Let me just tell you this about the North American pregnancy traditions: They’re completely and utterly stupid. There’s the pregnancy announcement. There’s the gender reveal. There’s the baby shower. And finally, there’s the celebration that comes once the baby is born. People, mainly women, make such a big deal out of their pregnancies that they forget to realize that the actual celebration should only happen once the baby’s born.
I see many women have all of these celebrations throughout their pregnancies on Instagram. I’d never been to anything like a a gender reveal party nor a baby’s arrival celebration. But I HAVE been to two pregnancy announcement parties and three baby showers. One pregnancy announcement and two of these baby showers occurred while I was going through infertility struggles, and though I was truly happy for my friends, I was heartbroken to attend each of them because deep down, I wished it was me who was having a baby shower rather than my friends. When a friend of mine made her pregnancy announcement while I was going through infertility struggles and couldn’t get pregnant mainly because I was too ill at the time to carry a baby, I almost burst into tears publicly. It was so selfish of me to even have these thoughts in my head, I know that. But any woman who’s gone through infertility most likely understands where I’m coming from. Even though I always believed that these pregnancy celebrations and milestones are unimportant on a bigger scale, I still wanted to have them for myself even if a pregnancy cost me my health, because I was THAT selfish, desperate and stupid.
My husband would console me and say that maybe it was all for the best and that it would happen when when the timing is right and when my body was ready. Of course, I dismissed everything he was saying to me at the time. All I wanted for myself was for my body to start working ‘as it should’. I was so eager to feel the excitement that I saw my friends experience throughout their pregnancies and I wanted to have those dumb celebrations that I saw other people have on Instagram – the pregnancy announcement, the gender reveal party, the baby shower, the whole nine yards.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, though, my perspective changed completely. All of a sudden, none of that sh*t mattered anymore. It all seemed small, irrelevant, and unimportant. My only responsibility, I felt, was to have a healthy baby carried to full term. I didn’t care about anything except that, as well as for me to stay healthy and not allow epilepsy to take over my pregnancy. It’s hard enough to go through a pregnancy, but to also add an illness to it that could harm you and the baby that’s inside of you is a scary experience.
I decided not to have any celebrations throughout the pregnancy. The one celebration that is truly meaningful is the one that comes AFTER the baby is born. Of course, I want to have a positive mindset and hope for the very best. But again, I have to think of what’s best for my mental, physical and chronic health, as well as the fetus. I did a lot of back-and-forth thinking about this, and in the end, decided that that was the best action. I’m so glad that I did that because I ended up having three scares throughout. I was involved in a minor car accident and suffered two grad-mal seizures. The aftermaths of both seizures were especially scary. Luckily, though, after doing some checkups, all was confirmed to be well.
The people around me, specifically my friends, weren’t making things any easier on me. They kept asking me how I was feeling throughout the pregnancy, about any plans for a baby shower, registry, and all that crap. All I wanted was for them to shut the f*ck up. I know that they were just excited for the new arrival and that they were trying to be supportive. They were trying to do the right thing based on society’s standards and what its ‘manual’ says needs to be done in order to be supportive. But all I really want is to get through my pregnancy safe and sound while knowing that my baby is doing okay – that he’s healthy. I need to know that for sure before I celebrate becoming a mother and even discuss the baby as a human being. I’m 34 weeks and 4 days along today, and I’m feeling so lucky and grateful that I get to say that I have a healthy baby boy on the way despite what I’ve already endured.
On the other side of things, I respect those women, men, and couples, who do decide to have those traditional celebrations while they expect their babies. They’re fun. By attending them, you get the chance party, have good food, good drinks (if made available), and make new connections. Personally, I’d never say no to any of that even though it can add up to be costly, especially if you have a lot of close friends.