"Sure," says I and then I think, "I am not sure about a cross-cultural baby shower. Oh, it's been done thousands of times around the world. American mom asked to share something of how we do things and explain it to our new friends in the country we are now residing. Sometimes the request comes because of a magazine article; for example, a feature article in a national magazine on Thanksgiving and suddenly you are asked as the resident expert to demonstrate or at least explain. If you live in a city with many of your compatriots there may be a bit of support for "doing Thanksgiving," or "giving a baby shower" to someone who says, "It sounds like fun!"
When you live in a small, rural community you can be given the same sort of request but you are on your own to define your tradition. I asked for time to think. I am a grandmother now and I remember living overseas when my babies were born. An older American mother gave me a shower, as she knew it would mean something to me and our friends were curious. What was this Baby Shower thing?!
Then, it came to me. There is a new idea, a new type of baby shower floating back and forth across the Atlantic. I was in Florida when my daughter experienced her Baby Shower of Blessings in her home church in London. My daughter, half-English said it suited her and her friends much more than receiving presents. Oh, they like "stuff" and know their babies will needs loads of it; but when expecting your first baby you might be forgiven for finding it embarrassing opening items in front of your friends. Perhaps that, too, is a cross-cultural outlook but what many first time mums/moms seems to really, really want is answered prayers and blessings and good information and support from family and friends.
Here's how a Baby shower of Blessings goes....everyone arrives to lots of food, which is the same as a Baby Shower of Stuff. You might even receive a present or two from the group that has gathered around you. There is laughter and jokes, which is also the same as BBof Stuff; but then comes the difference. Now, sitting comfortably around the pregnant women we are around a well dug deep of sharing prayers and verses that we have prepared before hand to bless the women. Last Monday night, when I led my gathering of women from my church we prayed for the flourishing of the child within. We borrowed a prayer from our Jewish sisters, and prayed for a "goodly hour" of the baby's arrival. We prayed for a safe delivery and for there to be no fear, but joy. We prayed for both the husband and wife to be all that God wanted them to be as parents, and to not bother with wisdom that came from marketing of worldly wisdom that would make anyone feel inadequate. We prayed for sleep! At least sometimes!
Then, still inspired by the Baby Shower of Blessings my daughter experienced in London, which apparently was inspired by a similar experience held in New York City...(you know how these things travel)...we gathered all that was written or said by the women that evening and will put it together in a scrapbook to present to both mum and dad. Oh, and the two pregnant ladies had a goody bag to take home to the dads. That evening, we blessed and were blessed; all of us. The mums said they had never seen anything like it and the culture that was really crossed was that of the secular world into the sacred.
Have you ever experienced sharing a cultural tradition with a new generation twist?