YOU know what the best thing about being pregnant is?

Well I don’t, because I’ve never had children, but I’m pretty sure that being made to lick a melted Mars bar out of a disposable nappy while being squealed at by drunk women isn’t it.

No, that’s not a description of a sadistic torture technique from Abu Ghraib. As any woman of child-rearing age will tell you, it is in fact a cornerstone of the rite of passage known as “the baby shower”. And it is awful.

If you’re lucky enough to have somehow avoided being dragged to a baby shower then congratulations, you are probably a man, and therefore enjoy all the societal benefits that brings (a higher salary, greater representation on boards, etc).

However, for your benefit: A baby shower is a “party” at which everyone pretends to enjoy watching a pregnant woman unwrap gifts for two hours and then goes home.

I say “party” because on the off-chance you do get served any alcohol you’ll feel bad drinking it in front of the mum-to-be, and the likelihood of being served any shellfish or soft cheeses (essential for any decent shindig) is slim to none.

When it comes to baby showers most people fall into one of two camps: either you think they’re a fun and essential send-off on the journey into motherhood, or pastel-tinted suckholes of tweeness that make you want to gouge out your own eyes.

No prizes for guessing where I’ve pitched my tent. Here’s why:

1. Your presents are more important than your presence

If everyone were honest we’d call baby showers what they really are: gift collection events. This is why you will be invited to showers for friends you haven’t seen since high school, people you only know via Facebook, and that girl you met once at a party in 2006 but can’t really remember.

Oh, and don’t forget that when the baby is born, you’ll have to buy them another present.

2. Shopping for presents sucks

These days couples seem to like keeping the sex of their unborn baby a secret, like it’s some totally mind-blowing news that needs to be kept under embargo lest it make the cover of Woman’s Day, and not just one of two probable outcomes chiefly of interest to them.

Thanks to this new trend, you’re forced to buy genderless presents which, while admirably progressive, is also virtually impossible, so you just end up getting the same bloody Peppa Pig toy that everyone else got.

Meanwhile, keep in mind that whatever you get it will inevitably embarrass you when you get to the shower and discover everyone else spent at least three times what you did.

3. Baby talk

Unsurprisingly, 98 per cent of the conversation at a baby shower is about babies. This may be fine if you have one, or are about to have one, or have some sort of obsession with babies, but it is grating if you don’t.

If you’re a mother, you will find yourself talking about birthing rituals and sippee cups and percentiles, and possibly swapping stories about placentas, and if you’re not you’ll find yourself continually coming up with new ways to answer the question “so when are you going to have one?”.

4. Party games? What am I, five?

Party games are what children play because they’re too young to get drunk.

We adults wisely avoid them because they are naff and boring — except when it comes to baby showers, where we’re all forced to play them again.

And not just ordinary party games either — BABY themed party games. There’s “pin the dummy on the infant” (like pin the tail on the donkey but more boring), “whose water breaks first” (where everyone is given a frozen plastic baby and tries to melt it), and the “baby sock game” (where you have to pair up baby socks).

The worst though has to be “dirty nappy”, an inexplicably popular game in which guests have to identify various chocolate bars melted into disposal nappies by tasting them.

If standing around trying to melt ice blocks, sort laundry or lick a pretend poo sounds like a fun time to you then you might want to get medically checked for head injuries.

And finally, when it comes to baby showers here’s a little secret for you:

5. Not even the mum-to-be likes it

I asked some mummy friends what they thought of the traditional baby shower. Turns out they all hate it. Here’s what they said:

“I loathe the stereotypical scene of women sitting around watching the mum-to-be unwrap gifts while finding new ways of saying ‘oh, how cute’. That’s why I did drinks at the pub. No games, no faff. It was perfect.”

“I went to one where the friends who organised it went way overboard and the mother-to-be was really overwhelmed. She didn’t enjoy it at all. All the games were active and she was massive so she didn’t have the energy for it. Party damn near induced the baby.”

“My friends threw me a baby shower and I hated it. All these stupid quizzes and games. I mean, we’re 30 — we can entertain ourselves at a party.”

“Baby showers are s**t. My friend had one years ago and then ended up having a stillbirth. She told me that going home from hospital to a nursery overflowing with baby gifts made her grieving journey even harder. For that reason, I never had a baby shower myself.”

So, mums-to-be of Australia, take heed. No one likes baby showers, probably not even you. Forget the twee decorations and lame party games and just have your mates around for a drink and a nibble.

And don’t worry — people will still give you presents.

First published on, July 16, 2015