Is it even possible to decline my work’s baby shower?

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Photo by Sugar Daze, used under Creative Commons license.
I am pregnant and I experienced raging morning sickness that more closely resembled all-day sickness. I threw up at work several times (in the bathroom) but was still “reminded” by Human Resources to use the bathroom for all incidences because they had “received complaints.” I was embarrassed — I did all I could have.

I work in a small corporate office and we celebrate birthdays and things, including baby showers. I don’t want a baby shower thrown for me for the sake of being consistent by my co-workers who complained about me, and my family and friends are both planning two already — this would be a bit superfluous.

Should I, can I, decline a baby shower from my co-workers? Is there a “good” way to even do this? — Claire

Comments on Is it even possible to decline my work’s baby shower?

  1. It’s not reasonable to complain about a pregnant lady throwing up in the bathroom, even if she’s doing it several times a day. So unless your office is populated largely by unreasonable people, I think it’s fair to assume “complaints” is really 1 person.

    I think if this is the only thing that’s holding you back, you should go ahead and enjoy the shower. The unreasonable person can be absent that day if the thought of celebrating your child’s impending birth is too much for him or her to bear.

    Of course you’re the best judge of whether your friends at work are really your friends but I would ignore this 1 data point.

    • I’m also assuming that at least for some portion of her morning sickness, her coworkers didn’t actually know she was pregnant.

      I had TERRIBLE morning sickness and was sick multiple times at work and even on my commute (including the corporate shuttle!) I was at the Dr once a week. But my coworkers didn’t complain about me behind my back. They were concerned about it – a couple of them were afraid I had cancer or something! So for the original poster’s coworkers to complain about her and show no concern at all about her health speaks VERY ill of them.

  2. I was working in a very toxic environment when I was pregnant with my son, and when I found out that a shower was planned – no formal offer, no permission asked – my only reaction was to ask why. Did my coworkers actually want to do something nice for me? Were they going through necessary motions because I was their colleague? Was this some selfish play to force gratitude from me? I didn’t know the truth and had no politik way to find out, so I went to the woman organizing the event, and politely asked her if the shower could be off-site…at my inlaw’s house…thirty minutes from work. She happily acquiesced, and the resulting party was a small and friendly get-together of just people who legitimately wished me well. The not-so-nice folks still sent gifts out of (what I presume to have been) a sense of obligation, but whatever. I was grateful regardless of their intent, and didn’t need to be oogled as I opened presents in front of them. Also, we had legitimately good cake.

    If there is any way you can take some ownership of the shower, you might be able to impose – directly or otherwise – some more pleasant conditions; maybe move it to a nearby coffee shop or restaurant, the children’s section of a nearby library, or even your own home. It made all the difference for me, and the people at work who wanted to do something nice for me still got to, and they knew it was making me happy!

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