They’re having a baby shower at work and I will not be going.
While everyone gathers together in celebration, I will find a place to hide. I will come up with an excuse for the co-worker who passes me in the hall on their way to the baby shower and wonders if I’m coming. I will do what I usually do when there is a work baby shower and I will definitely not attend.
I don’t know that I’ll ever attend another baby shower. The mere thought of being there makes my heart race and my palms sweat.
Why? Why can’t I just suck it up and go? Why can’t I just put on a happy face and join everyone else in celebrating a baby on the way?
Because after losing my own baby, I just can’t trust myself to be at a baby shower.
I can’t trust myself to just eat my cake and play silly games. I can’t guarantee that I will participate in the choruses of oohs and aahs as onesies and tiny hats are unwrapped.
To my heart that has lost a baby, a baby shower does not feel like a light-hearted event. It does not feel like a place to celebrate.
A baby shower feels like a place to fear because losing my baby has made me afraid.
I’m afraid of hiding in the corner, willing the tears not to fall. Afraid that someone will mistake my discomfort for rudeness.
I’m afraid of being in a room where everyone talks so certainly about the baby on the way. Afraid that something on my face will give away my worry that a pregnancy does not always result in a living baby.
I’m afraid that someone will innocently inquire about my own baby shower. Afraid that I will have to tell them that I didn’t have a baby shower, because my baby died before I could.
I am afraid of coming up with reasons to look the other way while the mom-to-be opens present after adorable present. Afraid of remembering what it was like to open a stack of sympathy cards instead of a stack of gifts.
I am fearful that others will not understand the paradox of wanting the invite but not wanting to attend. That just because I am terrified of the worst, that does not mean I don’t wish this mama the very best.
I’m also afraid that after almost three years, the mention of a baby shower can incite such heartbreak. That after so much healing, there is still so much hurt left.
So, I will say no to this baby shower and most likely the next one. I don’t know what I’ll say to every baby shower invite I receive, but in this moment I regretfully decline and I send my very best wishes to the family.