The best laid plans of mice and men can often go awry. At least, that’s what they say. But if you’ve ever planned a baby shower, you know that things happen. Mom goes into labor early. A guest of honor gets snowed out of town. There’s an outbreak of flu and no one wants to risk the health of a pregnant mother. But where there’s a will, there is a way. You can still celebrate a traditional, or not so traditional baby shower to support a new mom and help out a growing family. Sometimes it just takes some creativity.

First, let’s look at a few reasons you may need to change your shower schedule

Bed Rest

A word of warning: If a Mom-to-be has any kind of health issue, do not press the matter when it comes to a shower. If her doctor has ordered bed rest, then cancel the shower. Don’t try to justify continuing because the Mom “won’t have to do anything but sit there.” Even happy occasions can put pressure on her. Being the focus of a shower, even among close friends, is stressful. Instead, look for other opportunities to celebrate when she is feeling better. If bed rest is ordered early and the doctor thinks it will be temporary, then you might talk to the mother about re-scheduling the shower to a later date. But you must make your guests understand that the shower might be cancelled altogether if the mother or the baby’s health requires it.

The first thing you must do is support the mom in her moment of need. These showers can help you do just that.

Premature Birth

Not every premature birth requires you to reschedule the baby shower. If you were already planning on a shower close to the due date, you may have a shower after the baby is born. But there is an inherent risk to having a shower while the baby is in the NICU. While there are advances made every day and more and more premature babies are surviving with no problems, that isn’t always the case. The last thing you want to do is have a shower and fill a house with baby items only to have the worst happen. Instead, wait to have the shower until the baby is out of danger and the Mom is ready to celebrate. Don’t assume that just because the baby has come home, the Mom is ready to bring her out and show her off. Most premature babies are very susceptible to illness, and most pediatricians will caution the mother to keep her fragile baby away from guests. In many cases, she will need to stay away from.

Types of Showers

Whatever type of shower you choose, do the Mom a big favor by having all the thank you notes printed, addressed and stamped. If you wish, you can make this part of the shower, asking each guest to fill out an envelope addressed to themselves. You can then stamp them, so that all the mother has to do is fill them out with her own personal note. Do let guests know that the thank you notes might be late. While it may seem like just the task for someone to do while they are resting, in some cases that may not be true.

The Un-Shower

Like an Un-Birthday, this shower is a chance for the guests to get together without the Mom being present. This shower is most helpful when the Mom has been hospitalized, put on strict bedrest, or the baby has come early, and Mom is recovering. This can be the best choice if you have guests coming from long distances who cannot change their travel plans. While the Mom rests, other friends and family members gather to celebrate. Make sure to have each guest write a note in a commemorative scrap book that you can later fill with pictures of the day. You can collect the gifts and bring them to the mother. There, depending on her health, you can leave them, or, if she’s up to it. You can hand her gifts to open and take pictures of her surprise to share with the gift giver.

The Virtual Shower

With everything from Facetime to online meetings, it can be easy to throw a virtual baby shower. Simply invite your guests with the date, time and link. Include the address for the Mom along with dates to secure shipping. Then, before the day, send out packets to each guest that include edible treats, games and, of course, a small party favor. At the time of the shower, be sure that everyone has logged on, and that they can all see each other. Together you can play games, snack and share support and advice to the woman who is about to become a mother. Guests can watch her open gifts and celebrate with her. Be sure to make a recording of the shower as a keepsake for the mother. If this all sounds too daunting for you to do alone, there are several virtual shower companies that can set everything up for you.

The “Baby’s Here’ Shower

This is possibly the most fun type of “Re-scheduled” shower. As the name suggests, you simply wait until the baby is born and healthy to have a shower and celebrate. It isn’t uncommon to have a shower as late as three months after the baby is born. Not only does this ensure that Mom and child are healthy, but it also often means that Mom can bring the baby to pass around. One of the most important aspects of re-scheduling is letting guests know how big the baby will at the time of the shower.

This brings up advice that you can share with your shower guests whether the child has been born or not. Children come into the world in all sizes from preemies to whopping 14-pound full term babies. So, while those tiny newborn clothes are cute, it is often far more realistic to gift clothing that fits six, nine or year-old babies. If they are tiny at birth, they can always grow into the outfits. However, if they are born large, they will still be able to wear the garment.

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