Adapted from a recent online discussion.
It’s your life. “No, thanks” is never petty.
Normally I’d say that baby showers are different, and that involving people in celebrations can be an early step in creating a community for your child, but this is different. You’re still at a point where your mother-in-law is in control, you make no mention of where your husband is in all this, and a baby is about to make any mother-in-law boundary problems exponentially worse.
So, my advice here is to take it up with your husband. Not just the shower, but the whole “anger issues when anyone says no to her” thing. He needs to be willing to serve as the protective wall between his young family and her issues. Is he? If not, it’s counseling or marriage seminar time, to allow a disinterested third party to explain the perils of not making each other your mutual priority.
Just a side note about creating a sense of community, had it been applicable here: These celebrations needn’t be gift-shakedowns, but can instead be traditional showers but the gifts are donations for needy moms; or favorite-children’s-book showers; or best-advice-I-ever-got showers; whatever sits right.
Oh, gosh, no — I swear the population would double if new parents didn’t have to run the gantlet of unsolicited advice.
OK, maybe not double, but I’ve never had anyone report they were delighted by all the advice they got; all reports have been of how annoying and intrusive and persistent it is, this societal impulse to coach new parents.
And, you might want to stay in your cabin until your baby’s an adult, because the advice flow isn’t diminishing anytime soon. (Was that part unsolicited?)