It's been/going to be a busy few weeks for our church women's organization. We've had several meetings, a service project, and several baby showers, with more on the way. In light of the multiple baby showers I've been going to lately, I've decided to share my no-fail baby shower gift.
First, I think it's important to point out that for a long time baby showers made me uncomfortable. This feeling came not only because I was baby-less but also because I was never sure what to get people, and I like gift giving too much to feel happy when I'm unsure about my choices. It seemed like everyone was getting blankets and onesies and strange accouterments that made no sense to me, so I'd struggle trying to pick something out, go with something generic from the registry, and be done with it. I did, however, once decide that the mother-to-be really should get something for herself, since this struck me as one of the last parties many women might have that were just for them. So I'd throw in some shower gel or bath salts or chocolate or the like with my gift for the baby and the mothers were always appreciative.
Then I got pregnant. And I realized that registering for gifts is a crap shoot, especially for first-time mothers. And I also had my own showers (at which I was just as uncomfortable, by the way) and decided that registries were also, apparently, completely ignored by most people. And I discovered that what I really needed were gift cards (bless those women who got them for me!) but that many people felt (understandably) that cards were too impersonal. And then I went to the hospital with my labor bag packed with all the paraphenalia the many lists I had consulted had recommended and I ended up using maybe two of the items I brought and missing a whole bunch of useful equipment I should have had instead. And the idea for my perfect shower gift was born!
The Perfect Baby Shower Gift: A Labor Essentials Kit*
Assemble the following items in a gift bag or a small (cheap) tote. Adjust the content as desired, deleting or adding items as the mood strikes you. Stay within one color scheme to up the wow factor.
1 small bottle of good-smelling shower gel (for post labor washing up)
1 mesh sponge (those round things, like plastic loofahs? who knows what they're really called)
1 small tube of lotion (for hospital dryness)
1 tube of chapstick or flavored lip gloss (again, for hospital dryness)
1 small bag of wint-o-green mints (in case of bad tastes in one's mouth)
1 small tube of toothpaste (a toothbrush is also a nice touch)
1 pack of gum (I like Orbitz because of all the pretty colors and the powerful taste)
1 package of thank-you notes or note paper (in case one gets to the hospital early and has some time to kill)
1 pen (because it will be forgotten and is very handy)
1 general interest "ladies" magazine (for mindless diversion if needed)
1 pair of colorful, seasonally appropriate socks (so one can be warm and then get rid of them guilt-free)
1 bit of whimsy (a ball of bath salts, funny stickers, a troll with pink hair, because there might be a need for a laugh)
*I have done a similar kind of kit for wedding nights/honeymoons based on what we needed/would have liked to have had, including items such as a toothbrush/toothpaste (the husband forgot his), a bottle opener (the husband cut his thumb opening a bottle of Martinelli's), band-aids (there was blood, lots of blood), small packet of alcohol or antibiotic ointment (it was a deep cut--did I mention the blood?), extra condoms (just in case), K-Y (because, well, because), massage oil (a nice touch), a phone card (in case the cell phones fail or disappear), some candy bars (we totally forgot to eat), or a deck of cards (for the plane).