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  • Writer's pictureKirsten McLennan

My infertility made me dread attending baby showers

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

As featured in Motherly magazine.

During my infertility journey, I dreaded baby showers. I was happy for my friends, and I wanted to celebrate with them. Afterall, a baby shower is meant to be a joyous occasion.

But dealing with infertility, baby showers always meant one thing: being surrounded by excited squeals and endless reminders of the one thing I didn’t have and desperately wanted. The one thing I was fighting so hard for. It was excruciating.

I found that it depended on what I was going through at the time or where I was at with my treatment. A week before one friend’s baby shower, we lost our baby. I couldn’t go.

I could barely get through the day without sobbing, let alone attempt to attend someone else’s baby shower. I had to put myself first. When I spoke to my friend about it, she understood. In her words, “Why on earth would you put yourself through that?!”

With my very good friends, I often did attend. Their baby showers were intimate, understated and beautiful. They would also check in with me before and after to make sure that I was OK. But outside of those close friends, I did not attend.

I often felt guilty and selfish. Why couldn’t I put my feelings aside and be happy for them? Why did I cry before and after? Why did I often feel the sharp sting of jealously?

From talking to other women dealing with infertility, I discovered that it’s extremely common to get upset, and often jealous, about others’ baby showers. If your infertility journey makes it hard for you to attend baby showers, you are not alone—and it is OK.

How to manage baby showers when dealing with infertility

1. Know that your feelings are valid

Infertility is hard. You’re going through something incredibly difficult, emotional and all-consuming. It’s OK to feel upset.

2. Know that it’s OK not to go

If you are not close to the person, I doubt they will miss you. They’ll have plenty of other friends, family and work colleagues there to celebrate with them. And if you are close to them, as a good friend, they should understand.

3. Speak to your friend

If you decide not to go, speak to your friend—or send a text message if you’re not very close to them—about why you’re not coming. Most people will understand. Most will emphasize. You can also send along a gift with someone else who may be attending.

4. If you decide to go, have a plan

  • Is there a friend attending who knows what you are going through? Stay close to them.

  • Allow yourself to have a good cry before and after.

  • Plan a self-care day for yourself if you can, preferably the very next day. Whether that’s getting a massage or going for a long walk—do whatever makes you feel good.

  • Drive yourself. This way, you can leave at any time you need to without getting stuck there.

  • Give yourself a job. Sometimes being trapped in the kitchen making endless cups of tea or passing food around can be a life saver. A job can keep you distracted and can help the time go by faster.

Dealing with infertility is hard. It’s all consuming. It’s unfair. So if you are feeling upset or jealous about baby showers, know that it is OK. Your feelings are valid. Be kind to yourself, because that’s what you need to surround you during such a difficult time.


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