To the woman who says we should go to that baby shower…….Feb 27, 2023
I know this is going to be a sensitive blog because I’ve already felt the judgement and wrath of women who disagree with my point of view on this subject. I’ve written posts and blogs giving women permission to NOT go to that baby shower, and for every 10 comments of gratitude I receive, there is one person disagreeing.
And while I believe we don’t all have to agree on everything, this is something I’m pretty passionate about.
So despite the amount of pushback and negative comments, I may receive, I actually don’t care. Because I’m sick of the pressure, and the outdated beliefs, and wish we could all just move forward together on this one.
For those of you who have also felt the pressure and judgement from those who say you should go to that baby shower (or other events), this is for you.
Here is a letter to all the women who tell us that we should go to that baby shower. That we should be able to separate our emotions and be happy for someone else and sad for ourselves. I’m writing this letter to the woman who tells us that we are selfish for not going. That if we were a better human, or a better friend, that we’d just be able to suck it up.
I’m not here to explain to you how infertility feels because it is a lived experience. Unless you have been through the grief, the sadness, the fear, and the upheaval that this has on your life, you will never truly be able to understand.
All I’m going to say is that this is the toughest thing I have ever had to endure. And as much as I may smile and say I’m fine……I’m not. I am not ok.
And if you do know how infertility feels – if you’ve been through it yourself – you still don’t know how I feel. Because you don’t know what I have been through in my life, and you don’t know my personal situation, so please don’t assume we are experiencing this the same.
For some of us, walking into a baby shower is like walking into a war zone. Every cupcake with a little pacifier on top, every balloon, every game that is played, and every question we get asked – about when we are going to have our own baby. It feels like a stab to the heart. We spend most of our time in the bathroom crying, and it takes us at least a week to get past the grief we feel.
And you are telling me to suck it up and go. You are telling me that if I was a better person, I’d be able to handle it. I’d be able to make it not about me.
I guess the biggest thing I want to express here is my disappointment. I am disappointed that in this day and age, as women, we aren’t sticking together. We aren’t supporting each other. We are judging each other. I’m disappointed that we are still buying into the narrative that in order to be a good person, we need to put others first. That we need to be self-sacrificing. That we need to please others above all else.
I have seen the magic of women coming together to support each other. We saw it in the “me too” movement and the “amplification” strategy in the Obama administration. We have been fighting for equal rights alongside each other for decades.
But no matter how hard we fight, it feels like women’s rights are slowly being taken away. Our rights in relation to our body – where our care is being compromised and we now have to rely on the laws in place to determine our miscarriage treatment. Where we are treated as less than - we don’t get paid the same as our male counterparts, we have to fight for promotions, and where our pregnancy losses aren’t recognised as losses, and we have to go back to work while we are still experiencing our miscarriage.
We are on the same side. We are fighting for our rights together. And here you are – saying we don’t have the right to say no to a freaking baby shower.
Every time you tell me to go to that baby shower and be happy for my friend, you are telling me that I need to fake it. That I need to put on a fake smile and show up to something that is filled with reminders of what I crave more than anything in this world, yet cannot have. Or maybe you’re not telling me to fake it – perhaps you’re telling me that I must feel genuinely happy for that person.
And believe me - I am trying to feel happy for that person. I am trying every single moment of every day. But I am tired of faking it. The truth is that I am sad for me, and I am in pain.
You may think it’s selfish. But why is taking care of my own mental health considered selfish? Why is protecting my feelings so wrong? Don’t my feelings matter too? When did self-preservation become confused with being selfish?
And here’s the thing – you will never judge me more than I am judging myself right now. So you putting pressure on me is actually kicking me while I’m down.
So you can be that person. You can judge me. Say horrible things to my face or behind my back.
Or you can try to show a little compassion for the person who is actually suffering here.
Not the woman who is pregnant, and is celebrating it with the world.
But the woman who is crying herself to sleep at night. Who doesn’t recognise who she is anymore? Whose life is falling apart? And who just craves a little peace?
So, please. The next time you tell a woman who is suffering to put someone else’s needs before her own, have a think about what you are actually saying. You are saying that my feelings don’t matter. You are taking away my right to say no. You are judging me without having walked in my shoes. And that’s not ok.
We are on the same side. And we need to stick together. We need to take care of each other – and that’s not just in the good times. We need to take care of each other in the bad times too. And right now, I’m deep inside that bad time.
So if I say that I can’t come to your baby shower or a friend’s baby shower. It isn’t about you – it’s about me. Please accept that this is what I need to do right now. And that I’m doing the best I can.
Your fellow sister.
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