Baby Showers

Facing the most horrible shower EVER :-(

When we announced my pregnancy, my sister-in-law insisted that she wanted to throw me a shower.  Since we'd had a surprise wedding and no wedding showers, I agreed as a way to make amends.  That was in December....in February, she finally asked me for dates that worked.  I gave he what appeared to fit my calendar, and she replied that it didn't work for ANOTHER SIL (warning sign #1, I know).   

At no point did she ask me about a guest list, and when I would ask about the size of the shower, or who was invited, she wouldn't give me direct answers (warning sign #2).

 At Easter brunch, she blindsides me with the fact that she's reserved a party room at a local hotel, and that the shower would be a "lunchy thing" (if this woman knew anything about me, she'd know how much of a bad idea this is).  When I voiced concerned to her about (A) the size of the shower she's planning and (B) the STILL mysterious guest list, I was told that all I had to do was show up and smile and she didn't see what the big deal is (despite me explaining that I'm an introvert with social anxiety and how much I'd like a few friends there to make me a bit more secure---a request that she DENIED, saying this was a family shower). 

Today, I find out that the guest list includes my MIL's friends, and women who are married to the sons of those friends (none of whom I've actually met).  Should I :

A) bring some of my friends along (after RSVP-ing them as MY guests)

B) not show up since it's obvious that the shower isn't about me at all?

C) show up and leave if my anxiety flares up?

D) ???

Really could use some help on this.... 

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Re: Facing the most horrible shower EVER :-(

  • It would be rude not to show up. You didn't decline the shower. I had my baby shower this past Saturday and I literally just showed up: didn't have to provide a guest list, didn't know a single thing about the showe except the time and date. I always assumed that's the way a shower is suppose to be. It's a gift from the hosts after all. It's all their call.

    Maybe ask if you can bring one or two guests with you, like SO or your mom or sister if they weren't invited to help ease your anxiety.
  • Honestly, I'd tell her that I'm not comfortable attending a shower where the guest list is comprised of people I dont even know would these women actually even come?!. And I'd say that while i really appreciate the offer, your simply unable to attend.
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  • I'm guessing SIL doesn't understand your anxiety and assumes she's doing a great thing by throwing you a surprise shower.  I do think it would be rude to not show up since you accepted her offer and she's made reservations.  I would ask your husband to talk with her and explain your anxiety and request she include some people that could help support you, or your husband should just attend with you.  I wouldn't add guests without asking first because she may have space constraints at the venue.
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  • You aren't required to give input on a guest list. You offered, you were denied. If your SIL wants to throw you a shower for family only, that's her call. It would be extremely rude to not show up and even worse to cancel. She offered to throw you a shower, you accepted. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up. You can always stay close to one of your H's family members till you are comfortable.
  • Family-only showers are not rare. I do agree having women there you don't know is awkward. If you have severe anxiety issues, could you explain this to your SIL and ask if you could bring one friend as a nerve-calming measure? I'd phrase it as graciously as possible.
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  • My husband did intervene.  She told him that this was a FAMILY shower, and that my friends would be out of place there. When he pressed the issue and tried to explain my anxiety issues, including how he had to adjust to my issues when we go anywhere where there could be large crowds of strangers, she lashed out and called us ungrateful.  That's when I started to think that this shower is more about her than it is about me and our son....
  • Every etiquette page I've visited says that it is actually customary to consult with the mother-to-be about the guest list.  

    I can't hang with his family...  His family has long thought that I'm not good enough (his mom even said that to him) and I was banned from family functions until we were engaged.  I am not close to my in-laws AT ALL. They don't know much about me and when I do get the chance to tell them anything, it is met with disinterest.    I only agreed to this shower in an effort to mend fences.   

     

  • I think you're in a tough position here.  I agree it sounds very self absorbed to go to all the effort to host a shower for someone, but refuse any accommodations to keep that person comfortable.

    I would just have your husband attend with you, coed or not, and if your anxiety gets really bad, feign pregnancy symptoms and leave as soon as gifts and cake are done.

    If his family already treats you poorly, not showing up or canceling will probably blow the drama to epic proportions.  I would try to keep it as brief as possible, write very gracious thank yous, and then avoid these people as much as possible in e future. 

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  • image ordinary1:
    You aren't required to give input on a guest list. You offered, you were denied. If your SIL wants to throw you a shower for family only, that's her call. It would be extremely rude to not show up and even worse to cancel. She offered to throw you a shower, you accepted. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up. You can always stay close to one of your H's family members till you are comfortable.

    This. I don't know much about social anxiety, so maybe you could ask to also have your H there is it is really that bad. But I don't think having a family only shower is weird, I have never put friends on the guest list for showers my family have thrown (except I think my MOH for my bridal shower.) His family is now your family you should begin the process of feeling comfortable around them. You are bringing a child into this family too and will be tied to them for life. And if you don't know these friends of your MIL now, I don't see why you can't take this opportunity to meet them now.

     

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  • image queenbone:

    image ordinary1:
    You aren't required to give input on a guest list. You offered, you were denied. If your SIL wants to throw you a shower for family only, that's her call. It would be extremely rude to not show up and even worse to cancel. She offered to throw you a shower, you accepted. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up. You can always stay close to one of your H's family members till you are comfortable.

    This. I don't know much about social anxiety, so maybe you could ask to also have your H there is it is really that bad. But I don't think having a family only shower is weird, I have never put friends on the guest list for showers my family have thrown (except I think my MOH for my bridal shower.) His family is now your family you should begin the process of feeling comfortable around them. You are bringing a child into this family too and will be tied to them for life. And if you don't know these friends of your MIL now, I don't see why you can't take this opportunity to meet them now. 

    My husband can't be there (that was another problem...they couldn't even be bothered to remember that he works a side job on Saturdays, and since showers typically aren't co-ed, he didn't request any time off).   I wouldn't be so incensed if I hadn't found out today that my MIL's friends (not relatives) were invited, as were their daughters-in-law.   

  • image Kaydee815:
    image queenbone:

    image ordinary1:
    You aren't required to give input on a guest list. You offered, you were denied. If your SIL wants to throw you a shower for family only, that's her call. It would be extremely rude to not show up and even worse to cancel. She offered to throw you a shower, you accepted. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up. You can always stay close to one of your H's family members till you are comfortable.

    This. I don't know much about social anxiety, so maybe you could ask to also have your H there is it is really that bad. But I don't think having a family only shower is weird, I have never put friends on the guest list for showers my family have thrown (except I think my MOH for my bridal shower.) His family is now your family you should begin the process of feeling comfortable around them. You are bringing a child into this family too and will be tied to them for life. And if you don't know these friends of your MIL now, I don't see why you can't take this opportunity to meet them now. 

    My husband can't be there (that was another problem...they couldn't even be bothered to remember that he works a side job on Saturdays, and since showers typically aren't co-ed, he didn't request any time off).   I wouldn't be so incensed if I hadn't found out today that my MIL's friends (not relatives) were invited, as were their daughters-in-law.   

    If it helps your anxiety any, I have a feeling the focus of this shower is going to be your MIL. It is a shower for her family and her friends to welcome her into grandparenthood. Which is a little tacky, but at least you will reap the rewards of baby gifts you want or need.

    If it makes you feel any better my MIL made one of DH's aunts host a baby shower for me, in absentia since we had no plans to travel back to his hometown. She felt like she deserved it since she had gone to and given gifts at so many showers for the family and now it was her turn to be the center of attention. DH tried to talk her out of it to no avail. So she had people come and she opened the gifts at the shower then re-wrapped them and sent them to us. So tacky! :(

    Maybe if you indulge her a little with this shower that is more for her than you it could help with that fence mending you are after?

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  • It is too bad you were not able to give any input to the guest list but since this is your DH's side of the family/friends then I suppose you wouldn't know who to invite anyway.  Your mother should be invited though.  Since your DH cannot make it...perhaps your SIL would allow your mom to go with you.  Maybe tell your SIL you are driivng separate since you might need two vehicles to transport items home...or maybe even tell her you are now allowed to drive (LOL) and your mom will have to drive you.  Other then that you could just leave if it gets to be too much.  Tell  the guests you are not feeling well and leave.

    Hopefully, it isn't too bad.  At most of the showers I've been to at places other then homes things aren't too jam-packed.  Hopefully your anxiety doesn't kick in.

  • image rhubarb123:

    .or maybe even tell her you are now allowed to drive (LOL) and your mom will have to drive you.  

     This.  It does seem like your SIL is intentionally needling you.  I would just let go of everything they do to upset you--the slights will likely keep on comin'.  Accept that it sucks, but the shower is not going to fun, and prepare yourself to survive it.  It sounds like your anxiety is serious enough that a support person is non-negotiable.  I think PP idea of having someone very close to you drive you is an excellent one, and I wouldn't tell SIL ahead of time.  You don't want to give her a chance to argue about it.  Just show up with the person, say you ended up needing help to get there and thanks so much for graciously taking in [driver], you so appreciate it, followed by gushing about decorations and how kind she is to host yada yada.  Then after a reasonable time, whoops, doctor told you to be sure to take it easy, you'd better go, everything was so lovely yada yada.

     Good luck. 

  • Ditto. Honestly this is what I would do only because SIL obviously is not willing to accommodate any of your suggestions or requests. One person should not effect food or space issues. Good luck. Keep us posted on how it all goes. Totally agree that this shower has nothing to do with you and is all about the future grandma and aunt. Just think...it will be the last shower you will ever have to have.
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  • I say bring a friend with you (to help "load the car" or "to drive you") and be a gracious guest of honor. 


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  • image ordinary1:
    You aren't required to give input on a guest list. You offered, you were denied. If your SIL wants to throw you a shower for family only, that's her call. It would be extremely rude to not show up and even worse to cancel. She offered to throw you a shower, you accepted. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up. You can always stay close to one of your H's family members till you are comfortable.

     

    Sorry, I agree with this. Yes it sucks you do not get along with them that great, but they are throwing you a shower so they are trying here. It is only a few hours. Once the baby is born they will want to be a part of his/her life so you have to deal with it. They are a part of your family too.

     I have family members that I do not like - would not associate with if we were not related but I deal with it because they are family. You cannot chose your family unfortunately.

     

     

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  • image EastCoastBride:
    Honestly, I'd tell her that I'm not comfortable attending a shower where the guest list is comprised of people I dont even know would these women actually even come?!. And I'd say that while i really appreciate the offer, your simply unable to attend.

    This.  

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  • I agree that your SIL is throwing the shower to celebrate your MIL.  Your MIL probably feels like she's attended all these events for her friends and their children, and now she wants to have her turn.  

    Does this suck?  Of course.  But you can deal with it.  Paste a smile on your face, stay calm, shake hands and greet these strangers, open gifts, then split.  You can handle it for a few hours.  Remember that it's really your MIL who is in the spotlight.

    I also suspect that if you roll with this and accept it graciously, it will do a lot to help your MIL feel more positive about you. If you can't accept it graciously, you're going to seem very ungrateful in their eyes.

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  • image neverblushed:

    I also suspect that if you roll with this and accept it graciously, it will do a lot to help your MIL feel more positive about you. If you can't accept it graciously, you're going to seem very ungrateful in their eyes.

    This. That was my second thought. I think this will go a long way in helping the family accept you! 


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  • It would be TERRIBLY rude to just not show up.  You sound very immature for even considering that as an option.

    It's just a couple hours.  Suck it up, play nice and enjoy your presents. 

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  • I would bring my mom who would normally be invited anyway to help with the anxiety issues, give SIL a polite headsup your mom is coming, be a gracious guest of honor giving lots of thanks and praise, and then feign illness if your anxiety flares up.
  • ManadaManada
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    I have anxiety issues as well, so I understand this situation must actually be a bit terrifying.

     

    My advice is to bring a friend or close family member as your "guest" to help you that day, and talk to them first about being your "buffer" at the shower.   Buffers are important in these situations, and perhaps just having someone there who gets it will help to put you more at ease and make it through.

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  • My problem with this is if it's a FAMILY shower, as SIL insists, then the myriad of non-family members attending are as out of place as SIL seems to think OP's friends would be.

    I would definitely bring someone along. Mom, friend, whatever. Then let MIL/SIL have their day.

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  • um... 

    A) No. No no no. They weren't invited. It's not your place to invite them without your host's approval.

    B). No! This may not be your "dream" shower, but deal with it. It's a gift. If you don't want a shower, decline. But you can't just not show up.

    C) No. If your anxiety is that out of control, just decline the shower.

    D) Suck it up, buttercup. This is a gift to you. Your options are to show up and be gracious, or decline IMMEDIATELY and just not have a shower. This is not "the most horrible shower EVER" and you need to seriously step back and realize how whiney and bratty you sound. 

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  • I do think the idea of a buffer is a wonderful idea; however, that being said, I think you should make a strong strong effort to talk to his family and friends and not be off in a corner with your buffer the whole time.
  • image MandJS:

    um... 

    A) No. No no no. They weren't invited. It's not your place to invite them without your host's approval.

    B). No! This may not be your "dream" shower, but deal with it. It's a gift. If you don't want a shower, decline. But you can't just not show up.

    C) No. If your anxiety is that out of control, just decline the shower.

    D) Suck it up, buttercup. This is a gift to you. Your options are to show up and be gracious, or decline IMMEDIATELY and just not have a shower. This is not "the most horrible shower EVER" and you need to seriously step back and realize how whiney and bratty you sound. 


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  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    Don't people ever just sit down with someone, one and one and just be honest with them about how they are feeling? Sounds cheesy, I know, but It's like a bad movie or sitcom where you watch a situation spiral out of control because a person wasn't communicating honestly in the first place. All this stress probably could have been avoided.

     

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  • image kbruington:
    Don't people ever just sit down with someone, one and one and just be honest withnbsp;them about how they are feeling? Sounds cheesy, I know, butnbsp;It's like a bad movie or sitcom where you watch a situation spiral out of control because a person wasn't communicating honestly in the first place. All this stress probably could have been avoided.


    ALL romantic comedies, and almost all dramas and such, have the primary drama come from basically lies and an inability to clarify a simple misunderstanding. Sometimes theres realky NO sane reason at all to lie but they do anyway. It drives me nuts. Come on, Hollywood, it was funny when SHAKESPEARE did it but after 400 years can't we have a new story besides 'idiots don't talk to each other and do idiotic things'?

    I don't think it hurts anything to talk to your sil and say you have social anxiety and get stressed out by large parties and you'd really like it if you could bring a "plus one" from your side of the family.
  • Do NOT just bring someone with you. Even though some of MIL's friends have been invited to a family shower, they might be close family friends.

    If the invitations haven't gone out yet, decline the shower but that would be extremely rude.

    I agree with PP that said you are being whiney. You accepted a gift, you don't get to dictate how it's given.
  • image somerandomchick:
    image kbruington:
    Don't people ever just sit down with someone, one and one and just be honest withnbsp;them about how they are feeling? Sounds cheesy, I know, butnbsp;It's like a bad movie or sitcom where you watch a situation spiral out of control because a person wasn't communicating honestly in the first place. All this stress probably could have been avoided.
    ALL romantic comedies, and almost all dramas and such, have the primary drama come from basically lies and an inability to clarify a simple misunderstanding. Sometimes theres realky NO sane reason at all to lie but they do anyway. It drives me nuts. Come on, Hollywood, it was funny when SHAKESPEARE did it but after 400 years can't we have a new story besides 'idiots don't talk to each other and do idiotic things'? I don't think it hurts anything to talk to your sil and say you have social anxiety and get stressed out by large parties and you'd really like it if you could bring a "plus one" from your side of the family.

    But the OP has talked to her SIL about her social anxiety and her need to have a few people at the shower she is comfortable with.  That didn't work.  Then her husband intervened and talked to his sister about how the OP would need someone there because of her issues with social anxiety and their request was still declined.  So the OP isn't keeping anything inside, she is talking to the host.

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