You’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. You’re currently deciding whether or not you want to parent or place your child for adoption. Questions hang in the air. Nothing is decided or final until the baby is born and papers are signed anyway. So, what do you do? More importantly, what do you say when asked by friends or family the following question:
“Do you want a baby shower?”
My default answer is always, “Say yes!” However, I’m going to discuss the reasons for and the reasons not to do so. I had to tell you first, though, that my default answer is always “Say yes!” Why?
A mother experiencing an unplanned pregnancy often debates the decision of parenting or placing for numerous reasons. One of the most common reasons is a lack of resources or funds to provide the “things” of parenting. I remember being panicked, even before I became severely ill and had to quit working, as to how I would provide things like a crib, a car seat and the never ending need for diapers. Still, there are women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy who feel as though they aren’t entitled to a baby shower. They feel that there are other women, more deserving women, who should be showered.
I say that theory is bunk. You’re pregnant. You deserve a shower.
Having a shower also provides the “stuff” that you may be worrying about: a crib, diapers, a car seat, clothes. The process of showering may also give you some confidence in the whole idea of parenting. As an example, at the baby shower I was given when expecting my first son, people shared their tips and advice about parenting. (Though the best piece of advice I received was to ignore most of the advice.) Knowing that others have made it through the trying times of parenting can give you that “edge” you need to succeed.
So, what if your reasons for placing are based on more than just the necessary “stuff” of parenting? What if you really are planning to place your child for adoption whether you win the lottery between now and your due date?
I say to still accept the shower. I know, crazy, right? I encourage you to invite the potential adoptive mother. If distance or time constraints prevent her attendance, encourage those at the shower to write her tips for parenting, especially if this is her first child. (As an added bonus, if anyone has experience with open adoption, tell them to throw those out there as well!) After the shower, arrange for the delivery of all items.
The only issue with this scenario is that you, the expectant mother considering relinquishment, still have every right to change your mind. I know, I know. You have every intention of placing. But the point is that after you have delivered your child, feelings can change. If you have already given everything from the shower, you may feel weird saying, “Could I have that back?” The question is also raised whether or not you should ask for it back if it was all given with the intention of this woman parenting. (A side note should be raised that an ethical family would give back anything from the shower.) This could be avoided by sending the “stuff” from the shower home with family when they leave with the baby.
In the end, I want you to know that you are pregnant. Whatever the situation that caused you to be considering adoption, you still are entitled to be treated like a pregnant mother. Allow yourself to be treated as such. You can work out the issues surrounding adoption, should you choose to place, later.
So, really, just say, “YES!”