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It is in keeping with tradition to hold a baby shower for a mother-to-be prior to giving birth to her first child. This has, throughout history, always been a celebration involving her nearest and dearest but is also a display of support from friends and family for the new adventure to come.

The shower is centred around preparation for the newborn and, aside from a few fun party games, the primary source of entertainment is gift-giving. As such, the shower is generally thrown by friends of the mum-to-be (so as not to be seen as rude, over-zealous or petitionary).

Despite that fact that, since ancient times, the customary celebration has been exclusive to women, in recent years, the tradition has been transformed by many pending parents to include the baby daddy and his mates. This has sparked some controversy across the World Wide Web and here’s why:

Why is it so important to some women to keep the ritual gender exclusive?
For many women, the comfort of other females at her most emotional, insecure and bubblingly maternal is the most soothing. Most showers take place just as the mum-to-be is reaching the peak of her body transformation. This is a beautiful thing but it can also be terrifying. Some women feel safer with their own kind — other women who can empathise with the rollercoaster of feelings that take place during pregnancy, not only emotionally but physically, too.

Ultimately, for people of this school of thought, it comes back to preparation. The baby shower is an opportunity for the mum-to-be to hash out, with other women who have been in her position, just what to expect before, during and after delivery. It is a time for sensitive advice and sometimes hard truths. It is also a time for the mother-to-be to gain as much insight into the parenting techniques of the important women in their life as possible. When men are present, there is none of this talk and, if there is, it’s forced and uncomfortable. If it’s what she wants, a baby shower should put the needs of the mum in the forefront.

Why should we bring the boys along?
On the flip side, many women say a baby shower is the perfect opportunity to emphasise that parenting is a joint venture, that the responsibility is shared and that, even though the father-to-be doesn’t do any of the immediate heavy lifting during the pregnancy, he will certainly be called upon to make up for it in the long run. Not only that — if looked at in terms of celebration, it makes sense that the father should attend. It is his baby, too!

On the fence?
There is no right or wrong on this topic — it is up to personal preference. However, it is important to pay particular attention to the needs of the mum-to-be in the lead up to the life-changing event, as the change is happening within her body. Before planning anything, make sure you’re all on the same page to avoid disaster! Decide the purpose of the shower first — what do you want to get out of it? Then you’ll know for sure which style — female friendly or co-ed — suits best! Perhaps you can do both!