As long as you RSVP that you will not be attending, no, it’s generally not rude.
To just not show up at any party when you said you would is rude, so it is advisable to always give as much notice as possible and to be very apologetic for your absence. You might consider meeting up with the mother-to-be at a later date or after the baby is born, to visit and/or give them a gift to ensure the relationship won’t be fractured.
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If you are a close relative and friend of the mom-to-be, it is an unspoken thing that you are required to attend unless there is a really good reason not to be there, so be mindful of RSVP’ing ‘no’ without a good reason, unless you wish to hurt the feelings of the mom and potentially damage your relationship.
Having said that, a baby shower is not exactly a legal requirement, so no one can force you to go if you’re unable to attend – or don’t want to.
It is a moral judgement call, really. Of course, unexpected things can crop up in life, which can mean you have to regretfully unattend at the last minute – that’s life – but hopefully your host and the mom-to-be will be fully understanding, and you will be able to make it up to them at a later date.
It is wise to always be honest as to why you can’t make it.
What to Do if You Can’t Make It
- Take mom-to-be out for lunch and present her with a gift.
- Offer to throw another shower for the both of you (and anyone else who may not be able to attend)
- Create a homemade voucher offering yourself up for babysitting duty once a month for a year
- Take mom-to-be out for a spa day
- Invite her over for dinner and cook a three-course meal
- Send her a card and flowers to apologize
- Organize a night on the town for after the baby arrives so she can let her hair down.
The Bottom Line
No one can force you to attend a baby shower and even if you want/plan to attend, sometimes life throws us a curveball and we can’t make it. With plenty of apologies, explanations, and a (kept) promise to make it up to the mom-to-be at a later date will hopefully keep you in good odour with your friend and no permanent damage will be done to your relationship.
It is recommended that, even if you don’t want to go, sucking it up and attending is a wise move.
Not attending and being there for your pregnant friend on a special day could cause a little upset, so it can be worth putting yourself in her position and asking yourself if you’d be upset if the roles were reversed. Sometimes not choosing to attend may not be worth the damage it does to your relationship with the expecting mother.