Dear Aimee,I was recently invited to a baby shower for a woman who was having her third child. It seems showers aren’t only for new mothers anymore. Am I the only one who thinks this is a little odd?
Coming Clean about Showers- OKC, OK
After doing some careful Googling, I have discovered that showers for subsequent children are primarily an American thing. Gatherings surrounding the birth of a child date back to ancient Egypt, and various religious and cultural influences have certainly put their mark on the event. In the spirit of uniting all countries in the celebration of life, I have compiled a plan that incorporates the best of baby showers from across the globe. It’s called: Around the World in 80 Minutes.
First of all the elderly women in the family take the expectant mother and cover her from head to toe in oil, help her into a tub of lukewarm water, and take turns bathing her. She then is lavishly adorned with garlands of jasmine and placed upon a swing covered with flowers where she glides to and fro as female friends shower her with gifts to aid in labor. Our expectant mother will hang these gifts on the wall of her house. Wooden bowls and linens used to be customary, but perhaps syringes of Demoral and the contact info of a good anesthesiologist would be more appropriate today. The women then dress our mom-to-be with colorful garments and elaborate jewelry, and proceed to feed her spoonfuls of homemade herbal concoctions guaranteed to expedite a healthy delivery. Meanwhile the rest of party will be busy slaughtering a sacrificial animal and dividing the meat into three parts; giving a portion to the poor, taking a part for themselves, and leaving the rest for the expectant family. During all of these festivities, the menfolk have it the easiest. According to tradition, all they have to do is retire to the next room and get sauced. Now that’s a shower I would pick up the local society pages to read about.
In conclusion, I have determined that each culture definitely has their own way of celebrating life that reflects the value they place upon it. It really is no surprise that the sprinkling tradition (the urban term for showering a mother for subsequent children) is becoming so popular in America. We are a country of excess and over the top indulgence. I suppose if there is any worthy subject for such displays of attention, new life is a noble cause. I am by no means a Miss Manners or an Emily Post. The social blunder of such a thing may be lost on me, but over-celebration of life will never be a faux pas in my etiquette book. I will save my disdain for the day when we as Americans no longer stop and take the time to honor the one miracle we cannot create nor replicate. The miracle of life.
Aimee Jones is a small town columnist and aspiring novelist writing from the Great Plains of Oklahoma. Click Follow to receive The Plain Wife by email. Thank you and Happy Reading!