I have a confession to make: I never finished writing thank-you notes for my guests after my baby shower. To be fair, I had a pretty good excuse: post-natal psychosis rendered me barely able to function, let alone craft individual cards for my loved ones. But serious illness aside, even for mums who experience a less dramatic initiation to motherhood, writing thank you cards when you're knee deep in nappies and sleep deprivation can seem like an all-too-difficult task.
That's why when I heard what a woman at a mum-to-be's baby shower said, I may have let out a little fist-pump.
"At my baby shower yesterday," Laura Turner wrote on Twitter, "one woman said, before I started opening gifts, 'Can we give you the gift of no thank-you notes?'"
As her guests let out a collective gasp, Ms Tuner adds, "I DIED, and now I'm going to be that lady at every shower I go to."
At my baby shower yesterday, one woman said, before I started opening gifts, “Can we give you the gift of no thank-you notes?” And everyone gasped and I DIED and now I’m going to be that lady at every shower I go to.— Laura Turner (@lkoturner) April 15, 2018
"Wait - gasped in a good way?" one tweeter asked. "Or gasped in like, a horrified way?"
"Very good," Ms Turner replied. "Like WHY haven't we all thought of this already?"
The expectant mama's tweet has since gone viral, with women around the world determined to pay it forward with their own friends and family.
One even called the gesture "feminist badassery!"
I’m so all for this. I will be that lady at every shower from here on out— Michelle Akin (@MichelleAkin) April 15, 2018
Yes! For me, this is a must for new moms. You have far more important things to do in the next year of your life! Please do not send a thank you note for any baby gift I ever give you.— Bethany HallFitelson (@bfitelson) April 15, 2018
This could become an international movement. Spread the word.— Michael Balter (@mbalter) April 15, 2018
Others shared that they still carry the guilt of not having sent their thank-you cards, years down the track.
Yes!!!! I got my thank you notes sent out prior to birth but once my son was born I don’t know what came from who or how to even write by hand anymore. I still feel shame about those. It’s also why I did a no gift 1st birthday party.— Stef #ThrowThemOut 🐝🐝🐝 (@FlyStefMcD) April 16, 2018
I am still carrying the shame of not having done baby shower thank you notes. My excuse is that I had the shower post-birth, so no one with a functioning adult brain lived at my address. Which is to say: that woman is a hero.— Irina Dumitrescu (@irinibus) April 15, 2018
My kid's about to graduate high school, and the baby gift thank you notes still tries to creep up on my shame register periodically. Let it go. (My gift to you all, twitter strangers!)— Annissa (@IDreamOnDemand) April 15, 2018
But not everyone felt the same way. Some commenters lamented the lost art of letter writing in favour of texts and emails, while others said they'd still send cards - no matter what.
Having been a mom twice, I get this. However I think we're losing the art of note-writing and thank yous. DMs and texts are not the same. I get extraordinary feedback on handwritten notes. Connecting in meaningful ways needed more than ever. Perhaps new moms get a pass.— Rhonda Bannard (@rhondabannard) April 15, 2018
I'd still end up writing the thank you notes. My conscience would haunt me in any case and they're not hard to write.— Margaret Anscombe (@MissAnscombe) April 15, 2018
As always, it comes down to personal preference. If writing thank-you notes is something that's important to you and a tradition you'd like to uphold then go for it. But let's not expect it of the new mums in our lives. I certainly plan to pay this gesture forward at the next baby shower I go to. Because having one less thing to worry about in that hazy, exhausting, terrifying, wonderful time immediately after baby is born, can make all the difference.
As one mum said: "I tell all new mums to skip the note and use that five minutes to nap."