Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
OK, coworker "Mary" is prego and basically, she's due any day now.
(Names have been changed to protect the innocent--i.e., me)
I'm closer to her than most, so I know things that the rest of our coworkers don't. Like:
1. She hates mixing parties and work. I suggested having her baby shower in the work break room months ago because it's so large and nicely decorated, and she nixed the idea. She reminded me of how difficult it is to get everyone to join in during a very busy unit's work day. She works day shift, and she's right about that.
2. She's so uncomfortable that the thought of going to work has made her break down and cry every single day for the past week. She's confided to me that she almost walked out twice, but she wants to be able to take as much leave as possible after the baby's born, so she's been dragging herself in. She usually calls me before she has to work and we chat and I let her blow off steam. I have no idea if our chats are helpful, but she keeps calling, and we do fun stuff together too, so it's not like she's always complaining.
Bearing those two things in mind, I got a phone call from another coworker, let's call her "Chelsea," today. Chelsea basically said "a group of us have gotten together and we're having a surprise shower for Mary on Tuesday in the break room at noon."
What they don't know is that I also got a phone call from Mary this morning. She was crying about going to work, and she told me her doc was ready to give her the excuse from work note whenever she was ready to go on leave, and she was seriously thinking of not going back to work. Today. Or ever. Or at least until her maternity leave was up.
I suggested that Chelsea check the schedule and she did. Sure enough, they planned the shower for a day when Mary is off. Then Chelsea said, "So do you think you could get her to come in that day anyway?"
Ummmm.....no. I also could not come because this call came a whole two days in advance. There was another shower previously planned--the shower that Mary wanted and helped plan will be held on Sunday. All the coworkers are also invited to that one, no gifts necessary.
So Chelsea talked to the others and they changed the party to a day that Mary is supposed to work--this Thursday. I kept my mouth shut about Mary not wanting to go because nothing is a done deal when someone's 9 months' pregnant.
To me, it'll be nice that she's having two showers, but no way am I going to be involved in something that she specifically told me she would not want.
So I called her husband and enlisted his aid to a) keep the work shower a surprise, and b) try to get her to go to work that day.
In between, Mary called me back to tell me that she called off today. Her doctor appointment is Wednesday. I figure she'll get that work excuse then.
And the surprise shower will be Thursday.
Frankly, since she's going to our hospital to have the baby, I'm wondering why they don't just wait until after she has the baby and visit her in her room with a gift, rather than stress her out even more by trying to make her enjoy leaving her patients for a half hour or hour. Then again, with the hormones raging as they are, I could not guess what her reaction would be, but she's way past hiding her feelings at this point, so I'm sure she'll let us all know exactly what she thinks.
Just throwing this out there for you party-planners--please make sure that the prego-person you're planning for has someone to cover their assignment completely. Better yet, put them on the schedule to work--and have someone ready to take over for them, and ultimately give them the rest of the day off.
Any comments are welcome.
Oy is right. You said that you didn't tell Mary about the shower that Chelsea planned but I would. Just prepare her, tell her that you had nothing to do with it, you'll attend with her for support if she wants, etc. I may be going out on a limb here, but it sounds like your co workers are being a tad insensitive. Nine month pregnant woman, who is off work - why would she want to come in when she's on leave?
I have to agree with your friend. Parties at work don't work. Not everyone can attend at once, it's chaos, it just doesn't work.
I planned a surprise baby shower for a co worker and I planned it at a restaurant that I knew she liked. I enlisted another co worker to get her there by saying they were going out one last time before she became a first time mother. It worked out great. She loved it and everyone had a great time. We ordered off the menu (if you wanted) and we had cake and opened presents.
But since Mary is due any day now that isn't an option. What about a shower a few weeks after she has the baby? I have visited co workers in the hospital after they have had the baby, but I never stay long because although I've never been pregnant, I can imagine that they are tired and want to bond with their baby. Dropping off a gift is ok, as long as a large group doesn't show up. Mary sounds like she's hormonal, stressed and just plain tired. I'd leave the party alone for now. Since you are close to her, you can judge when she's ready for a party. She might even appreciate some time away from the baby to go to a party. Once again, never been pregnant, but it would feel good to get dressed up and wear clothes without baby puke on them.
A great gift idea: spa day! Get co workers to go together and get her a spa day. Doesn't have to be a full day thing - massage, pedicure, manicure is enough. I've done this several times and it's always been very well received. Everyone always gets baby things but often forget about the mom. Maybe you could even go with her since you are so close. I bet she'd appreciate a day out with a friend. Treat her to lunch.
Whatever you decide, good luck! And keep us posted on Mary - hope everythig goes well for her.