This is a guest post written by my best friend, Abby Rowe (@abbysrowe). She and I have planned six themed Halloween parties together, as well as a few other events. A registered dietitian, she is raising two boys two and under so she has been a wealth of knowledge during my pregnancy journey! Abby and two other friends spent an abundance of time and energy figuring out how to throw a baby shower during the pandemic that was both safe and as normal as possible so I did not miss out on this long-awaited event. I asked Abby to write up how she went about organizing this shower in the hopes that it could be of some help to others out there wondering how to still honor the mama-to-be, while making sure that her and baby are well-protected during this time.
I had been waiting a LONG time to throw my best friend’s baby shower. Years of heartbreak and anticipation preceded this pregnancy, so now it was time to pull out all the stops and throw a party!
Then the pandemic rapidly took over headlines and Katlyn decided to self-quarantine, doing her utmost to protect this precious baby girl. I had no clue how we were going to pull off a real shower now. So of course like any good millennial, I Google it.
People are organizing neighborhood parades or parking lot gift drop-offs, and I guess that's better than nothing. But I’m NOT about to organize a better-than-nothing shower, not for this answer-to-prayer rainbow baby! And I don’t want Katlyn to miss out on all the joys of a traditional baby shower. We had to try to make this day extra special. Was it the weirdest shower ever? Yep. But hey, it worked. So here’s what we did, and I hope you find inspiration for your quarantined mamas-to-be!
(Bring your own party). Keeping mama protected in a pandemic means keeping her at home and keeping all us germy folks away from her, right? Where else could we meet besides her backyard? Since Katlyn has a great screened porch and yard (that she had already been manicuring during her time at home), hosting the party there was the obvious choice for us. We are blessed with a lot of beautiful weather in the great state of NC, so we just prayed for no rain!
At the time of her shower, our state limited gatherings to 10 people. There were over 50 individuals on the invite list to this shindig. You do the math. Yep, you got it! Five groups of no more than 10 people is the correct answer (my elementary math teachers would be so proud).
So we basically had five 30-minute parties spaced out over the afternoon, with 10 minutes between each wave of guests to sanitize the place. I actually assigned each guest a specific time frame, and explained the whole situation in a letter that went out with their invitation. For real, it said “Dear Sophie, your time frame is 1:40 - 2:10.” Again, weirdest shower ever. But everyone cooperated and it flowed smoothly!
In my letter, I also nicely asked guests to be mindful of social distancing guidelines…but social distancing sucks! We should call it physical distancing, because that makes more sense. Katlyn had a 6-foot radius around her chair. Guest seats were spaced 6-feet apart as well. Easy-peasy! I also requested there be no young children attending who don't understand the distance rules, and asked that guests be mindful that they remain outside and not enter Katlyn's home.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Disinfectant was flyin’ everywhere y'all. We sanitized chairs between groups, we sanitized gifts, we sanitized each other....Actually, my party-planning-partner Chelsea made adorable little essential oil hand sanitizers for party favors! Our good friend, Alysha let us borrow her outdoor hand washing sink because honestly you just can’t throw a quarantine baby shower without one. We attached it to a tree in the backyard and connected a hose to it. Also, as much as I love traditional party foods, we chose individually packaged snacks and drinks so we wouldn’t be spreading germs over a buffet. To go with Katlyn's sunshine and rainbow theme, we offered rainbow goldfish, SunChips, Sunkist, and lemonade to guests.
Several guests were out of town or staying home for their own safety, so we organized a virtual shower too! While Chelsea and I were decorating that morning, Katlyn was inside chatting with friends and family on Zoom, and opening presents they had mailed ahead of time.
BRING ON THE HAPPY
Katlyn has inspired us all by focusing on the positives while self-isolating, but she will tell you there are still moments when it just plain stinks. So my goal for this shower was to cram as much happiness as possible into one day! How? Ice cream bars in a sunshine-yellow freezer. A cheerful, upbeat playlist. Fresh flowers in sunshine-y yellows, pinks, and oranges. Oh, and a flower crown for Katlyn, of course! The balloon arch, baby bump photo display, and twinkle lights made her smile too. By the end of the day, she said her cheeks hurt from smiling, so mission accomplished!
I hope you’ve found some inspiration for your next quarantine party! Well, actually, what I really hope is that there will never have to be any such thing in the future!! But in the meantime, let's keep celebrating any way we safely can. I know it is these moments, especially for women who have endured miscarriage or fertility struggles, that contribute so much joy to a long-awaited pregnancy. Please share your ideas for pandemic-safe party planning in the comments below!