baby showers and unnecessary drama

I’ve had a really easy pregnancy so far. The most annoying symptom right now is the intermittently (very) swollen ankles. For a woman who usually has “birdie ankles” this strikes me as especially irritating. I can’t help but feel like I’m in a cankle twilight zone when they swell up! (I will never make fun of another woman’s ankles again!)

But the real question for today’s post is: do I let yucky things that have happened just go by, forgotten, and pretend everything has been roses… or do I drudge up a little, memorialize it, and hope that by doing so, it doesn’t ruin my day – or the fact that things are good with the hubby again now?

Deep, deep sigh.

A couple of nights ago, we had a ridiculous (and ridiculously long) argument until past 2 a.m. (I don’t know why, but stupid fights seem particularly egregious when they happen in the wee hours of the morning.) I should preface this by saying that my husband is unusually involved in things that most men consider women’s purview: all aspects of decorating the house, party-planning, cleaning, and general social etiquette. I could say that I’ve accepted this about him, but it wouldn’t be true. I find myself wishing desperately that he would leave some things just to me!

While this tendency of his does have its advantages (like spending a huge portion of his day off feverishly cleaning the entire house), it does also come with a dark side, the brunt of which I unfairly encountered a few nights ago.

I was talking to hubby about my upcoming (in August) baby shower and he began insisting I add yet another person to my already expanded list of invitees. Now, my original idea for a baby shower (being a person who doesn’t relish being the center of attention) was to have a small get-together for 10 or so of my closest friends at my house. It quickly dawned on us that parents, well – mothers, would want to come and be a part of it (thereby disturbing the cozy friend atmosphere) so perhaps a slightly larger, more formal gathering would be the smartest choice.

By the time we were done, the list had grown to 20 people and I had enlisted my dad’s wife (who has been infinitely more generous and willing to help than my own mother) to help plan the party. I don’t really enjoy the whole planning or throwing party thing and she lives for it – so, why not let her do some of it, right? Actually, she and my best-gay-friend are co-hosting the party for me, that way, I know he’ll keep her in check!

Both my mother and my mother-in-law added a person each to the list that I wouldn’t have invited on my own. And then, a girl who had been a forced-upon-me-friend (since our fathers were friends) when I was a child, ran into my husband and told him about all the second-hand baby stuff she was planning on giving me. Bear in mind that I haven’t seen this woman in over 30 years! So, my husband insists that I invite her to my baby shower as well. (Even my dad didn’t think I needed to invite her, and he sees her all the time.) But, I gave in… mainly because when my husband latches on to an idea, he’s like a dog with a bone – he just will not let it go – and, frankly, he wears me down.

The truth is, I still don’t feel comfortable with inviting her. If I were going to have an enormous party full of people I hadn’t seen in decades, that would be one thing – but inviting her to my intimate (sort of) gathering just feels like this thing is starting to become something else, something that is growing farther and farther from what I wanted in the first place.

So, cut-to, a few nights ago. My husband insists that I invite this girl’s mother, in addition to inviting her. Something in me feels a primal urge to mark my boundaries and protect what is mine – in this case, it’s my baby shower, but you get the point! So, I tell him the party is getting out of hand and we’re already at capacity, and he gives me the “one more person isn’t going to hurt” line. We go back & forth on this and then it occurs to me that this girl’s mother is a friend my father inherited in the divorce – and my (crazy) mother is going to be at the shower – which, to any child-of-divorce, clearly spells disaster is imminent. Husband seems unfazed. (Naturally, his folks have been married over 50 years, so why should he understand?) And we argue and argue and argue.

I start to feel completely unheard and invalidated. He tells me I’m being unreasonable. He also tells me he’s thought of another person we need to invite, and that it’ll cause a huge family conflict if we don’t. It won’t. (I’ve met this girl twice – and she’s had two babies since the first time I met her. I wasn’t invited to either shower and we’re not mortal enemies. So, I think my point is made.) It’s not. Husband continues to argue, now trying to add two people to my closed invitee list.

I see the way this is going. If I give in, next week will bring three more people I have to invite. My intimate gathering starts to look more and more distant. What kind of a person am I? I begin to wonder. Am I always going to let him badger me and exhaust me and then give in at the end? Do I never get to draw my boundaries? Do I not have a right to my boundaries? My feelings? My justifications? Why isn’t it enough that I feel strongly about something? Shouldn’t that be respected? And the tears start to well up. I think, am I in for a lifetime of these arguments? This isn’t even important in the grand scheme of things, how unreasonable will he be when it comes to a whole host of issues that are likely to confront us in the future? Is this the marriage our daughter will witness? And I completely lose it and break down into full-body sobs.

He hates when I cry. It occurs to him that I must be under the influence of pregnancy hormones. (Even though we’ve been arguing for over 2 hours now.) He feels badly about me crying and admits it might be a bad time for the “conversation” and says maybe we should revisit the subject later. Thinking about going through it all again at another time makes me cry even harder. I realize he completely doesn’t get it – or that my feelings don’t matter. I know this is inconsistent with how he’s been in the past, but can’t find another explanation for it.

We negotiate a temporary truce by agreeing to ask our respective family members what they think. We watch a repeat of Comedy Central’s Roast of Joan Rivers and are able to get in some hearty laughs before finally falling asleep at 3:30 a.m.

The following day, I’m shell-shocked. I find an article about not arguing with your pregnant wife (because the baby feels everything she’s feeling) and email it to him. I tell him, it would make me very happy if we never had a repeat of the prior evening. He reads it, apologizes, and tries… tries to argue with me less. Baby steps.

 

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Daryl
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 11:58:04

    I’m sorry your baby shower has turned into something you didn’t want it to be. I hope your husband does try to do better and that you can set some boundaries. It may seem like a small thing, but your baby shower should be your day, not a source of more stress. I hope when the day comes you can just sit back and enjoy it.

    Reply

  2. msfertility
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 22:48:46

    Thank you. I know it should be my day, that’s what’s so silly about this whole thing! I’m convinced my husband is (suffering from?) or at least experiencing Couvade. He’s gained weight and gotten really moody & sensitive. At this rate, my symptoms are milder than his 😉

    Reply

  3. Laura
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 07:04:33

    I really love reading your blog…I went through so many of the same things. Have you thought about having two showers?? One to appease the masses and another with just your close friends as you had originally wanted it.

    Reply

    • msfertility
      Jun 26, 2012 @ 21:37:52

      I did think of that! Originally, I wanted to have a co-ed party (barbecue style) with all my & my husband’s friends. He vetoed that idea, saying none of his buddies wanted to go to any type of baby shower. I would have two showers… but I don’t think I can afford to! Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog 🙂

      Reply

      • Laura
        Jun 27, 2012 @ 08:04:25

        I know…things add up so quickly! What about doing a no-host get together at a restaurant as more of a night out with all your friends to celebrate before “Rhonda Lee”? 😉

        As I read your reply I thought of something else I did that you could have fun doing (if you think appropriate!). I threw a small man-shower for my husband that was a surprise. I know, sounds ridiculous, and it was!!! I talked to a few of his friends and told them my idea and to my surprise they loved it. He was shocked and a little embarrassed but it was a huge hit. I set up all the games (beer baby bottle drinking contest, etc) and had one guy run it. I managed to do it with a tight budget too so could give you ideas if you’re interested! (I think my email shows up so you could always email me if you want details). Something fun to consider anyway!

  4. Laura
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 13:41:54

    Isn’t the shower coming up soon???

    Reply

    • msfertility
      Jul 27, 2012 @ 13:49:41

      Yes! August 12th. How bad would it be if I had a cocktail before everyone arrived? lol

      Reply

      • Laura
        Jul 30, 2012 @ 06:57:08

        LOL! Relax and enjoy it! It is your day and don’t let anyone make it stressful for you. Just enjoy being spoiled and talking about your beautiful little girl and her great cheeks!

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