Step Bi Step: How to Throw a Queer as Folk Baby Shower

2/15/2018

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Just like the many ways to be bi, there are infinite possibilities for baby showers. There doesn’t even technically have to be a baby. Showers are about a community welcoming a new member. They are about celebrating and supporting one another. So let’s throw a welcoming party as queer as the folks we love, y’all!

The Recipe

You can zhoosh this shower up however you want from here, but you’ve got to start with:

  • The Parent or Parents (referred to in singular from here on out)
  • Parent’s enthusiastic consent
  • Your priorities straight because this is not about you
  • At least one location option
  • A shared joy for the adventure your dear one is about to embark on

Them’s the basics! Onward, ho!

Folks, set your boundaries!

Baby showers typically involve a gathering of folks for a few hours on a weekend afternoon. They range from formal to informal, can be in a home, restaurant, or other rented location, and often involve a mixture of family and friends. This is not a rule, though–sometimes families throw family-only showers, and same for friends. This can help with both the budget and the fire code, and is a great place to start.

Ask yourself: What is your budget? How many people can you reasonably host? Are you co-hosting or flying solo? Think these through before you have a conversation with Parent. Knowing your boundaries will help you keep them.

Want to do some next level expectation management? This paragraph is for you! You might consider: Can you not imagine a meal without meat and just remember the Franks are both vegans? Are you willing to work with Lisa’s Type A sister who has promised to be “hands off”? (She will not be “hands off”.) Expectations are everything when throwing a successful event. Being on the same page is worth its weight in the cloth diapers Parent is about to attempt to use for six weeks, give or take a blowout.

Here is the most important boundary for you to set for yourself: no matter how excited you are for this new family member, no matter how close you are with Parent, it is not your business how Baby came to be. (Unless you’re the donor/surrogate, and if so, mazel!)  It is the miracle of life, let Sally and Jemma bask in it. Your only involvement in who put what where when is how you’re going to have a few redirections prepared if Aunt Glinda starts asking too many questions. Keep in mind the amount of too many questions is one.

When is it going to be?

Showers are typically held four to six weeks before baby’s estimated due date. Multiples are often expected earlier than singles, so ten to twelve weeks in advance is perfectly reasonable. Some parents prefer to have the shower after the baby is born. Once you have a time frame narrowed down, have Parent identify the must-have guests and pick a day and time that works best. Remember to figure out an end time as well as a start!

Choose a theme

Choosing a theme is so much fun. Also! This is where Parent’s gender-related wishes are most important to note. Some folks want to revel in the gender their kid will be assigned at birth, others want to wait until birth to find out, and still others want to wait until the kid can tell them. Best not to assume if Kathy and Kameron are expecting a girl they want your house to look like Pepto Bismol went the wrong way.

Potential themes: Unicorns (obvi.) Rainbows are especially appropriate if this is a rainbow child. Plus with rainbows you have endless options for decorating, it is easy to be gender neutral, and you could make these awesome, very queer Rainbow Cakes! Other possibilities: Two Dads Are Better Than One. Zombies and Sports. And so on!

Got your theme? BOOM CHECK IT OFF DONE.

Oh yea make a checklist

Write it down, fam. Now that you’ve got an event date, work back and match up some deadlines with the tasks we are about to cover. Here we go!

  • Confirm the location.
    • Make sure you know the location is accessible.
  • Finalize the guest list.
    • Easiest to do in a spreadsheet to track RSVP’s.
  • Make invitations (evites or paper.)
    • What, Where, When
    • Where Parent is registered
    • When and how to RSVP. If you want anyone under the age of 26 to RSVP make texting an option.
  • Send out invitations with an RSVP deadline at least a few days before you actually need final numbers.
  • Follow up with the half of the guest list that have not RSVP’d by deadline.
  • Basically 80% of throwing a party is figuring out who is coming.
  • Plan your menu.
  • Figure out games. For example!
    • The dreaded melted candy bars in nappies game!
    • Trivia about Parent!
    • Guess Parent’s first big post-pregnancy meal (Soft cheese! Margarita! Cold cuts!)
  • Gather supplies.
    • Plates, cutlery, cups, napkins, something to cut the cake. Whatever you need for games. Lots of bowls. A pen and paper for someone to write down the what and who of each gift. Decorations!
  • Map the room.
    • Where’s the gift table? Where should people put their coats? Are there enough chairs?
  • Make a schedule.
    • Greeting guests, eating, drinking. Games. Figure out how much time will need to be dedicated to present opening. Double it.
  • Set a playlist.
    • Or re-up your Spotify subscription.
  • Pat yourself on the back, you did a great job with this checklist.

Don’t assume

Here are some “traditional” guidelines that can be thrown out the window!

  • Baby showers are for people welcoming babies. New members of our families are sometimes babies, but not always! Do you have a friend who is welcoming a child into their family? Would you love to throw a shower for them? Ask them!
  • The pregnant partner is the guest of honor. I mean there might not even be a pregnant partner, but if there is, the non-gestational parent (NGP) is also worthy of all this loving attention!
  • There’s pink and there’s blue and one of them is your mandatory color scheme. Colors are for everyone, do whatever the fuck you want.
  • Grandparents have to be invited. Some people are assholes. That includes some people’s moms. If Parent doesn’t want to invite their own parents, don’t push back. They might’ve made a tough decision, or had one foisted upon them. Just love them with all your might, and then love ‘em a little more.

Basically, respect Parent’s wishes. And if you don’t know those wishes, ask!

Other Etiquette (my opinions)

Not inviting other babies is a dick move. Make your party accessible to parents. Let people know on the invite so they don’t have to ask. And for the love of the Lords of Kobol, never tell an exclusively nursing parent they can’t bring their kid.

EDIT. Attendees may have a deep love for this new family, but that doesn’t mean they have deep pockets. So include a link to the baby registry. And yes, it’s ok to tell people they are welcome to bring their favorite childhood books instead of cards. Just word it so it doesn’t seem like a requirement for walking in the door.

Hey, you! Thanks for loving your closest bi enough to share in their joy and shower them with happy. Follow the steps here and viola! You’ve got yourself a baby welcoming party. Join me next time so we can keep figuring this parenting thing out together. Step bi step.

SB Swartz
SB Swartz is an author covering inclusive wellness, queer family, and reflections of our world as seen on tv. As a contributing writer for bi.org, SB created the Step Bi Step series for bi parents and originated the This Bi Life series showcasing bi community stories.

SB would very much like to talk to you about your pets, her pets, and the way you view the world. She's her favorite somebody's mama. And yes, she's #StillBisexual.

Find SB Swartz @sbswrites on Twitter and read more of her latest @sbswartz on Medium.