It’s OK To Feel Angry About Unwanted Baby Gifts, But You Still Have To Say Thank You

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fuck-this-sweaterThere is really only one way to respond to a baby gift you do not want, and that is to smile graciously, say thank you, and send a thank-you note.

If the unwanted baby gifts are egregiously awful or inappropriate, you’re allowed to gripe to your partner or email your best friend. But as much as you might want to, it is not appropriate to throw stuff at your mother-in-law for giving you a baby sweater that is the wrong color, which is where the girlfriend of one Redditor seems to be heading.

In the Reddit thread, one user says that his mother knit a sweater for their soon-to-be-born son, but his girlfriend thinks it is hideous. Not only does she not like it, she is actively angry that her partner’s mother would make it without asking them to approve the pattern first. He wrote:

“I’m not much of a fashion guy myself, I have to say, but I’m sure my moms sweater is perfectly fine. GF says that this will probably be a continous problem throughout the years when my mom does these things, but she only does it of good heart and I’m glad to see her knit and be creative again!”

I understand freaking out over gifts. I really do. At a certain point in my third trimester I was having regular silent sobbing fits in the bathroom because I was getting gifts I didn’t ask for in colors I didn’t like, and some dark part of my lizard brain was interpreting them as a willful usurping of my authority as a mother. I was convinced that opening every frilly pink dress was like unwrapping 15 years of family drama with a bow on it.

Luckily none of those thoughts came out of the bathroom with me, because I would have sounded like a crazy, ungrateful brat.

All of our situations are unique, but for me the problem went away when I told myself: “You don’t have to use them.” If I were that Redditor’s partner, hearing, “You don’t have to use it” would go a long way towards making me feel better about the unwanted sweater.

In my case, I was upset because I felt like I was being silenced by gifts. For example, I thought I had received too many baby clothes to be able to buy any of my own choosing, but that was dumb. I went and bought myself one pack of onesies that I picked out and instantly felt better. Who cares if the kid has a few too many onesies? I just needed to feel like I was in control of the situation. (While eight months pregnant, it is very easy to feel like one is not in control of anything.)

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