Last week I was traveling in Mexico and was invited to attend a baby shower. Though I didn’t know the mother, I tagged along with some of the guests. Entering the church I saw a group of ladies, maybe fifteen, sitting in a circle. I scanned the group looking for the lady of honor. Then I saw Monie, the one with the sash, the big tummy and the even bigger smile. She was radiant in her knit white dress stretched over her big belly, looking around, eyes aglow, at all these women who had come this evening to honor her and her new little one coming into the world.
As I sat down, the games were getting underway—I took my paper and pencil and tried to unscramble the baby words in Spanish. Then one of our hostesses came to each person in the circle holding a clothes hanger to which several colored plastic clothespins were clipped. When it was her turn, each woman tried to see how many clothespins she could grab and hold with one hand, while naming an items needed for a new baby. I got eight, but the record was nine.
Then we played another game I’d never played before, but will definitely break out at the next baby shower I plan on account of its high entertainment value. Two pairs of women sit in chairs across from each other. All four are blindfolded. Two women are handed a spoon and a jar of baby food. They race to feed their partner all of the baby food before the other team. Naturally this is a hilarious mess, with baby food in the hair and down the fronts of their shirts. The women were rolling.
Another special touch was the corsage. Each guest received a handmade corsage to pin on. I later learned that this is a cherished custom. Though the corsages are simple, maybe a little flower, or a little rattle cut out of foam paper, they are carefully made and a delightful little party favor.
Then, like almost all baby showers I’ve been to, there was the time for the passing down of the wisdom. Each woman, mother or not, was given her moment to impart her advice to the young mother. I was excited to hear the responses and wondered how they would differ from the advice we give mothers in the U.S. One mother encouraged her to love the little baby like crazy, others had practical advice like establishing a schedule for breastfeeding, another reminded her to not neglect her husband, and set aside special couples time. Many echoed that advice.
I looked around at each of the mothers there, each decked out to the nines, each excited to welcome this new initiate into their distinguished club. Monie’s mother and sister sat at her side, excited for the new addition to their family.
After games and wisdom, of course it was the time for food. Each of the ladies were served and we sat and chatted about how we knew the mother and if we had children of our own. Then the gifts, of course.
The most special moment came at the close of the evening when Monie stood before us with a stack of cards and began to read a little note as if from the voice of her baby. As she read, tears trickled down her cheeks. She thanked everyone for being there and for supporting her in her joy and closed the note with the name of her baby. Each of us received one of the printed cards not only as a thank you but a remembrance. Pregnant mothers: this is a time-saving tip! Hand out cute thank you notes at the shower and evade weeks of guilt and stress over those post-baby shower thank you cards.
I loved the special touches that gave this Mexican baby shower its south-of-the-border flair, but more significant was seeing that no matter where you travel, when it comes to mothers and babies, many things aren’t all that different.
Interested in seeing how Latina mamas do their thing, or giving your mama-hood a little cultural flavor? Here are a couple of top Latina mom blogs: