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Why I took a rain check on the baby shower

I don't agree with baby showers. Call me superstitious but I never had one for Gary, mostly because I thought it would be bad luck. I bought a few things for him when I was pregnant, but in hindsight I shouldn't have. He received so many presents that I could have opened a baby shop.

I'll never forget the generosity of those who called to the house bearing gifts when Gary was tiny. I loved the way they came out of kindness to see us. They visited because they wanted to, not because I had sent them an invitation to arrive with gifts.

Personally, I think it's a bit crass to invite people over before the baby is born. And it puts pressure on friends who are probably short of money and feel embarrassed into buying a pricey gift that will be opened in front of everybody. Anyway, it's better to wait until you actually have a baby before having guests around.

Bump

It will be far more interesting for them to see your new bundle of joy, rather than simply your bump. But if you are going ahead and having a baby shower don't send out a baby list with the invite. It's the height of rudeness.

I've never been a fan of the 'wedding list' or people who ask you for money instead of a gift. You may as well have someone at the church door shaking a bucket.

A gift should be something thoughtful, not something that is demanded. Of course, some people will disagree with me, and I know a lot of people who find a list helpful as it saves time selecting a present.

But I know I certainly couldn't ask people for a Waterford Crystal vase or a coffee-maker or whatever. And I certainly couldn't have asked people for a bottle steriliser or a Moses basket for Gary.

Yes, I got a lot of unpractical things such as fluffy bunnies and teddies and white clothes (adorable, yes, but impossible to keep clean). But I appreciated everything I got.

Some people sent flowers, which cheered me up no end. Being sleep deprived and house-bound after my caesarean, meant that I couldn't have possibly bought my own.

But I think what meant the most to me were the people who just came to my house and sat at the end of the bed and kept me company in those first few difficult weeks.

Slippers

As a new mum you feel so isolated and cut off from the world, that a friendly visitor is such a welcome treat. Some friends offered to take me shopping, others came and cooked lunch.

You really know who your friends are when you become a mum. It's a time in your life when you can't go clubbing or partying, so the people who keep you company when you are in your pyjamas and slippers with no make-up on, are the really genuine ones.

In my experience, most of the lovely new clothes given to Gary were never used because he got so many and babies grow up so fast. So buying designer clothes for a tot is really a waste of money in my opinion. But I'll tell you what's priceless – an offer of a couple of hours babysitting.


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