This weekend, I went to the first baby shower since we lost Sophie and it was for one of my best friends. I will always be a firm believer that you should put yourself first and the people that love you most will encourage you to take care of your head and your heart. I feel so lucky to have so many of those friendships in my life. Since we lost Sophie, I have felt only love and support from the people closest to me. This friendship, in particular, is one that I am especially grateful for. She’s a friend that has been sensitive, patient, and present through our loss and those are the kind of people I want to surround myself with through every season of life.

Shannyn at 18 weeks pregnant with her best friend at her best friend's baby shower

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson

When it came time to celebrate her and her baby boy I was genuinely excited!

That felt like a great sign that I was ready for this. Once again, though, we are reminded that grief and joy can coexist. I woke up the morning of her shower full of nerves. I was emotional and overwhelmed thinking about what should have been. I have a pink dress still sitting in my closet that I picked out for Sophie’s baby shower; I should have gotten the chance to wear that. I should have a stockpile of cute bows and girl clothes. In all honesty, I thought about how glad I am that she is having a baby boy because this blog post may look a little different if I had to sit there and watch her open presents for a little girl. Thankfully, most of these thoughts and anxieties disappeared quickly with only a few small appearances.

Once I got to the shower, I got a lot of hugs and “congratulations to you too!” This makes me pause because I’m still so conflicted when I hear people say that. It feels premature. I say thank you, but I also want to tell them to wait until we have this baby safe in our arms. Plus, I still mourn the “congratulations” I would have had if Sophie were here today. Instead, I hear, “I’m so sorry for your loss”.

Overall, I went through some highs and lows, but it was pretty easy to bring myself back to joy. The joy of feeling hopeful again. The joy of this new baby and this new phase of life I get to go through with my best friend. The joy of hopefully raising little boys together and swapping stories and advice. This is what got me through the day, and I’m so happy we got to celebrate together!

I feel like I ripped a small band-aid off this week.

The next baby shower may be easier, but it also may be even tougher. Grief isn’t linear. Sometimes it hits you when you least expect it, but I love celebrating the small wins and feeling my heart slowly heal through great friendships.

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