Baby showers remain remarkably painful affairs. I still refrain from attending when at all possible. I wish I knew why. It is a celebration of the impending arrival of new life. It is enjoying the company of friends. And cooing over a pregnant belly. And debating the merits of boys versus girls. And playing silly baby shower games that kindergartners might find tedious. Oh yeah, now I remember why. I'm also scarred- I attended too many during my season of infertility and loss- I had to sit there and clap at a baby bonnet while my insides were torn into shreds and nod sympathetically as the pregnant party bemoaned how 'big she looked' and then promptly bury my head against the steering wheel, safely away from prying eyes to weep until my soul felt thirsty. As lovely as my son is, as much as he has helped heal my open wounds, I am still wounded- and these sorts of events- still hurt.
I am attending one today despite a million reasons not to. The girl in question painted her nursery in the first trimester, and wanted to have a baby, and then- just did. And I can't hate her for this. For her good fortune. For her lack of struggles since we each have our own crosses to bear- but- I'd rather visit once the baby is born, bring a gift- and avoid the festivities of a baby shower. I had to go since I got talked into a carpool that I despite my lawyer skills, could not talk myself out of, so we will be driving one hour one-way to attend- with no means to leave early.
I will guess the size of her belly. And marvel at baby booties, and blankets. And then I'm going to go home and hold my son so tight- and remind myself that things aren't the same. I might have to visit my dark place some days, but I no longer live there. I've dressed up this dark place with window coverings and a fresh coat of paint, but days like today I am reminded I cannot change what it is and that I must be gentle with this ugly, darker part of me.