Rivers of tissue Flow betwixt cardboard mountains. A toast to you, Baby. --A Virtual Shower Haiku
Pregnancy is a beautifully weird experience regardless of the circumstances of the pregnancy, but being pregnant in the middle of a global pandemic has been a particularly interesting and at times rather odd experience. I feel extremely lucky that the worst I can say is there have been some frustrating inconveniences such as not being able to have my husband with me at doctors visits, technological difficulties in telemedicine appointments with my OBGYN, a distinct lack of immediate access to duck-fat fries and hot wings when cravings hit, and having to cancel our baby shower.
On the other hand, being at home with Brad and JoJo during this time has lent itself to some of the most rewarding experiences, of not just my pregnancy, but of our marriage thus far. Many of these experiences, such as weekly pancake breakfasts, bathroom haircuts, and teaming up as Jedi Masters in Star Wars: The Old Republic deserve posts of their own, but in this post, I want to share what we experienced by hosting a virtual baby shower, how profoundly awesome it was, and what I learned as a result of the experience.
Sometimes I feel conflicted over celebrations because I feel a simultaneous tug between my inner pragmatist, who feels that most celebrations (especially the ones that revolve around me) aren’t really necessary and my inner sentimentalist who recognizes that there is some inherent esoteric value in acknowledging milestones and changing seasons. Furthermore, I feel conflicted over who is ultimately supposed to benefit from all of the effort being exerted to have the celebration in the first place.
When our shower had to be canceled, it wasn’t so much the disappointment over what was lost by not having the shower that I felt, but the weight of all of these internal conflicts. I questioned whether I should host something virtually or not, how my decisions would affect the people who had hoped to attend or had already purchased gifts, and even whether or not I really cared about having a shower at all.
Ultimately I landed somewhere in the middle. We chose to still celebrate, but in a small way. Because I’d already bought a dress, it made sense to wear it, and if I was going to get dressed up anyway, it seemed like a good idea to take some maternity photos too so that not all of my pregnancy pictures ended up being bathroom selfies in pajamas. My step-mom had already bought decorations, so we decided to put some of them up as a backdrop for the video. We already had a bottle of sparkling apple cider in the fridge, so getting some cake to go with it seemed like a nice, extra little treat (I’d secretly been craving cake anyway). I had no idea whether anyone would want to watch a video of us opening a bunch of presents, but it seemed rude not to give our friends and family–who had spent so much money, time, and effort on gifts and wrapping and postage and who loved us so much–the opportunity to at least watch a recording of us opening the gifts. To be perfectly honest, the driving forces behind most of the decisions I made were simply whim or practicality.
I wasn’t expecting it to end up being such a special day. I loved working with Brad as a photography team to take maternity pictures in the hills behind our apartment, laughing at his ridiculous jokes while we were opening gifts, and overindulging in personal bundtlets from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I even enjoyed wearing the “Mom to Be” sash that came with the decorations. (I’ve only worn a sash twice in my life, once for my bachelorette party and once for the shower, and to all my pageant queens out there, I have to say, I totally get the hype now. Wearing a sash feels awesome!). Most of all, I enjoyed that it was a special day where Brad and I got to spend the whole day together as a team, sharing in all the reminders from our friends and family how loved we are and how loved our little boy is going to be.
Before I got pregnant, when I was worried about whether or not I’d even be able to, my friend Jerika told me that she truly believed I would get pregnant, but that it might not turn out the way I expected. I’ve been coming back to that memory often throughout this season, but never was it more apropos than reflecting on the day of our alternative shower. By focusing on all my preconceived notions and conflicted ideas about celebrations, I almost missed out on the beautiful simplicity of our oddly perfect little shower. I should have remembered that it’s often the unplanned adventures that spark the best memories.
We know that shelter-in-place orders caused many people to have to change their plans or cancel major events and would love to hear your story! Did you have to cancel a big event because of Covid-19? If so, what did you to celebrate instead? Were there any unexpected outcomes of the experience?