EWTN Catholic Q&A
Baby shower for unwed mother
Question from J.O. on 08-27-2013:

My niece is having a baby. However, she is having out of marriage. Also she is living with her boyfriend. My sister wants to have a baby shower to help the baby out. She asked my mom to help out. Mom has no issue giving gifts to baby; her issue (and mine too since I was invited) was with going to a baby shower of someone who is not married. Should we be concerned or can we go for the baby?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 08-27-2013:


Strictly speaking, baby showers are given by friends, not family. Traditionally anyway, it was considered bad form for family to beg others on behalf of a relative when it was their responsibility to help the new parents transition to family life. Even when given by friends, showers were supposed to be a social gathering at which people could wish the new mother well and offer inexpensive trinkets as a gesture of their support. Serious presents were given by family and were brought to the new mother after the baby was brought home from the hospital.

I go to the trouble of mentioning all this because you could avail yourself of this tradition if you decide that you would rather not attend a shower for an unwed mother. Explain to your sister that there are people out there that will be horrified that she and other relatives are hosting a shower for your niece. Then you can say that of course you want to help out your niece and her child, and so you will bring your gift for the baby when you visit after the baby is born.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers