Hey, I'm a late June EDD mama who is super-happy for you guys who recently gave birth! This is only the 2nd time I've posted and it's another big whine-fest. Sorry.
Here goes... My husband's family recently hosted a "surprise" baby shower for me. Should I mention that I hate surprises like this? Parts of it the party were delightful and parts not so much. I guess I need to focus on the delightful. But, he has a lot of relatives/family friends and it's very hard for me to keep all the names straight. And I hate attending traditional baby showers (and this one was about as old-school as you can get, all about the luncheon food and the gift opening and not really about the community of women coming together to support the baby). Not my style. And exhausting to be in the hot seat, opening gifts in front of all these people in such a transactional way... I promptly came down with the flu immediately after the shower, I suspect due to the emotional stress! (Google "I hate baby showers" to find a whole tribe of women who feel similar.) I know, I sound ungrateful, but I just feel so unrecognized by his family... like they don't know who I really am/can't adjust their cultural expectations and ways of doing things to meet me halfway. It's very trying.
(More whine ahead, sorry.) I loved the gifts that were more modest/personal/religious/arty, but was flummoxed by some of the big-ticket items that generous close family members/friends got us. Basically, they ignored the registry and got me things I don't want or that are duplicates of things I already have... and they're close enough to us that we may need to keep and try to use this extra stuff that we don't want.
The thing that really got to me was that my MIL's friends banded together to buy me a "travel system" -- stroller, infant carseat, the whole thing. This is despite the fact that I'd carefully researched what kind of carseat I want and have already purchased it... I got a really good convertible seat with an infant insert. My MIL definitely knew that I had a carseat already but they decided as a group that the carseat I chose won't work for our baby when it's small. And that makes me feel like they think I'm a dummy who can be overruled. AND I never wanted a stroller in the first place, but reluctantly registered for a smaller stroller that got better reviews, knowing that MIL's friends wanted to get me a stroller. I was trying to be gracious (i.e., meet them halfway). So why didn't they get me the stroller I decided is best for our family, and why did they get me a big behonking "travel system" that I don't want or need??? I don't know what to do... the freakin' travel system didn't come with a gift receipt and clearly isn't meant by the givers be returned. If I tell my MIL it's not what I want, she might be pissed at me and she might also tell them, and hurt their feelings. I'm thinking I'll quietly return it to the big box store from where it came after the baby is born and we're sure we won't be needing the infant seat. I guess there will be other things we need eventually that I can get at that store in exchange. If any of them ever ask, I might just lie - say the carseat is in our other car, that the stroller is great but now we have two, etc. What would you guys do?