My Big Fat Reluctant Baby Shower

12/05/2011 12:32 | Updated 22 May 2015

Baby Shower. Stock PhotoShe may have planned the baby but definitely not the baby shower. Hazel Davis talks nappy cakes and more...

"What??" screeched my friend Annie, "You're not having a baby shower???! Are you MENTAL?" Erm. Annie is American. And very forthright.

In between her exclamations I explained patiently that, to my inhibited British eyes, a baby shower is horror in a nappy-cake-shaped package. It's a blatant request for presents (I'm SO English I have a hard enough time coming to terms with the idea of a wedding list, let alone a registry for baby gifts. Surely a crudely knitted hat is the most you should expect?), it's a forced gathering of people who may or may not come and who may not know each other and if they do they might not get on. For an uptight Brit like me, it sounds like a living nightmare.

I had to explain to Annie that, unlike Friends and other Manhattan-based "real-life" dramas, my life doesn't consist of one huge gang of same-aged, well-dressed, same-haired, professional singletons with money to burn and who all know each other and regularly socialise.

Mine are a (lovely but) disparate bunch of boys and girls from different walks of life who don't know each other and might not like each other if they do meet. Moreover, some of them are lunatics living on the breadline and others of them are likely to have the reaction that I had...

"Stuff and nonsense," she said, "they'll come. I'll make sure of it."

And so I find myself in the position of having a baby shower thrown for me. And I am terrified. I had no idea what they entailed (I still don't really, if I am honest) but the one word that jumps out at me every time I think about it is the word "nappy-cake" (which I have just Googled and nearly vomited in my mouth at the prospect).

Because my baby shower is a "secret", I have had to surrender to Annie the names and email addresses of "close friends and family" and leave it all in her capable Yank hands. None of my family live in this part of the world so they won't be coming.

Annie doesn't understand that my family will not be traveling the 200 or so miles to attend something they have no concept of and would probably be deeply suspicious of. So I have lied to her and submitted a list of "friends most likely not to tell her to eff off". It's not quite a list of my closest friends (though there is some overlap) but it might save me some mortification on the day.

Since then, I have been banned from finding out any details about the event itself. I have had a series of worrying emails. "What's Bob's [my partner's] number? I may need his help with something..." and "my friend back in NY has just given me some amazing ideas for games". Games? Oh lord.

I'm just not sure we're quite ready for baby showers here. Those I have heard of have been the preserve of the baby-crazed. Women who can't WAIT to stuff their house with pastel pink teddy-bear balloons and gaudy plastic accessories.

But Annie says she's been going to baby showers since she was three years old and she was hurt when I suggested they were a hideous import and a nasty commercial trap, saying, "Seriously, what is with this culture not celebrating babies?!? It's all about helping the parents out."

Maybe she's right. Perhaps I should lighten up. It might be nice to catch up with all my friends in one place (and...breathe) and allow myself to get properly excited about having a baby. Plus, in her words, I get "loads of free swag"...

Did you have a baby shower?

Have you been to one?

Have you ever been presented with a nappy cake? Share your views.

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