How to Cope With Baby Shower Invitations After a Miscarriage

woman with baby shower invitations

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If you've recently experienced a miscarriage, you're likely still grieving the loss of your unborn child. So what do you do when baby shower invitations for other moms-to-be land in your mailbox or inbox?

Following the loss of a baby, the idea of celebrating another's pregnancy may seem like the last thing you feel like doing. But that's OK. It's normal to grieve after any kind of loss, and your expectant friends or family members should hopefully be able to respect that.

Depending on where you are in your journey toward healing, you may choose to opt out of attending baby showers for the time being. Alternatively, you may find it helpful to be around loved ones and decide to go anyway. Find out why it's OK to skip the baby shower following a miscarriage, and learn how to cope if you decide to attend.

If your post-miscarriage grief is leading to symptoms of depression, remember that you are not alone and there are ways to get help.

Why It's OK to Say No

After a miscarriage, you may find yourself in a great deal of emotional pain. If the emotional experience of attending a baby shower is too much for your current state, there is no need to feel guilty about not attending. If the shower is for someone you're not close to or who is not aware of your loss, simply send your regrets and say you have other plans that day. You can send a card and/or a gift with your congratulations instead.

If the baby shower is for a very dear friend or close relative, you may have a harder time saying no. While your attendance shows that you support this person, there are other ways to offer support—especially once you've recovered from the trauma of your loss and can be there for them once their child is born.

Rather than simply declining the invitation, however, try talking to them in advance about why you've decided not to attend. Speak by phone or ask to meet in person if that's an option. Explain that you are still grieving and you're just not ready for a group gathering.

When you take the time to offer your congratulations one-on-one, they should be better able to understand what it is you're going through and why it's better for you to sit this one out. This is how they can help support you while you're grieving.

And if anyone seems disapproving or judgmental regarding your absence, then you might want to take some time away from that person. If they can't understand and respect your decision, maybe they're not the best support system for you right now. Try not to let the insensitivity of another upset you or shame you into going, either. Attending a baby shower out of guilt may not be the most productive way to process your grief.

Any close friend or loved one should be able to understand why you're not quite ready to attend a baby shower, given the circumstances.

What If You Decide to Go?

If you decide to attend a baby shower anyway, the first step is to acknowledge to yourself how difficult certain aspects of the event might be for you. Don't be afraid to step away for a break if you start to feel sad or emotional, and know that it's also OK to leave early if you need to.

If other guests attending the shower are aware of your miscarriage, it's a good idea to be prepared for questions. Pregnancy will be on everyone's minds, so some people may ask you when you're planning to try again or make other comments about your miscarriage. Have a response ready so that you are not caught off-guard. Don't feel like you have to justify your grief to anyone, and definitely feel free to politely say that you'd rather not talk about it if that's what you prefer.

If you're visibly upset, it's also OK to admit it. If you need to excuse yourself from a room, you can explain why. If it feels too vulnerable to be completely honest, simply say that you're still going through a hard time and that you may need to leave. If you're comfortable sharing, then you can say that you came because you wanted to support your friend who is having the baby, but it's still hard for you to be around baby-themed gatherings.

When you return from the event, give yourself some time to recharge. Practice a little self-care, perhaps drawing a hot bath and listening to soothing music. If you're still upset, deep breathing and meditation can help promote relaxation.

Choosing the Right Gift

Whether you are attending the shower or not, you may wish to send a gift. In this case, consider buying something online to avoid going into a store that could be full of pregnant shoppers or people carrying newborns.

If the thought of browsing a baby site seems potentially triggering, consider sending a gift certificate. A gift certificate is sure to be appreciated even if it's just to buy diapers. You might also simply select an item from the shower's registry if one is set up.

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Volgsten H, Jansson C, Svanberg AS, Darj E, Stavreus-Evers A. Longitudinal study of emotional experiences, grief and depressive symptoms in women and men after miscarriage. Midwifery. 2018;64:23-28. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2018.05.003

By Krissi Danielsson
Krissi Danielsson, MD is a doctor of family medicine and an advocate for those who have experienced miscarriage.