and came upon Sip & See cards. I just decided to have a traditional shower.
Looking forward to a fun afternoon on Sunday.