Whether you want to get your girlfriends together for a fun afternoon or you are curious to see if anyone is going to give you baby cribs or other big-ticket items, you’ll find that a baby shower is a great excuse for anything you might want to do.
However, as you fill out your invitations and prepare appetizers, you may start wondering where we get this tradition and how it started.
While they weren’t writing out adorably illustrated cards or posting invitations on Facebook in the Victorian era, we can see some of the beginnings of the tradition there.
The Evolution Of Baby Showers
During the Victorian era, it was in a woman’s best interests to hide the fact that she was pregnant as long as possible.
After she started to show, she needed to stay at home. This was considered proper behavior for a pregnant woman; during this era, even saying the word “pregnancy” was considered somewhat forbidden.
In this environment, there were often games that were played to guess who might be pregnant. During a period of high infant mortality, however, it was considered unwise to celebrate before a baby was born. This is why the baby shower as we know it started to evolve sometime after the childbirth.
At the Victorian baby shower, the attendees would provide the new mother with things for her baby, including handmade clothes and cloths for cleaning.
The items would be presented to the new mother in the hopes that she would have an easier time looking after her new beloved child. When a Victorian mother had a second child, she might have a different, more intimate party known a sprinkling.
The baby shower as we know it today began roughly in the 1950s. With the advent of mass-production, more and more people were able to purchase gifts like cribs and clothing for the mother to be.
Baby showers also served as a good way for a mother to be to get more advice about babies and child rearing from her friends and her older female relatives. During the fifties, the baby shower was an entirely female domain, though in recent years, mixed sex baby showers have become more prevalent.
As women began entering the workforce more commonly, female co-workers would also throw each other baby showers. These events tend to be held at a neutral space, like a restaurant or a cafe rather than at someone’s house, and the gifts received tended to be much simpler.
This was a good way for co-workers to celebrate each other’s good luck as well as a way to say good bye to a co-worker who might be resigning or taking maternity leave after the the child was born.
Baby Showers Have Come A Long Way…
Today, baby showers are commonly held for both men and women, and some people even choose to have their baby shower registered, as they would a wedding.
The types of gifts presented cover a wide variety of options, while the tone of the party itself may be intimate and serious or loud and boisterous.
If you are planning a baby shower yourself, think about the older traditions that surround this get together and consider what you want out of it.At the most basic level, the baby shower should meet the needs of the mother to be and help her forward with her time as a new mother.
What do you think about the history of baby showers? Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.