How to Pick a Special Needs Baby Shower Gift

by Jun 25, 2014How-Tos, Special Needs Parenting2 comments

 Photo Credit: Stuart Miles at

Special needs baby showers could have their own unique twist if guest blogger Maggi Gale has anything to say about the matter. As an observer from across the pond, she has some advice about how to modify the  American custom of baby showers so parents of babies with special needs can enjoy them.

How to Pick a Special Needs Baby Shower Gift

The United States climbed from fifth place to rank the most generous country in the world, according to a recent global study, so says the Huffington Post (25th May 2014). I’m not surprised. As Brits living in East Africa, our American friends were some of the most generous people we’d ever met.

Baby Shower Generosity

However, I must admit that I was taken aback to receive some gifts for my baby before her birth. At the time, I wasn’t au fait with the American culture of “baby shower” before the baby’s birth.

Little did any of us know that our precious unborn baby was T.E.F. /O.A., and her birth was to throw our lives into turmoil such as we’d never experienced.

One of the presents I received that day was a Baby’s Firsts book. It was beautifully laid out, ready to receive baby’s first lock of hair after her first haircut, date of sighting of baby’s first tooth and records of baby’s first words.

Special Needs Baby’s Firsts

I never filled out one page in that book. Baby’s first year in our house was a dark tunnel for me. I thought cynically – why don’t I write a Baby’s Firsts book recording baby’s first stay in intensive care, baby’s first time we didn’t think she would make it through the night, and baby’s first 10 antibiotics before she became immune to them and needed something stronger?

How to Pick a Special Needs Baby Shower Gift

I love the American generous spirit. However, at the risk of being controversial, wouldn’t it be an idea to wait and see who and what God brings along before giving gifts? And remember, it might be that what’s actually required most is not cute clothes or toys. It might be a listening ear, a babysitter or a shoulder to cry on after a sleepless night. Keep up the generosity, everyone, and let’s look out for how and where it’s really needed.

Your Favorite Special Needs Baby Shower Gifts?

What do you think of Maggi’s observations about the American custom of baby showers? What meaningful special needs baby gifts were you given? Why did they mean so much? Leave a comment.

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By Maggi Gale

Maggi is a wife and mother of two daughters. She is a primary school teacher, having worked in Africa for 14 years before moving to the Middle East. Her passions are her animals and art. Her youngest daughter was born with tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF). This birth condition was to be the start of an arduous journey, impacting the whole family for several years. Through writing, she hopes to turn her experiences into encouragement for others on similar paths.


  1. Jolene


    Your story reminds me of advice given by the parent of a child born with special needs. When people aren’t sure what to say to parents after the birth of a child with Down syndrome or other special needs, her advice is to say, “Congratulations!” or “We’re so glad you’re baby is here.” Isn’t that what we should say whenever a God brings a child into the world?


  2. Doris Lindley

    When our middle daughter was born with Down Syndrome, many, if not most friends stayed away, not knowing what to say. I was so hurt and bitter at the time, I said they were afraid Down’s was contagious. One friend had not heard the news that we hadn’t had a “normal” baby, so she brought a “normal” gift – a sweet little outfit. Our daughter failed to gain weight for months, so when the outfit finally fit, we were out-of-the-woods health-wise and so enjoyed the gift. When my friend found out our daughter was Down’s, she apologized for bringing the gift and I assured her it was wonderful to receive “normal” congrats! Our daughter is 44 now; lives in a waiver home 10 miles away; comes home every weekend and is a delight!

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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