|piles of foil wrapped chocolates to bring to a new mom|
First birth. A couple of colleagues and friends have had babies in the 2 years I've been here. Both locals and ex-pats. I hosted showers for a few of those ex-pats last fall. When I asked around to see if there was any similar local tradition of hosting a party for the mom to be or parents in advance of the birth, I learned the answer was no. And I got the sense, though no one explicitly said it, that it might be seen as premature or even flaunting your luck to celebrate before the birth. Now after the birth, like right after the birth, in the hospital, it's another story. While in the US I think the norm is to let the new parents be alone or with just a small collection of close family in the hospital after the exhausting but exhilarating ordeal, the norm here is to flock to the hospital bedside of mom and baby and to come bearing chocolates. Giant, pretty piles of foil wrapped chocolate! You can find these pyramids of be-ribboned sweets at chocolate shops or some grocery stores as well. And now is when the new mom is lucky if she is close to her sisters or female cousins or someone who can take on the job of making sure all of the many visitors are offered food and small mementos celebrating baby- like wedding favors. The craft stores have supplies to make these on your own or, I saw this bouquet of lace covered blue baby bottles each with a few Jordan almonds in the same section as the gift platters of chocolates, near the florist in the grocery store.