17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How to Throw a "Welcome to the Ward" Baby Shower

I don't know how it is in other wards, but in ours, there seems to be a constant stream of new move-ins--young couple move-ins. And in the past year, I have been to three "Welcome to the Ward Baby Showers". These can sometimes be awkward occasions because the pregnant woman can feel a little weird having a group of women she barely knows throw her a party and buy her baby presents. Most will even protest the offer of a baby shower in the new ward stating that their old ward or family has already thrown them one. I am glad my ward has already established a history of saying "We don't care. We want to do this for you" because I feel exactly the same way.

Reasons why a "Welcome to the Ward" baby shower is a great idea:

  • Once you have a baby, you need a support system. It can be a lonely time for a new mom even if she has been in the same ward for years. A party helps the new mother make contact with women in the ward, enlarging her support system, before she really needs them.
  • It gives the new mother's visiting teacher a pool of people to help bring in meals once the baby is born. It's nice not having to answer the question "Now who is Sara again? I don't think I have ever met her."
  • Any excuse to have a party is a good one.

Like I said before, these showers can sometimes be awkward. But with proper planning they can be great fun for everyone involved.

Ways to make your "Welcome to the Ward" baby shower a success:
  • If your ward is too big to just invite everyone, make sure to invite women who have the same interests and/or who are in the same situation as the new mother. Invite older women in the ward who love babies - you know the ones I am talking about-the angels that will whisk your child away from you without a word so you can peacefully enjoy a small part of church. Invite the Relief Society Presidency and the Bishopric's wives. And if you, the party thrower, are not the visiting teacher, make sure to invite them too.
  • After the invites are sent out, talk to every person on your invite list to tell them a little bit more about the new mother and encourage them to attend. Otherwise, the invite might just get thrown onto the counter and forgotten since the name might be unrecognizable. And the worst thing in the world is to throw a shower for a new member of the ward and have no one show up. Make sure you have people that will commit to attending.
  • If the new mother really doesn't need anything for the baby (because she's had other showers) and feels uncomfortable with people buying presents for her, consider going with a gift theme like baby books, homemade freezer meals, or just do one group gift. If it's a small group you might even consider having the gathering at a nail salon where you can all treat her to a manicure/pedicure.
  • In some circles, baby shower games are "like totally out". Pish Posh. Games are a great way to bring people together and to liven up a party. For a "Welcome to the Ward" Baby Shower might I suggest the following trivia game: Conduct an "interview" with the guest of honor in which you find out all sorts of personal stuff about her. Her favorite foods and tv shows; her hobbies and talents; her background (schooling, career, and interesting facts etc). From this information, create a multiple choice quiz about the mother while framing each question around the baby (scroll to the bottom to see some sample questions). It's a great game to play at the beginning of the shower to get conversation rolling and a fun way for guests to get to know the mother without forced, awkward conversation.
  • While opening gifts, have each giver tell one interesting fact about themselves to the group. This is another way for the new mother to get to know the women attending the shower (and it is great fun for all attending to hear what some women come up with!)
  • Have the recorder of gifts include full names and addresses for the new mom whom might not yet have a ward directory.
For more fun baby shower ideas from Tales, go here.

A Few Sample Trivia questions:

1. If the baby were to attend Sara’s Alma Mater, what color would she be wearing:

a. Cougar blue
b. The red of a true Ute
c. Does UVSC have a color?

2. This baby will probably be born with a craving for this spicy food which Sara loves to eat:

a. Thai
b. Mexican
c. Indian

3. If babies in the womb could have passports, this one would already have a stamp from:

a. Mexico
b. Chile
c. Japan

4. It’s okay if the baby cries, just as long as she doesn’t do it during:

a. American Idol
b. Grey’s Anatomy
c. The Office

5. Sara’s little girl will always be well taken care of when it comes to:

a. her teeth, because Sara is a dental hygenist
b. her hair, because Sara is a hair stylist
c. her health, because Sara is a nurse.

9 Comments:

  • LOVE these ideas....so great. I think it might also work as a non baby shower, just a welcome to the ward girls night....

    If I lived in a ward as big as Carrie's, as an alternative to the follow up phone call, I might include in the invitation a little something with the girls photo and facts and an invitation to meet and support this new person...b/c I would get tired of the phoning.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/18/2007 10:33:00 AM  



  • Something that has helped in our branch is to have a stack of thank you cards already in envelopes by the door and everyone writes their own name and address on the envelope as they drop off their present. Maybe Ms. Manners would not approve, but it really makes thank yous easy!
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 4/18/2007 11:56:00 AM  



  • Wow, if only I lived in a ward like this. I've wanted to move out since the day we moved in and almost 5 years later we are still here and I know there is a reason for that. We just live in a very disfunctional ward.
    posted by Blogger Erin at 4/18/2007 02:22:00 PM  



  • erin, YOU can change it!!!! Go for it!
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/18/2007 03:42:00 PM  



  • Such good ideas!! We recently had a "welcome to the ward baby shower" for a new gal. It was fun. We wanted to make it homey and have it in someone's home, but at the same time were worried about the masses coming in. So, we still invited everyone in the ward (announced it in R.S., put it in the newsletter, and handed out invitations), AND we had it at someone's home - the secret . . . an "open house." It worked great! Not a ton of people at once, and when you did come, you could actually sit and visit with the new mom.
    posted by Anonymous Mel at 4/18/2007 08:38:00 PM  



  • Carrie, you're just so cool :)

    Love all of the ideas here. I'm totally in the mood for a party now!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 4/19/2007 09:21:00 AM  



  • I also think this is a great idea...I had been in our Astoria ward for a few months, but didn't really feel a part of things until two Tales contributors who shall remain nameless threw a really fun baby shower for me. I was so touched by all the work and planning and everyone who took time out of their Saturday to be with me.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 4/21/2007 05:57:00 PM  



  • As a witness to the shower Carrie described, I must say it was a hit!!! I especially loved the other game -- teaming up to create a "what your baby will look like" picture using adult pictures of the mom & dad. Good way to get to know BOTH parents so you can easily spot them at church. Good one, Carrie.
    posted by Blogger Kizzycakes at 4/23/2007 08:13:00 AM  



  • Ah yes, the "what will your baby look like game". I didn't mention it because the post was getting a little long. It is a great game that began back at Jen's baby shower--except Jen had her baby early and we all knew what her baby looked like. ANyway, we played it anyway and it was great fun. I think Kage thought it up way back then.

    We played it at this shower too and then I took all the masterpieces and tied them together with ribbon for the baby's "special things to keep box". Although many of the morphs were pretty scary so the book probably ended up in the trash when the poor girls pregnancy hormones got the better of her right before the birth. :)
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 4/23/2007 08:20:00 AM  



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