x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Husband perturbed that baby shower was just for the girls

My baby shower was emotional and fun, but now Mr T wants in on the action too - he's organising his own shower where men can join in.

"This baby hasn't even arrived," my husband said to me, "and already you're leaving me out of things."

Mr T is not often prone to sulking, yet that was his parting shot as I readied myself to head to my very own baby shower.

This might not make me sound like the best mother-to-be on the block, but the highlight of this pregnancy wasn't that time I got to hear the baby's heartbeat, nor that other time when I finally - correctly - identified a tiny hand in the murky depths of the ultrasound scan. The joy of an unexpected baby shower has been the best part about the past 31 weeks. No wonder Mr T was jealous.

I never expected to be the guest of honour at my own baby shower; it's a very western tradition not often practised among us Arabs. So when my boss announced that she'd like to throw me a shower herself, it was difficult to hold back tears of gratefulness.

I could not comprehend the idea that colleagues I rarely see outside of work would sacrifice precious weekend time to come together and celebrate the impending birth of my baby - an event I thought would be insignificant to all but our immediate family. So, because I wanted it so badly but felt embarrassed asking others to go to all that trouble, I tried to organise the shower myself.

I offered to host it at my home, prepare the food, forego any gifts, make it as enticing an offer as I could manage. My boss and my colleagues would stare at me with the most baffled expressions on their faces every time I suggested something I could do to help, and, exasperatedly, begged me to just sit back, relax and show up on the right day and at the right time. "That's all you have to do, is just show up," they said. Did they really mean that? I had to just sit back and be pampered in this way, before I even had a baby to show for it? We Arabs do celebrate the birth with gifts and jubilation and beautiful get-togethers with friends and family, but that happens after the birth, when there's a child to gather around.

Because the entire concept of a shower was lost on both of us, Mr T was just as baffled as I was, especially when he learnt that men were not invited to such affairs, even if said men were the father-to-be.

I'm secretly glad he wasn't there; that shower was just the therapeutic get-together I needed. It was an escape from the rigours of pregnancy, the perfect environment to vent about the aches and pains and yet, at the same time, speak freely about the excitement I cannot quite contain, despite it coming hand in hand with fear.

Showers, I think, are the most perfect idea in the world, and should be as necessary to a pregnancy as the monthly checkups, or those antenatal vitamins that doctors as so keen on. They do wonders for the mother-to-be's soul.

As for the father-to-be? Well, Mr T has decided that another baby shower, one that will take the guise of a dinner with friends, is next on the agenda.

"We should have another one, and this time, I'll organise it," he insisted. "It won't be as great as the one you just had, but in mine, men are allowed."