By Karen Malone Wright
I couldn’t find a statistic to tell me how popular online polls really are, but considering that they’re all over the Web, I figure that can’t be by accident. Generally, they don’t discern anything deep and meaningful. Nevertheless, a good number of Net users, including me, enjoy the clicks to vote and then see how our choice ranks with other polltakers. Unfortunately, “Who wore it better?” probably attracts more respondents than anything a Congressperson is doing.
However, poll questions that appear not to matter are still soliciting readers’ opinions. It’s the human urge to share that makes us click in response. Engagement with readers, as often and as long as possible, is what makes us bloggers very happy. And sometimes, even casual questions reveal interesting information.
When an early 2014 poll here asked readers to choose the best and worst of Spring, there was no hidden agenda attached. I wasn’t seeking to learn anything special about my readers. But, I did receive a subtle, unsolicited message. It was hard not to notice that for 2 straight weeks, more people — 40% — thought baby birds are something to celebrate, while baby showers are not.
TheNotMom isn’t Gallup, of course. Less than 50 people took that poll. People who thought there’s nothing bad at all about Spring came in second (33%). But, still. And, frankly, I needed the reminder.
I haven’t been to a baby shower in a while, but I’ve been to at least a dozen over the years, all without incident. (Unless, of course, you consider making a woman who passed the Bar exam wear a paper plate hat with ribbons on it.) Warm weather does seem to bring out the invites: September is the month with the most births, so count backwards and the timing makes sense.
For a woman who tried to have children, wanted children, baby showers can be agonizing. That drama begins with the arrival of the invitation. We’re happy for our friend and genuinely happy to be at the event. Even if Streep-quality acting is needed to smile and laugh, and every effort is made to avoid staring at the Mom-to-Be’s belly, it’s nice to be part of the festivities. But often, it’s nicer when it’s over.
Several by-choice NotMoms have told me they dread baby showers, obviously for very individual reasons. Shower guests, especially the Mom-to-Be’s female family members, may see the party as an opportunity to remind a childfree woman that she’ll “regret her choice.” Surely the adorableness of itty-bitty baby clothes will do the trick, no?
Chances are, knowing your situation, the Mom-to-Be may have thought long and hard about what your reaction to the event might be. PlantthePerfectBabyShower.com advises Moms:
“By not inviting [your NotMom friend], it may seem that you are trying to tippy-toe around her and having fun without her. It is best to be on the safe side and invite her. Then the decision is hers to decide if she would like to come or if it would be too hard for her.”
Whether you attend the next baby shower you’re invited to or not, and whether you have a good time or not, there’s one positive thing you can and should do. Warmly thank your pregnant friend for inviting you, and including you as she celebrates this major life change. Her pregnancy is a big change for your friendship, too. And like any marriage, friendships take a little work.
Back to our very un-scientific poll: I’m guessing that in super-sized numbers, the “We love everything about Spring” brigade would win out.