Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Baby Showers

As I think I've mentioned before, two women in my department at work are pregnant. On Monday an invitation came out inviting the whole department to a joint baby shower. It just so happened that the shower was scheduled on the morning I was originally supposed to go in for my U/S. Now that the U/S has been moved up to the 22nd, I'm stuck in a weird place. I know I can't handle going to this shower. Watching them open gifts, talk about nurseries, pregnancy symptoms, how big they are getting, and on and on and on. I can just see myself sitting through the shower with a smile pasted to my face and then retreating to my office and having to shut my office door for the rest of the day and try to stop the tears. But I obviously can't show up to work and NOT attend the shower (which will be in a conference room 2 doors down from my office).

It is not their fault that I have this problem. I should be a strong enough person to be happy for them. I shouldn't be this selfish. But I'm not strong enough and I am selfish. So there, I've said it. At this time, I'm already planning to claim I have a doctor's appointment (even if I don't) and will just come into work late that day. I can't believe that this is what it has come to. This is who I've become. Sad, but true.


Maria said...

You are strong and you are NOT selfish. It takes a really strong person to admit when they can't handle a situation. It's healthy to bow out, instead of inflicting yourself with this pain.

If it was a family member than it might be different, but they're just coworkers.

Angela said...

Listen, we have to go through enough without having to go to baby showers. It's simply too painful. It's all about self-preservation when you avoid them.

I tried going the "other" route by acting happy when I was not and even going to the extreme of *giving* showers for people. I think I was trying extra-hard to convince myself that if I could pretend it did not bother me and get through it, it would happen for me. Twisted logic, huh? I would then come home and collapse on the floor in tears. No more.

I avoid baby showers. Gifts are bought online. I do not give showers. If a friend gives birth, I have my husband write a note for us. I do not even open Christmas cards because everyone sends pictures of their kids. It's just too hard.

If I were in your situation, I would call in sick. Better to just be away from it all entirely. Please don't feel guilty. It's not about you not being happy for these two people, it's about you being in pain about the void in your life. And there is no reason to put yourself in a situation where you will feel pain.

I hope you find a good solution - either going in late or not going in at all. And maybe you can ask a trusted co-worker to buy your gifts for you and wrap them so you don't even have to deal with that.

Good luck and be good to yourself.

- Angela

shinejil said...

I'm with Maria, and I think it's cool to bow out even with family members. They wouldn't want you to suffer during what is supposedly a happy occasion, even if they can't handle the suffering psychologically.

You've got enough on your plate as it is!

Io said...

Ditto what Maria said. She totally has the words.
Having a "doctor's appointment" is a good idea.

Duck said...

You are strong, and you don't have to attend the baby shower - you can come down with "babyshoweritis". Which I just read is also Angela's idea. I have suffered from this dreaded disease my whole life.

Even if they were family, even if it was your sister babyshowers are the number one worse place to be because you just can't escape them. At a time like this, it's time to think of you, be greedy, stay home and watch chickflicks, take a day for you.

Sarah Motes Ashley said...

Anyone who is "strong" enough to go to baby showers, easily, is making the rest of us look bad. Ain't gonna happen. And it's not as simple as "being happy for them" - maybe it's just that being "sad for me" is a little more immediate at the moment.

Lori said...

If I had it to do all over again, I would not subject myself to showers where I pretended to be happy.

I would either (1) do something nice for myself; or (2) spend that 2 hours volunteering with hospice or Childrens Hospital or something that made me feel thankful.

Any of us could provide you an alibi for that day. I'm just saying...