As new parents prepare for the impending birth of their first bundle of joy, they will undoubtedly be thrown a baby shower or two by well-meaning friends and family looking to start them off on the right foot.
After all, supplies, equipment, and gadgets needed for first-time parents add up, and the wisdom passed down from other parents is invaluable. The point is, though, that this is a happy time for the parents-to-be.
That is not the perspective of everyone, however, specifically one person in Kansas City, Mo., who wrote to a “Miss Manners” advice column in The Kansas City Star.
This person writes:
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Most of our friends and acquaintances, married or not, have now embarked on the task of producing children. This means I am invited to multitudes of baby showers, sometimes more than one for each baby.
It’s clear this is not going to be a warm and fuzzy question from the get-go considering the opening paragraph leads to one envisioning a baby assembly line.
I disapprove of baby showers for two reasons: First, we are in a global resource crisis, and people, especially Americans, should have fewer children; and second, showers encourage wasteful consumerism, when the mother can easily obtain hand-me-downs for her rapidly growing child.
How has this woman (we will assume a woman since women are the ones typically invited to baby showers) been repeatedly invited to multiple baby showers considering subtlety is probably not her strong suit?
I am also alarmed at the shocking number of otherwise intelligent people who, despite this being the First World with various forms of birth control widely available, still have unplanned pregnancies and make no secret of this fact.
Nothing says friendship like making the statement that your friends — upon making a decision to procreate — have been deemed stupid in your eyes.
The majority of my friends’ pregnancies have been associated with shotgun weddings, underwater home mortgages or conception occurring immediately following the loss of the father’s job.
Perhaps this woman needs new friends.
For these reasons and others, I am generally not thrilled when my friends become pregnant. I love my friends …
… but once they have kids, they fall off the face of the earth. It makes me sad to lose my friends and watch them throw away their promising careers and lives to enter the black hole of babydom (which, despite common arguments to the contrary, almost all do).
Could this woman’s bone to pick with her friends be associated with jealousy toward little babies? It couldn’t be that simple.
Given this, it seems inappropriate for me to attend baby showers.
It’s probably best.
My friends are all familiar with my views on reproduction.
This woman must be a hoot to hang around with or have a lot of money to be able to maintain friendships with these pro-procreating people.
I am happy to help my friends in other ways: come over and do the household chores for a day, for instance. But is there a polite way to decline to attend a good friend’s shower?
What could “Miss Manners” possibly have to say to this woman?
GENTLE READER: Yes, certainly. It is: “Thank you so much for the invitation, but I will not be able to attend.”
But Miss Manners continues … in the third person, no less.
Miss Manners notices that being familiar with your views did not deter your friends from having children, so you needn’t feel neglectful about refraining from repeating them after the fact.
That last sentence may only make sense to someone with the high level of intelligence possessed by “Gentle Reader.” Anyone who can decipher it gets a (baby shower) cookie.
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