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No-Show Baby Shower Blues

No-Show Baby Shower Blues

By Amalah

Dear Amy:

I spent 4 years trying to get pregnant. Finally we got good news and my best friend couldn’t wait to throw me a shower. After week 14, I let her and another long-time friend begin the discussions of a shower. I gave them a list of about 15 family, friends and co-workers whom I wanted to invite. Invitations were sent out about 6 weeks before the shower and all but 2 people RSVP’d yes to the event. Finally about 3 weeks ago I let myself become excited about this event. Unfortunately last week with only 4 days before the shower, everyone began to cancel. It wasn’t even that they cancelled, but that I had to contact them to find out whether or not they were still coming and then they gave a lame excuse for why they could no longer attend. They never contacted the hostesses to apologize for the last minute no show. I ended up having 3 great friends still come and it was a nice day. My problem is that some of these women that last minute cancelled are relatives, friends, or co-workers that I now have to see on a regular basis. I am extremely angry and hurt by what happened and am having a difficult time getting over it. I need some advice on how do I handle my emotions when I see them.


Ugh. I’m sorry. I really am. I feel you.

Something really similar happened at my baby shower.  I wanted something small and intimate, but…uh, it ended up being REALLY small. Embarrassingly small. Four friends (two of which were the hostesses) and my mom and MIL. Everybody else sent their regrets, or RSVP’d yes only to later send their regrets, or made me and the hostesses chase them down to get their regrets. We ended up having a perfectly nice afternoon and all, but it wasn’t at all what I’d pictured.

My friends splurged on a gorgeous cake to feed a crowd, and I ended up going home with enough leftovers to feed at least a dozen no-shows. Have you ever had your ego mocked by slices of cake in your fridge? It’s…weird. SCREW YOU, CAKE.

Obviously, in the grand scheme of life, this doesn’t really matter. I’m sure there are people reading who are like, uh, get the hell over it, it’s a tacky gift-grabby party anyway and who are you to judge people who were legitimately busy and blah blah blah. But at the same time, the fear of throwing a party — be it a shower, birthday, housewarming, or regular ol’ dinner — and having no one show up is pretty much a universal fear of universal mortification. It’s something I still think about when sending out invites to my children’s birthdays: Oh God, what if no one can come? What if only two people can come? What if only two people say they can come and then they don’t come and gaaaaaahhhhh.

Add onto this your potential guests’ completely rude behavior of RSVP FAIL and making you, the guest of honor, track them down later when a simple “I’m sorry, I cannot attend” email would have spared you having to listen to lame excuses. Yuck, man. People who RSVP yes or maybe and then cancel get a pass — I’ve had to that, for sure. But I understand the frustration of having to see and interact with people after the fact who let you down. Who probably don’t even realize they let you down or that there was a mass group-wide letting down that turned a special event into kind of a bummer.

But yeah, in the end, that’s all this was: A bummer. An overly emotional bummer because you’re pregnant and this was an event wrought with meaning for you. And a bunch of thoughtless clods hurt your feelings. You’re perfectly entitled to your hurt feelings. You’re perfectly entitled to not invite those people to anything ever again and maybe secretly pass on contributing to the next office birthday gift for them or something. Remember that relatives let each other down too, sometimes even more so than friends and acquaintances because family is easier to take for granted.

But then around them you keep your chin up and your head high and focus on the wonderful three friends you do have (because seriously: as life goes on and gets more crazy, having three whole wonderful best-type friends is REALLY EXCELLENT). If you feel emotional (HELLO HORMONES) and need to have a mini-pity party in the bathroom you go right ahead. It doesn’t mean you’re going to feel this way around them forever, but I’ve learned from experience that it’s really better to just go ahead and FEEL and OWN your pregnancy emotions rather than fight tooth-and-nail to bottle them up.

These emotions do have an expiration date, or at least a set point (BIRTH) when they won’t feel so acute and consuming. I promise. You’ll look back on this and say, “Well, that was kind of a bummer.” The specifics of the original guest list will fade and your memories of who gave what excuse will grow fuzzy. Think back to your wedding or graduation party or some other big event and try to remember the guest list/wedding party drama and who didn’t RSVP and who didn’t show up and…huh. I definitely remember that feeling like a really big deal at the time. But I guess it wasn’t.

You’re having a baby. Your social landscape is about to change drastically, whether you particularly want it to or not. There will be friends who drift away from you and possibly friends you drift away from, not necessarily on purpose. At least now you have a clear picture of who matters and who…really doesn’t. Don’t let the people who don’t matter occupy your headspace.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Kacie

    May 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    GEEZ why do people have to be so rude about RSVPs? People just have really poor manners and it’s infuriating.

    I’m sorry you had that lame experience. If you can, try to focus on the people who *could* make it.

  • LMo

    May 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    This is one of my great fears and pet peeves also. While my best friend had a huge wedding, she had the same issue with RSVPs–people just don’t understand the etiquette surrounding them anymore! Sorry your feelings were hurt, but Amy is right–the older you get, the more you realize that a handfull of good friends is worth more than a room full of acquantances. What the no-shows did was crappy, but you’ve got a couple of great women who obviously cherish you!

  • Raquel

    May 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I had the same feelings after my wedding. I was most upset at those who responded yes and then….no show. It was about 30 people. Now some of them called to offer congrats and regrets, some sent gifts, but there are some who I have still not heard from 2 years later. It is sad, but I got past it by admitting that those who were meant to be there, were there. And now what I have moved to this new phase in my life, those are the people who are closest to me and most supportive of me.

  • Jimmy

    May 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    That sucks.  Im very sorry to hear that.  Ditto the point made about a small group of friends is better than a lot.  That is the truth.  And I’m finding that with having children it becomes pretty difficult to maintain those secondary relationships (the friends you like, but aren’t exactly the tightest with).  Free time becomes a lot more precious, and frankly, you barely have enough time for the people you really love, let alone that college buddy you used to enjoy on occasion.  

    To those who haven’t had their baby showers yet, I have two unconventional suggestions to help you avoid this fate:

    1) Invite the men.  Fellow parents don’t often get a day to be free of their family, and to be honest, a shower isn’t likely their preferred event when they finally do have that freedom.  Inviting the men, and the kids – diversifying your crowd – gives people something fun to do together, instead of forcing them to split up and make arrangements and such.  Related suggestion: make it a cookout.  

    2) Ask that gifts *not* be wrapped.  Tell people the gifts will be put on display right when they get there, so that everyone has more time to enjoy each other, instead of watching you unwrap gifts for an afternoon.  We made a little rhyme on our invites that made this explicit and playful, feel free to use it: “Our time is short, but our friends are many – so when it comes to wrapping, you shouldn’t do any.”  When each guest arrived, bare gift in hand, we made it a point to enjoy and express gratitude for the present there on the spot; check it out, talk about how much you love it, show it off to people next to you.  Make it all part of the party-atmosphere interaction.  This method with be slightly off-putting to a few people who prefer the traditional method of opening gifts one by one, but the vast majority of your guests will really love and appreciate that you chose this route.  

    (sorry for the long post! and happy weekend everyone!)

    • Liz

      May 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      These are brilliant suggestions, thanks for sharing. I always thought the hours-long gift opening portion was so off-putting, even at my own showers. We did a casual brunch with food, libations, and invited men and children. All our male friends came and I believe everyone enjoyed themselves. We also went with a Reduce-Reuse-Recycle theme and requested no wrapping of gifts, but no one over age 50 obliged, and still brought a boatload of cellophane, tinsel, bows, etc. Oh well!

    • roo

      May 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      This no-wrap option– wow. What a fabulous idea. 

      I don’t think I ever could have had that, because my mom and MIL are very traditional about these things (for instance, my mom put her foot down with a vengeance against having a wedding reception buffet and letting people sit where they wanted– even though it would have been less work and much less expensive. And IMHO, more fun. c’est la guerre.)

      But if I’m ever hosting an event like this, or in a position to advise someone who is– yeah. That’s a great idea. 

      I had a lovely baby shower. But I was sad that all these people I don’t see much came and went without me having much time to see them. 

      To the OP– I hope you don’t feel bad about feeling bad. And I’d say go ahead and avoid the people you don’t want to see, or simply be polite and distant, if need be.

      You have three friends who love you. And an amazing baby on the way. Congratulations!

    • Nerwal

      May 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      LOVE the no wrapping idea – we had a couples/family shower that was great – until the unwrapping, which took FOREVER. And it was uncomfortable for me to have all the attention on me/us for such a long time. And also I knew people were getting bored, because, really after the present you brought is unwrapped, who cares?

      OP: So sorry that happened to you. I would concentrate on the friends who could come and short of a super valid reason for not coming, not invest so much into the other people. 

    • Andrea

      June 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      I just had my baby shower last weekend, and I WISH I would have heard this suggestion. I always feel so completely awkward opening gifts in front of others, and even asked my lovely host if there was any way we could just “skip that part.” This would have been the perfect solution! 

    • Jennifer

      September 11, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Jimmy! These are great ideas. But, my baby shower will be happening in February or March. So, a cookout won’t be possible. Do you have any cold-weather location suggestions?

  • Liz

    May 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    People who don’t RSVP or who cancel on showers and weddings and parties probably think they are the only one doing so, and assume they won’t be noticed or missed. They don’t think that maybe 50% of the other invitees do the same and it can feel disastrous to the party hosts! Surely no one individual intended to hurt you, and the hurt mostly comes from the unfortunate fact that so many of them cancelled at the same time so it feels like a mass rejection. Which it honestly is not. I am sorry it happened to you but I bet that many of them will come through later on with thoughtful gifts and wishes and help after the baby arrives. Have faith that your friends will come through for you in the end.

  • Lori

    May 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I’m so sorry, Disappointed.  I can feel the sting from here,.  I agree with Amy’s advice as well as the comments of the other posters and I am sending a GINORMOUS hug to Jimmy for his excellent suggestions.
    When my kids were younger and had birthday parties at home, I had them unwrap each gift from each guest as he/she arrived, and I took photos to include with the thank-you notes.  I HATE those parties where the Guest of Honor (be it a bride-elect, an expectant mom or a Birthday Boy or Girl) devotes a huge chunk of time to opening gifts.  Granted, one might miss the “OoohAah Chorus,” but the actual celebration with family and friends of one’s milestone IS the most important part, innit?!

  • Tara

    May 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Ugh, I totally hear you. My mom and sister threw me a surprise shower for my first and… none of my husband’s relatives showed. Not his mom (who actually had a valid excuse), not his sister or nieces (who didn’t), cousins, etc. He and I were both pretty hurt by it, but like Amy said, it sort of fades into the background and you move on…

    But it still amazes me how rude people can be with rsvp’s. Whether you’re coming or not coming, how hard is it to respond by the date on the invite?

  • C

    May 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    honestly, i can’t stand wedding and baby showers, for the reasons one of the commenters mentions. i’m going to give up my precious weekend time with my kids to fawn over a bouncy seat? nope.  but i do always send a gift (or bring one when i come see the baby), and i send a nice email when the kid arrives. i care! really. 

    but i always RSVP!  

  • Kat

    May 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Oh no! Sorry to hear about people not responding/no showing. People completely ignored the RSVP on my shower invitation too, and my friend who hosted didn’t take the time to track people down so we had no idea how many would show. We did invite men and kept it kid friendly, and ended up with a pretty good turn out despite the annoying guessing game with food quantities etc…the funny thing was some of the people who did show have shown ZERO interest since we had our son. Keep your good friends close, they will be the ones who show up with food and smiles after baby arrives (which is way better than hanging out at the shower!)

  • VG

    May 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    This broke my heart. For someone to try for 4 years, finally be pregnant and want to share that celebration with everyone, and then no one RSVPs/no shows/cancels last minute just suck ass! Amy did make valid points, and I’m all for men @ showers, it’s a new age of parenting and men are more involved than they were 50-60 yrs ago.
    But I would like to throw out the question: Would it be bad for the OP to let those know how she feels? I know this is going against the grain here, but if she’s going to own those feelings of being hurt by the Huge Diss of no one at her shower, then why not let them know? Especially those that are relatives – I know me, and that would have to be called out on.

  • Heather

    May 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I know how you feel, OP.  While I was pregnant, I hosted a large baby shower for a friend due 2 months before me (25+ friends and her family) along with a couple of mutual friends.  They all said, “can’t wait for your turn!”. Well, two of them did nothing and the other one made a half hearted effort literally two weeks before I was due to pull something together, but it wasnt enough notice and no one could make it.  That hurt, especially since I had done a lot for these friends in the past.  But while I obviously haven’t forgotten the hurt, I’m over it.  I’m still friends with those people, but we’re not close at all.  Some of that is due to the baby, but some of it is due to me concluding that they aren’t good friends and I stopped making the effort.  They haven’t tried either, so the shower was a good indicator of whether they were real friends.  It sucks, but it is also nice to find out who your true friends are.  And it sounds like you have a couple of great ones!  

  • Annie

    May 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Ugh. It is an awful feeling. My husband threw me a suprise birthday party. Two friends came. I remember forcing myself repeatedly that night to focus on the friends who were there, and enjoy them. I just had to shake it off that so many people no-showed, and tell myself I was grateful I had never seen the guest list. But it did sting. I think thoughtlessness can be as painful as intentionally hurtful actions. I had similar experiences to previous commenters, that hurt faded away and didn’t matter as time went by. I am sorry you were hurt by the thoughtlessness of friends at an occasion that meantso much to you. A huge hug to you. I hope you enjoy a wonderful pregnancy.

  • Mona

    May 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Congrats, momma to be, on your baby! I also had a small shower, and frankly I just don’t have a lot of close girlfriends.  My best friends have always been guys, which is wonderful, but secretly I must confess to feeling a little inadequate, missing the “girl’s girl” gene.  So girly events like showers are always potentially awkward and bring up some less than positive feelings about my non existent girl circle.  I like the idea of inviting guys, and just focusing on the positive folks that surround you.
    Also, we here in Internet land are SO happy for you and the new love of your life.

  • hrl

    May 26, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Ouch. That stings. I’m so sorry. I have a lot of friends who don’t have kids yet and they don’t like babies, baby showers, etc. Hang in there. 

  • anon

    May 26, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Congratulations on your long-awaited pregnancy!

    I think people failing to RSVP at all, or RSVP-ing “yes” only to say “no” last minute or worse – just not show up – are beyond rude and thoughtless and they drive me straight up a wall. I would be very furious and hurt if I were in your position, and I am sorry that this happened to you.

    I wanted to provide a different perspective though, that might account for maybe one or two of your guests’ bad behavior. I recently found out that I cannot have children after many years and medical procedures. I am still reeling from the news. I haven’t attended a baby shower in YEARS (but I always always always RSVP). Anyway a friend of mine is pregnant and I know that pretty soon I will be getting a shower invitation. I really want to be there to support her (she has had a HORRIBLE journey herself) and yet I’m not sure I can do it. I cry whenever I see babies and baby stuff and babies on TV etc. – I am not sure I can handle this baby shower. And yet I WANT to handle it. The point I am making is that in this case I could see myself with the best of intentions saying that I can attend and then very last minute having a panic attack and backing out. I would of course let her and/or the hostess know but it would likely be the day of and I know it’s rude but you know, what is ruder? Showing up and bawling and leaving early is pretty damn rude too.

    So, I know that this could not possibly apply to all of your flakes or maybe even any of them but maybe it could explain at least someone’s last minute bad behavior.

  • Niki

    May 27, 2012 at 12:05 am

    OP, I am so sorry. Amy is do right that this is a fundamental human fear, and then when you add in the excitement of celebrating something that took so long and which you feared might never come? Oh, honey!

    Y’know, I am teaching my fist class this quarter, and attendance has been remarkably good. Until. One day a couple of weeks ago, 1/3 of the class didn’t show up. Somebody remarked that each absent student probably thought “oh, nobody’ll notice if I don’t come today.”. And it would have been true any other day of the quarter. Maybe something like this happened with your invitees. It is something I will try to keep in mind in the future, should I feel inclined to flake.

    Okay, now to the suggestion of unwrapping presents immediately. This is brilliant! I hate present unwrapping extravaganzas. It is one of the reasons i kep my daughter’s second birthday party so small. At the same time, I do like a chance to see what folks got, and to chat with the guest of honor or others about how fabulous that Sophie giraffe is, or whatever. The last shower I attended was a free-for-all buffet with full families in attendance, and I was disappointed to simply dump our present (a Sophie; now that I think of it) in the guest bedroom, and then receive a thank you card a few weeks later.

    I am so excited about this idea, I think I will coopt it for every gift-giving party that isn’t Christmas. Thanks!

    • Math Teacher

      January 25, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Niki, unfortunately I have a different, more pessimistic, flip side theory regarding a situation where almost nobody shows up for an event (whether that event be a class OR a baby shower): Perhaps they think that if nobody shows up, then no one individual person can be singled out for consequence without it looking like that one person is being “unfairly picked on” by the teacher, party host, pregnant mom-to-be, etc.  As a teacher, students might think you can’t give detention and/or fail the ENTIRE class.  As a baby shower host and/or mom-to-be, absentee guests might think that because nobody else bothered to show, that they look “less bad” comparatively speaking.  It’s a crappy mentality but unfortunately, a lot of people are crappy these days and operate on very crappy, dysfunctional moral compasses.

      I say this as someone who is both a high school teacher in a rough city, AND was jilted by every single one of my teacher coworkers at an attempted baby shower 4 years ago (this was at a very small high school, where word gets around VERY easily, so I’m sure they all eventually knew that none of them would be attending my shower).  There are times (esp during the years I’m placed in a low achieving, rough school) when it feels like most or all of the class is off focus and talking over me….despite my reprimands and repeated enforcement of consequences, awful I know.  Then there’ll always be that one brazen student with a nasty attitude who’ll say, “You can’t come down on us!  EVERYONE is talking!”  Unfortunately, some of the adult teachers aren’t much better than the misbehaving kids, given the way they pretty much followed a similar logic when it came to snubbing my baby shower 🙁

  • Danielle

    May 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    This is one of those things where the sting fades with time. I graduated from a prestigious university the same year my brother graduated from high school. So my parents waited until June (a month after my graduation) so they could combine our celebrations into one massive party. We invited a huge number of people — we’re talking a wedding size guest list — and we stocked the house with food and drinks for a magnificent feast for a small army. And then, only a handful of people actually showed up (quite a few said they’d be there but just flaked without so much as a call or anything). It was heartbreaking, pathetic and I felt super unloved — and angry at a lot of people. But, I couldn’t change what happened. Over the years, it hurt less and less, and I started to forget exactly who all came and who didn’t. And most of the no-shows managed to make it to other important events (like my wedding, showers, 30th birthday surprise party, etc), so I eventually came to accept that it was just one of those crappy “perfect storm” situations, and not a sign that nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some wooooorms.

    It has influenced how I (and my mom) schedule events now though. We realized then that May and June are horrendous months to schedule a party/event, because people get overbooked with weddings, graduations, Mothers/Fathers day, summer picnics/BBQs, vacations, Memorial Day (and camping that weekend especially), etc. Not sure when the letter-writer’s shower was… but if it was this month, perhaps that accounts for the turnout (not that it feels much better to know that so many people would pick other events over yours).

  • tasterspoon

    May 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    It may be petty of me, but I’d probably find some comfort if the flakes found out, indirectly or otherwise, how the party turned out. One of the attendees could let the word “slip out” that only three people showed, and let the grapevine take it from there. Or maybe someone will ask YOU how the shower was and you could say, cheerily, “Oh, I haven’t had such a good time in years! There were only four of us so we [made our own ice cream/ upgraded our manicures/ whatever] … we laughed so hard I thought I was going to have the baby right then!”

    Maybe the flakes would feel properly horrified and remorseful and choose to make it up to you (by showering you with love and food and attention after the baby comes). If these are truly well-meaning, normally unselfish people who care about you, getting the word out now might prove useful to whoever’s organizing the casserole brigade down the road.

    • Math Teacher

      January 24, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      I can relate to OP because I’ve been there with my last pregnancy…feeling jilted at my own baby shower.  Tasterspoon, I can also relate to what you’re saying about wanting the flakes to find out how awful the party turnout was, no matter how petty it might seem.  I started feeling that way after I read online about other people feeling the same way you feel.  I actually did what you’re suggesting: I emailed each and every coworker who blew off my shower with no RSVP and/or a lame excuse, sending them emails profusely thanking them for attending my shower in spite of all the hardships I’d endured (I had severe pregnancy complications, putting me out of work for months; partner had lost his job; partner was somewhat absentee; I’d previously struggled with years of infertility).  What happened next?…not one single person even bothered to respond to my email.  So no apologies, no cards sent in the mail, no offers to visit…not even an argument.  I also sent a very brief “thank you” email to a close family friend later in time, and at least she acknowledged me enough to argue and call my sarcastic thank you “nasty”.  Nope, the flakes I worked with couldn’t even do that.  Admittedly I never got over it.

      I disagree with the person who said that usually people’s inability to attend a baby shower doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike you or aren’t really your friends.  I say this because almost NONE of the baby shower “flakes” bothered to ever visit me or my son, or to even send a card.  They also went on to leave me out of invites to their weddings later on.  I think if people blow off such an important event, it shows that they’re not true friends, or even decent acquaintances.  That’s my experience at least.

      To this day–more than four years later–I still feel humiliated about my jilted baby shower.  Worse, a few ex-friends ridiculed me about not being liked enough to have a shower (occurred in the middle of an unrelated argument).  I am now pregnant again.  It’s because of that lousy experience, that I am obsessively anxious about wanting to have an actual baby shower this time around, just to feel like I finally conquered a past failure, finally achieved that pregnancy milestone, and can finally rest at peace with knowing that I’m not a total loser.  I also have a lot of stress, anxiety, and panic about the possibility of having the same dismal shower outcome again.  I’m taking extra measures to try and heavily promote and convince people to come to the shower.  Some of these things are things I’m not particularly proud of (e.g., planning the shower myself, or begging my husband to reach out to my family about their availability regarding a possible baby shower date), but I refuse to go through the nightmare I went through last time.

  • Andrea

    May 30, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Sorry Amy,  I know didn’t do the best job in helping to organize it. I hadn’t even been to one let alone organized one to know that you really need to invite everyone you know.  Including work colleagues since offices no longer seem to organize baby showers.  I do remember one friend had car trouble and did call a few times apologizing and that was sweet.  

    I am glad to you did get to have a “do over” baby shower with your second.  I think we should all get at least one “do over” for life’s big events.  “wait.. wait.. cut.. let’s just take this again from the top people!”  That would be pretty sweet.  

    • Math Teacher

      January 24, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      A “do over” shower…OMG that’s exactly what I’ve been calling it for myself!!! 🙂  I’m in the same boat.  I was jilted last pregnancy, as literally nobody showed up except the two people who were helping me with it, and two male friends–but only after I begged and guilt tripped them to come visit me since no one else had RSVP’ed.  I never got over the pain or humiliation.  I’ve been calling this whole pregnancy a “do-over pregnancy” not just because I didn’t get a baby shower last time, but also because of other crappy setbacks: I had severe health complications, I went through the first 2/3 of my pregnancy alone and single, and I had an unwanted C-section.  Like Amy, I’m really hoping to have a much better “do-over” shower as part of this “do-over” pregnancy.  I’m worried, however, that people will judge me for throwing a shower when I’m not a first time mom.  I think that if I didn’t get a shower last time, then I should be eligible for one this time.  I know I’m going all out–emotionally and planning-wise–with trying to put together a shower that will be too fun for people to want to turn down.  Sad maybe but having a shower this time around means a lot to me.

  • Randon Nennie

    May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Oh hun … *hugs* x10. I feel you. Borderline same thing happened to me. I have no advice, but just wanted to let you know you’re not the only one it happens to. Just focus on the awesome people that were there – they matter!!

  • Lauren @ T&G

    June 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Awww there is nothing to say other than this just sucks :(. I am sure once the baby comes the anger/frustration will dissipate, and a lot of the people who disappointed you may end up surprising you!

  • Chantell Terry

    June 4, 2012 at 5:29 am

    I definately know the feeling. Yesterday I had my baby shower. I really wanted my friend of 4 years to be the mistress of ceremony. Once my friends that I knew longer found out, they through a fit and I ended up putting them down to help with facilitating the shower. Once the shower happened, the friends who gave me the most grief were the ones who showed up late and did not offer to help with Setting up before or during the day of the shower. What I learned from this experience was that the people who you think will be there and help will be the ones who let you down. I take pride on knowing that way comes around come back around. I too had invited 125 guest that all RSVP and only 90 showed up. Even though I had a good turnout it was people that I was not that close to:( I hope the sting does go away. I really appreciate everyone’s posts, it is helping me get through this.

  • LB

    June 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I just had a baby two weeks ago, and we didn’t have any baby showers at all. My husband and I live almost 3 hours from our nearest relatives and across the country from many of our dear friends and close family. It didn’t surprise me that no one planned a shower… but I have thought about it (especially since the baby book I bought for our daughter has a page about “Parties held in my honor before I was born”). We’re financially stable and in our 30’s, and we were easily able to afford all of the baby essentials. In contrast, my older sister had her first child when she was barely 19- and I remember going to her shower when I was in 8th grade and she really needed to rely on the generosity of friends and family so that her son would have a crib, a car seat, etc. We are planning a party in about 6 weeks at our home so that people can come meet the baby- which I think will be far more fun than a baby shower.

    • Math Teacher

      January 24, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Ugh ugh ugh I can relate to your experience so much, particularly the baby book part!!!  I had the same problem when I went shopping for a baby book.  I found a really cute, decently priced baby book at Target, but I felt the need to pass on it because it had a page devoted to baby shower memories, and no way to discreetly remove the page.  Instead, I had to shop around and plunk out the extra money (extra money I didn’t have, since I was stuck buying everything myself after nobody showed up to my shower) for a much more expensive baby book because it was one of the few that had removable pages.  I did that all so I could remove the baby shower page.  I didn’t want my son to grow up, looking through his baby book and asking me why the baby shower page was blank.  That would involve me having to bring up something very negative and unhappy.  I didn’t want to expose my son to that kind of hurt and negativity.

  • Danie

    June 15, 2012 at 6:01 am

    LB, we are doing the same thing.  We’re both active duty military stationed overseas and I haven’t made a ton of female friends that I feel close enough with to accept gifts from…we’re stable enough to have purchased everything we need 🙂  We will be having a BBQ after the little one comes, no gifts required.  
    Jimmy, your ideas were fantastic…I definitely agree if you invite the men you’ll get a better turn out.  Beer and BBQ (maybe cigars from daddy) will always get a good response, while the ladies oogle cute clothes and tell stories amongst themselves.  And the no wrap gift idea is nothing short of genius!!!!

  • Madison

    July 1, 2013 at 5:19 am

    I understand completely how you feel and since this JUST happened to me yesterday and I came to the internet to seek some type of comfort or relief from those who have gone through it, i’m happy that I’m not the only one this has happened to. I sent out personal invites to 50 plus people, family and friends of my husband and I, invited husbands and kids, and reiterated on each invitation how excited I was to see everyone and hoped they could make it. I genuinely was excited to see those haven’t seen for along time. I spent about 350 dollars on the shower, getting nice gifts for the guests when they won games. (I had to throw my own baby shower, because my mom canceled on me last minute). My husband was great allowing me to allot money for a nice shower and he helped me with everything. 5 people showed up, I was mortified and hurt. By the end of the shower, after everyone left, I could not handle my emotions and almost a day later I can’t even process what happened. I feel hurt, betrayed and helpless. I feel that I don’t want to be nice to anyone because I obviously overestimate the extent of our relationships. Also, the gifts that people brought and the ones that just “dropped by” gifts but couldn’t hang out were things that weren’t off my registry. So though appreciated, now I have to go buy all the things I need. Except I can’t because I don’t have enough money right now after the baby shower. The lesson I learned from all this is to not throw parties, but rather celebrate occasions by using the money to go splurge on the event yourself. For example a trip for your wedding or baby items for your baby. I much would have rather bought cloth diapers and a swing for myself than a cookie cake and multiple 3 dollar table cloths that were never used. In this day and age etiquette for anything does not exist and people are lazy. If they can’t send a quick text to say whether or not they can show up then they don’t deserve a personalized invitation, with a purchased stamp, sent to them. In addition to my hurt and the “sting” most of you described, I am in disgust of many people that I thought I knew and really enjoyed. Eventually I’ll find a way to get over this and find a way to afford the things I need for my baby, but inevitably I will be very “cold” to these people when I eventually encounter them and if my baby happens to be on my arm at these encounters they will not get anytime with them. It’s not acceptable to ignore an invite to a celebration, no one is that “good” or “important” to just blatantly ignore an invite to an event. Shame on them.

  • Jessica

    September 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    This same thing happened to me with my bridal shower. I invited lots of family and friends, no one but the three people hosting it, my MIL, and my 12 year old SIL showed up. I was fine with no one coming, but now I am terrified that the same thing will happen with my baby shower coming up soon. I almost feel like canceling it at this point to avoid the same thing happening again.

    • Terrified

      May 28, 2015 at 9:02 am

      My bridal shower was similar. It was the host and 4 other guests (one of which we had to call and say, “Um, where are you, you live right down the street?”). I cried for days that nobody showed, especially considering the number of those events that I have attended. Now my sister is planning a baby shower for me and I am terrified that nobody will show up. To make things worse, my husband informed me yesterday that she hasn’t yet sent out any invitations for the shower and it’s in 2 weeks. I feel like this is a recipe for a repeat disaster. I guess it would be rude if I didn’t show, huh? 🙁

    • Math Teacher

      January 24, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Yeah I can relate to all this.  I never had a bridal shower for either of my marriages, but I did have a jilted baby shower last pregnancy.  Now that I’m pregnant again, I’m fearful of having the same thing happening.  I’m doing things differently this time in hopes that I’ll have a better outcome.  For one thing, I’m doing all the planning myself and far ahead of time, instead of waiting around yet again for someone to surprise me with a shower (as my pearl-clutching grandmother told me I must do), just to find out that the “surprise” is that there’s no shower.  Last time, after I realized there was no shower happening for me, I begged my best friend to put something together in the final 3 weeks of my pregnancy.  She is socially awkward (sorry but it’s the truth) and probably the worst person to have plan a party.  She sent brief, basic emails to people.  This time around I’m sending out fancy invitations and also holding the venue at a popular restaurant complete with a catered buffet.  I will have my husband’s friends follow up on the mailed invitations with emailed versions of the invitations to make extra sure everyone knows about the shower.  I’m really putting myself out there in hopes that if nothing else, my family and relatives attend because they feel bad blowing me off after I put out all that money and effort.

    • Math Teacher

      January 24, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      “Terrified,” if I can offer you any advice, it is this: if nobody RSVPs to the shower, then I think maybe you SHOULD pull a no-show.  The day before, ask your sister if anyone has responded that they’ll be coming.  Confide in her your concerns about having another no-show shower, so that she knows why you are so concerned.  If she admits that nobody has responded and/or answered “yes,” then you probably have your answer as to what’s going to happen next.  I’d recommend not showing up (e.g., if it’s held at your house, perhaps you and your sister go out shopping during the time of your shower), so you can save your dignity and know you didn’t wait around for no-shows.  If people do actually show up, your husband can always call you, looking for you to come home.  But yeah nothing worse than feeling that no-show “flakes” had the power to steal away a piece of your day that you’ll never get back again.

  • Kelly

    September 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    All of these stories are so sad. I think there is nothing wrong at all with letting some of the no-show jerks KNOW that you’re upset at what happened. I think sometimes people really need to be told off and put in their place.

  • Daniela

    October 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Wow that is awesome, what the person said above my comment. I am feeling the same way to, I am glad I stumbled upon this, it makes me feel way better.

  • Steff

    December 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I had my baby shower yesterday, my two hostesses had 20 people RSVP and only 7, showed up and one person who didn’t RSVP but then showed up! ONLY ONE person called to cancel at the last minute. Of the other 12 three responded when I sent a text of hey missed you at the shower. All of the three knew ahead of time they couldn’t make it but STILL didn’t call with a I can’t make it. It is NOT about the gifts but the fact my hostesses spent money and favors for 20 people and then I had less than 50% show up! This is it for me out of the last three parties I have planned I had less than 50% RSVP people show. I won’t even mention the fact I planned the shower on a busy holiday weekend for two out of town people who could make this weekend didn’t RSVP or show up!

  • Rose

    April 5, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Just came back from a baby shower where my friend only had 3 guest, her mom, the one that hosted the party, and me. Sad that it seems like there is no real friends

  • Jennifer

    June 4, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I too had the same experience with my 1st child’s baby shower. I sent out over 80 invitations, invitations to some people who INVITED THEMSELVES and then only had about 15 people show up. Which was humiliating since I planned the baby shower myself and spend over $500 on the event and had my mom slave over TONS of food to accomodate all these ppl that were supposedly going to come. I even had all my games planned around having a lot of guests, AND procrastinated on playing them to wait for late arrivals… who never arrived at all. No one cancelled, just didn’t show up. Most humiliating thing ever and such a waste of money, I cried at my baby shower and i feel this way 3 years later. I now have a new baby on the way, and i’m concidering not having one or only inviting a small amount of highly dependable people. I feel your pain love.

  • Beth

    August 29, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I am so sorry you had a disappointing baby shower experience. I know the pains of fertility issues first hand, and I could NOT ever imagine not flying across the country to a friend’s baby shower after fertility issues if the situation presented itself. I hurt for you that your friends could not recognize the significance of the shower for you.

    Having said that, I am a mom who was never able to carry a baby to term (from my first marriage), but I have twins via stepparent adoption (from my second and final marriage–rare but true.) They have been in my & my husband’s sole care since they were 8 months old, and I was able to adopt them when they were 20 months old. I never had a baby shower. I had 48 hours warning that my fiancé (now husband) was getting emergency custody of them. We were married 10 days afterward. I never had the chance to tell people I was pregnant “for real” this time (because I wasn’t.) The adoption announcement was lost in the shuffle of everyday life happening and sees as old news to most. I now live in a neighborhood where women ask me all the time about my pregnancy with the twins (how much weight I gained, whether my pregnancy was “natural” or IVF, etc.) It is beyond heartbreaking and frankly a little silly at this point since my twins are now in kindergarten. I feel like a compete imposter and have avoided social gatherings due to the awkwardness. Most of my neighbors have no idea about the circumstances, so they mean no harm, but the pain is excruciating. My next door neighbor just had a baby shower for her 3rd child, and I sent my immediate regrets and a gift. I guess my point is that I hope you’re able to focus more on the people who were there for you than those who didn’t come and to realize that, although I personally would NEVER NOT RSVP, it could be that at least one of your friends has some hidden pain that they are grappling with that led to their standing you up. I can say that if you were my friend (a true friend and not just an acquaintance,) I would have thrown the shower for you to celebrate your gift of life despite my own struggles. If you were an acquaintance, you would have received immediate regrets along with the most practical gift on your list. Hugs and peace your way, as well as congratulations on your long-awaited baby. With love, Beth

  • Talitha

    December 7, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I think this clearly happens to more people than you think! The worst part is you invited the people you trust and want to be a part of babies life and they’re saying they’re not bothered. Which is better now than when the baby is here I suppose. One of my friends forgot after I had to reach out to her said she might turn up? another was too hungover and text me 5 the morning before asking if we could meet later instead, and another had a sudden christening. All the night before… It sounds so petty but you’ll feel better when they all want to turn up at the birth wanting to get their pictures with baby and you get to ignore them.

  • Julie

    February 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I once had a bride invite herself to be a co-guest of honor at a baby shower, because we hadn’t coordinated her bridal shower yet. I told her absolutely not and we would throw a bridal shower just for her. We were just going to keep it small to our group of friends, but she insisted on inviting her family (aunts, cousins, etc) which tripled the guest list. We agreed because we wanted her to be happy, but NONE of them showed. We ended up investing in a bunch of extra food, drinks, cups, etc for people that didn’t even tell us they weren’t coming – she mentioned it when she arrived that they unfortunately wouldn’t be there. We were furious and I learned a valuable lesson.

    I’m so sorry that you had to hunt people down. If people RSVP yes, then it should mean they’re coming unless they call the host(ess) and cancel. I’ve noticed people are especially terrible about being accountable for online RSVP’s too, so if they say “yes” or “maybe” to an evite you should take it with a grain of salt unless you talk to them personally. The lack of etiquette these days is embarrassing. 

  • Krystal

    April 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I have the same fear. I feel as if no one will be at my baby shower coming up May 9th! I feel as if everyone will make a very lame excuse. Some won’t and some will. But out of 70 invites I should expect at least ten! Right? Am I wrong for saying that? I just have a major fear that this will eventually happen to me! Thismis my first baby and Im nervous, anxious, and I can’t wait to have my Summer Raelynn! She will be here in June!

  • olivia

    April 9, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I have no friends here where I live, my mom and family are always too busy, I’m having my third baby I’m 26 and never had a baby shower or had anyone even offer, with my first I registered but NO ONE got anything not even my family. Every time my heart breaks and I feel angry why am I always the there for people but no one can return the favor especially family, and none are poor if you know what I mean if they were I’d understand. Here I am with my third and it will be like every other time my husband and I buying everything and me secretly crying at night from disappointment, I feel like a baby some times but I never had a wedding, my mom blew that one too ” oh I’ll help plan it get stuff done ” and it never happened it was just justice of the peace and getting a cake how hard! So I thought a shower could be fun but no I’m sure when my older sister finally gets pregnant my mom will go all out like she did for her wedding. Sorry For BITCHING but my heart is hurting.

    • Isabel Kallman

      Isabel Kallman

      April 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      I’m so sorry, Olivia.

    • Merf

      April 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      I am so sorry Olivia! Weddings and babies are so stressful and it is so mic when people around you can come together to share in that time…. I hope you will be able to move on and not give these people the power to hurt you forever. Some day you will meet a friend or two who will be there for you. Don’t give up. Good luck with your wonderful new child. Hugs!

  • Merf

    April 25, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I am in tears reading and now typing. My daughter has a lot of friends. Or at  least I thought she did until today. She is finally the last of her friends to get married in both her social group and her fiancé’s. And we invited 45 people to her bridal shower held and planned by her two oldest friends and a same age cousin at my house. . About 12 are coming and that includes her  three attendants in town , me – her mom and her future mil, granny and a few others. Everyone else other simply have not responded – including a lot of close family…..  or has said they are ‘busy’. Two family members decided out of the blue to take a ‘vacation’ over this time because they were ‘stressed’…. They could have taken it any time and rarely go away this time of year..  They will of course be at the wedding slurping down free gourmet food and top shelf liquor all night….Others decided to run in charity races knowing when the shower was going to be held. The wives of the 8 male attendants are not coming – ANY OF THEM.. These people are supposed to be dear dear friends and loved ones. I am beside myself. After the wedding we are going to be writing these people out of our lives. When my daughter arrives at her surprise shower she is going to be devastated at the people who could not be bothered to celebrate with her when she went out of her way to go to EACH of theirs she did not miss a single one – though she had to cancel many other events…. Yes it will tell her who she can really count on but that is a sad lesson to learn at this time of great change…. She tends to swallow hurt and take it out on herself. Why oh why are people so selfish and awful? I am a devastated mom. Thank goodness for her two besties she can count on through everything. They are just the best. They too are so sad for my daughter and we all will be doing everything we can this Sunday to make sure it is the best of days and those absent will not even be hinted at by us….. I will not be attending the baby showers sure to be coming up soon for many of these girls. I plan to be very very busy… Mean? Maybe. Tough. Hurt my girl you pay the price. Sadly I never thought I would be a person like that….

  • Ben

    May 11, 2015 at 9:34 am

    My wife had her shower this past Saturday and it actually went fine. She wasn’t bothered by things that are killing me. My best friends wife is pregnant and due a few days after our baby! So fun. My wife attended this woman’s shower a couple of weeks ago. She drove about an hour to get there, gave nice gifts off of the registry and pampered the soon to be mom. When it was time for our shower this woman didn’t RSVP yes or no. I asked her in person while helping them work on a home project, she said she didn’t think she’d be coming. Never a solid answer. Of course she didn’t end up coming, sending a card, a gift or anything and now I don’t even want to see my best friend right now because I’m so furious. My wife couldn’t care less. She’s more emotional stable than me somehow even at 37 weeks pregnant.

    Thank you for the original post and all of the super comments. I really appreciate it, I think it helps to read them!

    • Expecting

      May 28, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Yeah, been there. Attended a wedding a while back that required days off of work, hours of driving, a several day hotel stay, and we still managed to give a lovely gift. That same person RSVP’d “no” to our wedding because he had already schedule to go golfing that day. Golfing. As annoying as it was, I just have had to try to let it go. He’s family and I don’t want to have a rift over something like that. I’m sorry that you are dealing with the same thing. It’s no fun!

  • Expecting Soon!

    May 28, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I totally feel your pain! My bridal shower was embarrassing! Even my grandmother forgot and we had to call her to come (she lives right down the street). I went home and cried for days. Now it’s time for my baby shower and I have the same fear. To make things worse, my shower is scheduled for about 2 weeks from now and the invitations still haven’t been sent out. We can live without the gifts, but the embarrassment of having 60 people not show and 3 people show is so hurtful. At this point I’m so terrified of even going to my baby shower that I cry about it now (darn preggo hormones). Wish me luck!

  • kylee

    September 15, 2015 at 9:01 am

    My friend “planned” my baby shower and never even sent out invites. I had to send them out 2 weeks before the event and she just showed up at my moms house sat down and acted like a guest. She did not bring any decorations or anything. I had to buy my own decorations. After confronting her, she said she did not have the time nor the money I told her she volunteered and she had 71/2 months. She finally tells me that I was ungrateful.

  • Patty

    October 14, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I stumbled on this site wanting to let everyone who plans a baby or bridal shower to please understand that these parties are dreaded.  If someone comes to your party you should feel honored.  The best advice i can give you is to not have these parties. If someone not showing up is going to bother you that much that you will question the friendship if they don’t come to you party than maybe YOU are not the true friend. No offense.  Don’t have a party save the money for your childs needs or educaion.  Every body i know dreads invitations to these types of parties.   I would prefer to visit my friend solo to give well wishes instead of in an awkward group setting.

  • Corkie

    October 26, 2015 at 6:42 am

    This same thing happened to me a few weeks ago. About 45 people RSVP’d and 12 showed….5 of which carpooled between my mom and myself. I still am really hurt by this….we wasted almost $1500 (it was supposed to be a coshower with all his guy friends–open bar etc) which could have been spent on baby. I feel terribly upset because we specifically picked the location so that everyone would feel comfortable. The gifts were not what I was after, it was more so the celebration. I probably will be on baby duty hardcore for the next year or so and wanted to have a good time seeing all of my friends and family and having one last hoorah before I was put on self-imposed mommy duty. I tried putting my best face forward and appreciate the people that actually showed, but I ended up being one of the first people to leave lol. It was embarrassing quite frankly. Friends that I have known and been there for my entire life gave me lame excuses for not coming. I have yet to speak to any of them either. I just don’t want to be fake about how I am feeling towards them. Also, they have the nerve to be upset that I am mad and not speaking to them??? That makes no sense lol. Anyway I’ve decided that they’re not so important to my life anymore since they can’t be there for me….I don’t have to worry about being there for them or their life issues anymore. Less stress.

  • Rebecca

    January 9, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    My husband’s family said they’d throw me a shower. They made it a huge deal because I didn’t want to know the gender that it was inconveniencing them. They didn’t want to buy yellow/grey/green/white… even though I had no problem with it.

    I got told the guests needed a lot of notice, like a month in advance. No one planned it so I suggested to my husband how about a shower when the baby is 6 weeks old. That also solved the gender “problem”. Well, my baby is 6 months old now. I never got the shower. My sister in law got hers, though. Had to find out about it seeing some of the relatives being tagged in Facebook photos. I didn’t even care about the presents. I bought everything myself, thermometers, baby bath, clothes, diapers, wipes, socks, outfits, crib, etc.I just wanted one day to celebrate my child. They are the ones that said they would throw it, I never asked for it. My sister in law’s baby gets all the attention even though she got pregnant on accident. I’m done with those people, it’s been years of them hurting me and I’m so over it.