There are way too many jabs about weddings being the end if your independence. There are bachelor parties and bachelorette parties that are equally horrible, and no I don't consider that a mark up for the women's movement. I have to admit I did enjoy the last bachelorette party I was at and it was a stripper-filled sex toy adventure, but it was a lot of affirmation too, we were in my apartment and went around talking about the bride-to-be and how she was cool and she did the same for us and was very appreciative and that part was nice. There was no "mourning the loss of the single status". I think in some ways bachelor parties miss out on that even more... I don't know many men who want to go around the circle affirming one another and there are definitely a million wedding cards dedicated to the idea that his life is ENDING because he's taking on this boat anchor of a wife.
Now a baby... that's a boat anchor. I mean I'm looking forward to ours and everything but I know it could bring on some challenges when it comes to going out and hitting the bars. Gotta find a sitter, gotta not be too sleep-deprived to party, gotta have some money left over after the diapers are bought. But the mood changes, nobody jokes about how you won't be fun anymore because you have a baby. Nobody's hiring strippers (although... my baby shower is yet to come, who knows what could happen). Maybe it's because the loss of independence hits a little too close to home?
What you do get before a baby comes is advice. Almost every shower I've been to has gotten to it, either formally or informally. And you get friends, who say you can call on them if it's a bad day or you're at your wits end or have no idea what to do.
Marriage advice? If you get any at all, it's from the preacher as he's marrying you, he takes that three minutes he's allowed to talk about what's on his mind and tells you things that are supposed to get you through the rest of your life. Baby is for 18 years, marriage is for life. Baby grows and changes all the time, marriage troubles don't go away. Baby you can leave at grandma's for a weekend, marriage is like a river that you're always swimming in, you're the one who has to make it work.
What it's got me thinking is that bachelor/bachelorette parties need to be more about advice and support, less about teasing you for getting married. I really like being married. People told me it'd be "work" and so far I don't agree, but it takes some knowledge and observation and thinking. And it's nice to have friends who support you in it and embrace your decision to be married, and like your spouse and want to include him in your lives. I feel like I'm lucky to be having a baby, equally lucky to be in a good marriage, and both things are worth celebrating and affirming instead of looking back and thinking about what could be lost.