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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: The Power of Shower

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babyshowerAt what point did we start having ‘baby showers’? I gave birth to four babies. I never had a single baby shower. I feel so ripped off. If I had known at the time there was a way to turn being pregnant into rampant commercial opportunism then I would have been on it.

To think, I actually bought my own stuff! How stupid was I! My first child was born while I was living in a shed so I scrounged all the stuff for her from outside Vinnies. That’s right people, I didn’t even wait for the doors to open. I looted from the poor. In the dark. And just from outside the front doors. I didn’t get in the bin. (I tried, but I was too big, and there’s no way you can get a full-term woman out. If I got stuck I would have had to deliver in the donation bin.)

It didn’t feel like stealing. I figured that when you are poor that it’s okay. It was kind of like an involuntary baby shower. My baby daughter slept in a vinyl woven bassinet with no handles, lined with a synthetic fur coat that belonged to a drag queen friend of mine. If the SIDS people had seen it they would have popped a blood vessel!

Babies are the ultimate merchandising experience. There is just so much stuff you can buy to make your experience of having a newborn more fulfilling. And if you can’t afford to buy it, you just ask your friends and family to get it for you. The great thing about a baby shower is that you double up on the gifts.

When my cervix dilated the full 10 we didn’t get gifts until after the baby, and they came in randomly as people visited. There was no group gathering that provided on-the-spot gift shaming for tight arses. People can give you really crap stuff and only you are the witness. At a baby shower your gift is on show. Everyone will judge you and your relationship with the mother and the baby-to-be by your gift, so you better make it a good one.

Everyone tries to outdo each other. Organic cotton baby wraps are a must, so are handcrafted Spanish baby booties, or an embroidered sleep sack, a baby Bjorn or carry sling or a top-of-the-range plush velvet baby seat. People who love you more will buy you one of those fabulous round-shaped wooden cots. I don’t think babies sleep any better, it just has that WOW factor when strangers come for a baby viewing.

At the end of every baby shower, what every mum actually wants is a Bugaboo. That’s one of those ridiculously expensive prams. She’s just sitting there with her fingers crossed hoping someone she knows likes her enough to fork out the big bucks. Top of the line pramsportation doesn’t come cheap. For just $1500 you can score something absolutely top of the range.

At a pinch $1k will get you out of trouble. But there ain’t nothing under $900. There are people driving cars around here worth less than half of that.

It seems bizarre to me that we would turn up with expensive gifts at an event for a baby that hasn’t even arrived yet. It’s just greedy and pointless. All those expensive gifts will be redundant in weeks. Or even days. Babies don’t really need that much. They certainly don’t qualify for baby showers.

If you want to help a new mum – give her a casserole, or a foot rub, or go visit and look after the baby for an hour so she can have a sleep. And for the big givers instead of a Bugaboo slip her husband a hand job so she gets the week off.

Baby Showers are silly. Like Wedding Showers. What’s next – Funeral Showers? Presents to take to the afterlife? Maybe I’m just an ageing old bitter mum. It all started when they put the ‘Mothers with prams’ car spaces into shopping centres right out the front of where you want to go. When I had three kids under six I had to lug them from the back of the carpark. Now, Mums get primo parking right next to the disabled.

The other day I parked in one just for the hell of it. I ended up in a yelling match with some lightweight new mum trying to unpack her fancy pram. She said ‘This is for mums with prams’. I said ‘Listen lady, in my day we had to park out back with the rest of them. Now fuck off, I’m menopausal.’

Hey there’s an idea, girls. What about a Menopause Shower?

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  1. So true Mandy! Am same as you….having babies in the pre-shower era! All our baby stuff I made, hired, recycled or came from the second-hand baby shop…not the baby though! Should I say 2nd hand pram shop.

    So many occasions have now been turned into money-making events….look at Halloween…..since when did we start to mimic American customs? Oh I forgot….Australia’s been doing lots of that over the years!


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