While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On resisting events that make you the center of attention:
I'd like to offer a win-win solution to the problem of a shy woman who would rather not have wedding or baby showers: Advise people to throw the showers for the groom or father-to-be! He is also getting married, and he is also having a baby. Where are the parties for him? His parents' friends would no doubt enjoy wishing well the little boy they've known and/or heard about since childhood as he embarks on these new challenges. In an era of ever-increasing gender equality, this is an idea whose time has come. If he would rather opt out, then that's between him and the host — not the host and his wife.
It is understandable that it is difficult for someone shy to make small talk, but to refuse bridal or baby showers is to say she's not interested in getting to know her husband's relatives or enlarging her network of friends, who could be very helpful to new couples or parents.
Even though I agree her husband should be supportive, perhaps she should be more supportive of his wanting more personal contact with friends and relatives.
If she is so averse to meeting new people or having casual conversations with anyone who is not already close to her, I also see a life of potential isolation for her child. Will she avoid the PTA because she doesn't want to meet other moms? Will her child be kept out of Little League or soccer because Mom is uncomfortable around strangers and doesn't want to talk to anyone on the bleachers?
Shyness can be overcome, or at least mitigated with help and support from her husband and perhaps some counseling. Young mom and her entire family will benefit if she works to be more open and accepting.
She Needs to Lighten Up