Baby Showers: Should You Invite a Friend Who's Miscarried or Has Fertility Issues?

Most women are thrilled to celebrate at a baby shower ... only odds are you know at least one woman who may find this party a painful experience. Maybe you know that she recently had a miscarriage or has been doing fertility treatments for years with no luck. Rather than have her endure the agony of oohing and ahhing over booties and blankies before she locks herself in the bathroom to cry, you get to wondering whether perhaps it would be kinder to keep her off the invitation list entirely.


While your motives for not inviting your friend have the best of intentions, "To just not invite her without any reason can cause more hurt when you are trying to cause less," points out Jessica Marventano, etiquette expert at Marvelously Well-Mannered. But rather than just mass-mail her the invitation as you would with all the other guests, try a more personal approach: Pick up the phone and call, or meet her in person.

"Calling or seeing her is important," says Amy Alkon, an advice columnist and author of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck. "Especially in a day and age when we do everything fast by email and text, it shows an extra level of caring." From there, break the news this way: Say, "Your friendship means a great deal to me and I'd love to have you at my baby shower. But I realized that it might be hard for you, and I wanted to let you know if you are not up for attending, I totally understand. Feel free to think about it and let me know."

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If she decides to not attend, "Don’t take it personally if she feels like she can’t handle it," says Megan Frisbee, a party planner with, an online marketplace of entertainers for hire across the US and Canada. "She may be experiencing extreme feelings of grief, anger, and even jealousy over your new baby. It’s important to understand these feelings aren’t aimed at you; she’s dealing with years of feeling inadequate as a woman and a mother. Hopefully over time, her feelings of being happy for you will take over, and she can conquer her own obstacles without feeling resentful of your situation."

Or you may be pleasantly surprised to see that she'd like to attend in spite of her loss. "Sometimes it can be healing to be around other moms and babies," says Leigh Anne O'Connor, pregnancy and child care expert at The key is to let her decide what she's comfortable with rather than make the decision for her.

Did you ever skip a baby shower because you were too sad after a miscarriage or unsuccessful pregnancy attempts?


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