Dear Carolyn: I am happily transitioning into my third trimester of a rainbow pregnancy [a pregnancy after a loss]. I … don’t want a baby shower. Like, I really don’t want a baby shower. There are a lot of reasons: I just moved to a new town, so no friends or family are within three hours of me; my family has been super generous with me my entire adulthood, and I don’t want to take anything more from them (except for baby help, which I’ll need a lot of); a lot of people receive a lot of superfluous stuff/toys during baby showers; people are already gifting me their secondhand baby items, which I love and are in great condition; after a previous miscarriage the idea of my pregnancy being the center of attention freaks me out.
I don’t have any problem with others who have loved their baby showers, I just don’t want one.
My husband, family, friends, and co-workers think this is ludicrous, and I am missing out on a key life-transition experience. They chastise me that babies are expensive, and that I’ll regret it later.
Am I depriving people who just want to celebrate? Am I just being a pill? Or is it perfectly fine for me to just smile and say, “I’m not going to have a baby shower right now, but I’d love to get together with you!” – Six Months and Counting
Your husband, family, friends, co-workers and any well-meaning others need to butt right out. Immediately. So please tell your husband this explicitly, and ask him please to get the word out to others on your behalf.
The pressure for you to say yes to a shower you don’t want would be inappropriate under any circumstances, but it is particularly frustrating when you’re clearly sorting through bigger emotional stuff.
You don’t seem to be on the path to regrets about going party-free, not even a little bit. But if you do surprise yourself with second thoughts, then there’s a much easier remedy available to you than the pre-emptive stress of a grudging “yes”: a shower after the baby is born. (A “Sip and See,” if it must be named.) Only if and only when you want it. A favorite-children’s-book theme would help head off superfluous stuff.
My condolences for your loss, and best wishes for a healthy birth.
Hi, Carolyn: I’ve always dreamed of writing a book. Not the great American novel, but of the fictional-romance genre using my personal memoirs as a basis – sexy, but not porn. It is what I know, and I have enough plot lines to do a few books. There were many men in my life, as I married late.
My husband is very private and I am an open book. Since I am writing about myself, he doesn’t support the new career and wants me to consider writing something less controversial, like history, travel, cookbooks. My plan was to use an assumed name but even this doesn’t placate him.
This has been my dream for years and now he won’t even discuss it with me. Should I continue and publish without his knowledge, or is that like being unfaithful? My first book is almost finished but I’m in a quandary. – Stymied
You’re looking at steep and unwelcome consequences regardless: publish quietly and lie by omission; publish with your husband’s knowledge and risk alienation; don’t publish and deny your dreams.
Given the high emotional stakes, no one can or should tell you there’s a right answer. There is only what you can live with in relative peace.
That said, I hope you’ll think carefully about two things: First, it’s wonderful that you’re an “open book” and lived many sexy story lines; good for you. However, it would have been just as easy for you to write erotica without spelling out for your “very private” husband that you’re basically writing your sexual memoirs. It’s not dishonest to be discreet.
It’s a little late now, but you still can assure your husband, yes, that anything you write is a fictionalized account?
Second, you are under no obligation to compromise your artistic vision – and, again, this isn’t about avoiding consequences, it’s about choosing the ones you can live with. Maybe you’re ready to bare all and bear all. But a pseudonym and some conceptual airbrushing are reasonable accommodations for your husband’s concerns. Is he willing to meet you partway as well, giving up something he’d prefer in order to meet your needs? And if not, then does that change your math at all toward what you’re willing to give up for him?
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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