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Special Situations - Including Surrogate at Baby's Shower

Q. My husband and I are expecting our first child this summer. Since I had uterine cancer last year, my husband's sister is our gestational surrogate.

Our mothers are joining together to host a baby shower with me as the guest of honor. I feel a little guilty about this since my sister-in-law is the one who is actually pregnant. I know that the shower is thrown for the parents-to-be in celebration of the new arrival and to supply them with the things they will need for the baby, but I would like to have my sister-in-law included somehow. I hate the thought of being congratulated and fawned over and opening presents while she just "sits there" with nothing.

Would it be acceptable to invite her close friends (people who have been emotionally supporting her during this process) to the shower and request that instead of bringing a gift for me and the baby, that they bring a personal gift for her, ie. shopping gift certificates, spa treatments, things to pamper herself with after the baby is born? And what would be the proper way to word that on the invitation?

The immediate family is planning a separate weekend getaway in her honor as a "thank you for what you're doing for the family", but I'd like her to join our shower as a guest of honor (since it did take 3 of us to make the baby) and have her friends "shower her with gifts" as well.

A. Perhaps planning a separate party for her after the baby is born would be a wonderful way to honor her, before or after the getaway. Invite both her friends and your family members and toast her contribution to your family.

Before your shower guests arrive, perhaps present your sister-in-law with a special gift or a certificate to be used any way she'd like. By all means, include her in the shower festivities. Allow her to help open gifts, or help you record the names of gift-givers. During the shower, you're in a unique position. Most moms-to-be are fawned over, but by that point in their pregnancy they're typically uncomfortable and unsteady on their feet, and sit for the duration of their showers. You can completely set your sister-in-law at ease while making her as comfortable as possible and fawn over her a bit, as you both enjoy the festivities. After all, you'll be more physically able to do "the work!" With a little advance planning, your shower can be for you as the new mom-to-be, your sister-in-law can be comfortable while feeling useful, and after the birth, she can party at her own party and thoroughly enjoy herself.

Written by StorkNet Staff Writer Kim Green-Spangler

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