So, I haven't really got around to understand why they are called 'baby showers' - for there is no 'baby' persay save for the baby bump but oh well, it is 'showering' well wishes so perhaps that.
Anyways, I was born into a Konkani family and married into a Bengali one. I've always maintained that having a inter-cultural marriage lets us have the best of both worlds and what can I say? The unborn baby had just that! Not one or two, but three baby showers! (Woot!)
The "Saadh" as the Bengali baby shower is called, is usually celebrated in the 5th, 7th and 9th months of pregnancy. Here, the pregnant woman's favourite dishes are prepared and a feast is laid down for her to enjoy. It's usually an all-ladies' affair :D My in-laws visited us during my 5th and 9th months so the timing was just perfect! They even brought me new saris to wear for the occasion - had a nice cotton silk sari in blue with golden zari border, topped with beaded gold jewellery for my first "Saadh", while for the last one, when I was heavily pregnant, I draped a pink Dhakai/Jamdani sari, with some golden, pearl and stone studded jewellery. The blue and pink was purely a coincidence, I think!
The first "Saadh" was low-key, just us and a close Bengali friend of mine. It began with invoking God's blessings followed by blessing me, and feeding me 'Paayesh'. After that, our banana leaf lined plates were filled with some amazing variety of food, painstakingly made by the dear mother-in-law.
|Baby Shower #1|
The next baby shower or the "Kapada Aarti" was when I was 7 months pregnant, and by then I definitely was 'showing'. My parents were transiting via Singapore, and there couldn't be a better time for the ceremony. This time, 'twas just my parents, hubby and me. It began with my husband and me being seated, with platters of fruits and sweets in front of us; my mother then blessed us with the light from a silver diya (which by tradition, is to be used later, while celebrating the birthdays of the (unborn) baby) and sprinkling of rice grains ('akshata') and fed us a sweet, each. She then gifted me a new orange-green Mysore silk sari to change into; following which she gave me in the 'sari pallu' a coconut & 'haldi-kumkum'. But the best part of all these ceremonies is obviously the 'maa ke haath ka khaana' (food cooked by mum). Despite having traveled all night, my darling mum made some of my all-time favourite stuff, including a 'Totapuri Mango Ghashi' (coconut-based mango dessert). We enjoyed the lavish treat right off a banana leaf, and I couldn't stop at just one jalebi! Duh!
|Baby Shower #2|
Last but not the least (as the cliche goes), was the one when I was BIG! Just about 2-3 weeks away from my expected date of delivery, my lady friends and aunts were invited to partake in the "Godh Bharai". My dear mother-in-law hosted it all, and this was in fact the first gathering at our new home, so that was exciting too. Blessings were seeked from the elders and I was bestowed with heart-felt wishes, hugs and some gifts too - Ooh La La! My favourite was from a couple of my friends, who got me a navy blue maternity/nursing dress, which I've worn so many times already! Thanks much y'all. The feast that followed, included amongst other yummy curries, 9 fried items, as is the custom (there were 5 at my 5th month 'Saadh') and 'Gurer Payesh' - rice pudding with jaggery, which was amazing. It was indeed a heart-warming afternoon and I'm grateful to all for making it memorable.
|Baby Shower #3|
Thanks to all the love and blessings, I had a relatively smooth delivery with no major complications. I shall be eternally grateful to my mother, who flew in immediately upon hearing that I was in the hospital, too weak from all the puking in my first trimester; my husband who satisfied all my cravings throughout, and my mother-in-law who stayed with us during the last leg of my third trimester and fattened me up :D I was loved and well taken care of, pampered even, throughout my pregnancy, with all the yummilicious food! And the end-product: a super fat me 🙈 and a very cute baby 👶🏻. I'm blessed - Life's good!