Jessica Jefferson here with a brief and possibly somewhat accurate history of baby showers. One of my sisters is expecting her first child and I will be co-throwing her baby shower. I helped to throw my sister-in-law’s baby shower a couple years ago, so I don’t consider myself a novice. But with the world domination of Pinterest, there’s so many more ideas just sitting out there. Granted, most of my Pin-spiration will end up in an unidentifiable mess of craft glue and cardstock, but I have the best of intentions.
Which got me thinking – why am I doing all this? What made the baby shower what it is today? How did melting candy bars in diapers and having grown women pass them around trying to “name that poo” get started in the first place?
- In Egypt birth was celebrated after it occurred. And by celebrate, I mean trips to temples where placenta was often given as a gift. Guessing they went off-registry for that one.
- During the Middle Ages, the baptism served as a sort of shower where the baby would receive gifts from the Godparents. One traditional gift was silver, like silver spoons.
- The Renaissance brought the tradition most closely resembling our current day gift giving. Linens, bowls, and assorted ornamental items were given to the mother during the pregnancy or after the birth.
- The Victorians are to blame for starting the tradition of playing games. Of course, this was done after the baby was born since they would acknowledge anything so tasteless as being pregnant (oh, that crazy Victorian era).
- Mid-century 1900’s saw the modern day baby shower become common practice. The commercialization of pretty much everything brought about the need to commercialize bringing children into the world. We see gifts becoming more the focus since it became unthinkable that any mother could function without all the newest gadgets and a closetful of baby dresses.
- 2017 and beyond – Now we see mixed sex baby showers becoming more and more popular, the old pink and blue standbys being replaced with gender-neutral options, and momtails being served instead of a traditional punch.
In case you were wondering, I was planning on brunch with a lot of blue decorations. But, no matter our differences, there is one commonality that spans the centuries. Birth is worth celebrating. Mothers risk so much to bring a new life into the world and that deserves a party. Let me know your favorite baby shower games, foods, decorations, or ideas in the comments – I’d love the help!