Last month I posted about my mom and sister wanting to host a virtual baby shower for me. I got mixed advice. A few had been involved in a virtual shower or two dualing showers in different locations connected via Skype. Some suggested traveling to Florida after the baby is born for a meet the baby. A lot of people said it would be "gift grabby". This is long, but I thought I would post and follow-up with what I decided and how it went.
After reading all the advice, I had planned on telling my mom no, but she REALLY wanted to do it, and by the time I talked to her, she had already talked to my aunt who was also very excited about it and wanted to host the Florida portion of it at her house.
DH and I kind of eloped, so my mom wasn't able to do anything for our wedding and I had no bridal shower, this is her first grandchild (and she is already in her 60s), and for various reasons I already declined her offer to come up to Michigan to help out with the baby. Because of that I decided to let her go ahead with it, but shared my concerns with her, and she agreed to keep it very small and focus more on showering me with "love" than "gifts". In the invitations she suggested coming with a favorite scripture, blessing, word of encouragement or amusing story and that gifts were not necessary.
I have to admit, I was still skeptical about the whole thing. Yesterday was the day, and I was crying on the way to the shower (we're in the process of moving, so I was dialing in from the new house which has the nursery, but we're not sleeping there yet). I'm sure the tears were due more to hormones than anything else, but I was worried people wouldn't enjoy themselves or it would be awkward.
I shouldn't have been worried as it turned out very sweet. Four people dialed in from the hosting location in Florida (my mom, sister, aunt, and adopted grandmother) and then there were 4 people who dialed in virtually (from SC, AZ, TX, and NY). We all connected via Google+ Hangout, which has one webcam image large and centered and everyone else's picture down at the bottom of the screen.
As soon as I turned my web cam on I could see the faces of my family in FL light up. When I stood up to adjust the camera and they saw my bump they burst into spontaneous applause since none of them had seen my since I started showing.
We chatted while everyone else connected, then opened with a prayer, everyone shared how they knew me, people told stories about nicknames they had as a kid or had for their own kids and then they tried to predict what my LO's nickname would be. They shared encouragement, stories, scripture versus, quotes, etc. I gave them a "tour" of the nursery. Some people had mailed gifts in advance, so I opened those gifts and people ooo'd and aww'd over the cute baby clothes. Then we wrapped up in prayer.
It wasn't the traditional shower, there weren't a ton of people, and no silly baby games. Even though there were people from 6 different states it still felt small, close, and intimate. It was wonderful to be able to "see" and hear close friends and family from all over in one place, and I know that they were all happy to see and hear me as well. It was nice to be loved on, and I know it meant a lot to my family and friends that they could do something for me and my LO.
I would definitely say that a "virtual" shower would not work for everyone, but my hosts did a good job and there was nothing tacky or gift grabby about it. Even my 85 year old "grandmother" had a good time and was just tickled pink by the whole thing. The only downsides were that I couldn't eat all the yummy food they were eating and no exchanges of hugs. But on the bright side I didn't have to worry about people wanting to touch my belly!