Soon after seeing that first positive pregnancy test I began to dream. I dreamed about what it would be like to watch my belly grow, what our little baby would look like, and if they were a boy or a girl. I dreamed of a beautiful, transformative unmedicated birth. I dreamed of holidays with a newborn, and what our family would look like once we became a family of three. I also began to dream about the nursery - how we would decorate it and what the theme would be. And I dreamed of the baby shower we would have - an epic one with all of our friends to make up for the fact that we never had a wedding shower. But all of these dreams came crashing down when we found out that our perfect little 14-week baby boy no longer had a heartbeat.
Over the course of my three pregnancies that followed, each also ending in loss, I continued to dream, the image of the baby altering slightly and the decor of the nursery morphing a bit each time. So, when we started the adoption process it was impossible not to continue to dream about these things. But, one message kept appearing in the forefront of my mind… this isn’t your baby yet.
Whether you’ve been matched with an expectant mom/family or not, you don’t have a baby until the baby is born and papers are signed, and it is incredibly important to honor and respect the expectant mother as 100% fully mom until that time. To do otherwise is coercive and that is not okay. And while I do believe it is possible to prepare a nursery in preparation for a future baby in a way that is respectful and appropriate, we decided that neither a shower or setting up a nursery felt right to us.
And, for the record, it is possible to welcome a baby into your home without a beautifully curated nursery or a Pinterest-worthy baby shower. Our baby girl came fast. We were matched with her roughly 24 hours after becoming an active family and she officially became ours four days later when she was one week old. And while we were totally surprised by just how quick she came, we had what we needed.
If you, like us, decide that forgoing the baby shower and nursery decorating is what is best for your family, there are some things you can do to prepare. First of all, get the necessities. This is what we had on hand prior to going active:
Bottles & formula
A few clothing items
Diapers & wipes
Travel changing mat (since we didn’t have a changing table)
Bassinet (or somewhere for the baby to sleep)
A few swaddle blankets
Baby carrier (not absolutely necessary, but definitely handy)
More than anything the baby just needs you - your love, to hear your soothing voice, your bare skin for skin-to-skin time.
And just because you don’t have a baby shower before the baby arrives, doesn’t mean you can’t do one ever. You can always do one later, and it will be extra special because the baby will be there with you! This whole baby-shower-after-the-baby-is-born thing even has a name apparently… a “sip and see.” Essentially, people are welcomed to come have a sip of champagne (or whatever else suits your fancy) and see the baby. And bring gifts of course! Hopefully these gifts will help you get all the fun baby stuff that goes beyond the bare necessities.
I understand that you’ve been longing for a child, that maybe you’ve been waiting years, that you’re just overflowing with excitement and you want to celebrate this baby. You want to buy all the things for them and throw them a great big party. I get it. And that baby deserves to be celebrated. That baby deserves all the nice things. But, keep in mind that you have that child’s whole life to celebrate them once they are yours. Let that child’s first mama have her time with her baby. That time is sacred and special and belongs to her alone. So do what feels right and works for your family, but always do it with the love and respect each and every expectant mother making an adoption plan for their baby deserves.