14 Apr 2014

On storks, showers and babies


A few weeks back, I attended my first ever baby shower: mine. It was a lovely grown-up and sociable affair thrown for me as a surprise by a small group of expat mums I have recently met. 

I was barely aware of what a baby shower was all about. In Europe, baby showers are not really common. There is no such tradition. They are beginning to emerge in a few countries following the American trend, I guess, like for many other traditions. But they are far from being common. When I was pregnant for the first time I certainly did not have one and never attended one until I moved to Germany and socialised with a group of English-speaking expat mums.

Don't get me wrong. Baby showers are certainly not a German tradition, far from it. German mums, like French mums,  are a bit puzzled as to why you would buy gifts before the baby is even there. Instead in most European countries, the mum and baby would be visited by her friends, family and acquaintances when she is back from hospital and in the following weeks. Those friends bring gifts and the mum and dad have to entertain them to a certain level. This, of course, is quite demanding from the new parents' point of view. But if the guests are thoughtful, they would bring food or help of some sort. More distant acquaintances will send gifts.

Photo via Flickr

In Germany, like in other European countries, I know about, there is no baby shower. But there is a fun tradition in some areas which consists in telling the world you have had a baby. German families put a sign up in front of their house or flat announcing the baby is born. The sign is usually a stork with some baby related items: clothes, baby crib, etc. It is not a discreet sign and many people display it for weeks on end. It is normally displayed in their window or door or even on the outside of the house. it is fun. I am going to join in this tradition and make my own stork sign (albeit maybe a bit more discreetly). It just tells people who may come to my front door a lot of things about why I may be slow answering the door or why I may have my hair wet at 4pm or why I may be taking out the trash at 3am;-)

I have to say that I really loved the baby shower idea. I attended two others in the last few weeks and feel that they are a great way to treat the mum and make her feel special at a time when she is focusing on a million other things (especially for subsequent pregnancies).

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This post was written for the:
Multicultural Kid Blogs - Virtual Baby Shower


At Multicultural Kid Blogs, we consider ourselves a (very large) extended family, and so today we are taking time to celebrate those members that are about to or have recently welcomed new little ones into their lives.
The co-hosts of this blog hop, listed below, have each written posts related to baby showers or more generally about becoming parents, plus we'd love for you to link up yours below.
Also be sure to visit our Facebook page to leave your advice and well wishes for our guests of honor!

4 comments:

  1. I've never been to a baby shower.

    I think Germans believe buying gifts before the baby arrives is bad luck... just like wishing someone a happy birthday before the actual day.

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    1. I didn't want to write it but I think this is true in France too. There is a kind of untold "what if"...

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  2. Displayed storks is a fun idea :) Wishing you all the best on this new adventure!

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  3. I love baby showers, and it's so funny that it didn't occur to me that this wouldn't be a universal tradition. It is a nice way to pamper the mom and get excited about the new baby. Here in the US people still do stop by afterwards but usually bring food. Best wishes to you and your family! It is definitely an adventure the second time around :)

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