Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Every Child Deserves Celebration, Not Just The First

We've all heard the "rule".  You're not supposed to have a baby shower for any baby other than your first.  It's considered rude, or tacky, or something like that.

I've never really understood this rule because it assumes two things:

A) People don't want to give you a gift for your new baby if you've already had one.
and
B) It's impossible for people to celebrate the birth of your new child without giving gifts.


The problem I have with this that I personally cannot resist giving gifts to my friends when they have new babies, whether that baby is their first, sixth or twentieth.  I mean, who among you can walk by the infant clothing section in any store and not stop and look for just a second.  It's miniature clothing people!  Furthermore, to bring a child into the world is an incomparable honor, and to have the opportunity (gift or no gift) to share in that joy with the ones I love is a thrill.

But the biggest problem I have with the rule is that when spoken in casual conversation without clarifying or putting into context, it flippantly makes the insinuation that the child-to-be is somehow not worth celebrating, because they're "just another one".


You can imagine that as mama to four girls, I ran into this quite a bit.  I suppose people are relaxing somewhat, much to Little Miss Etiquette's chagrin, because I did have showers for each of my girls.  But still, especially by my fourth I had a very hard time shaking the fear that people somehow felt that my Princess #4 deserved less of a celebration.

Pregnant mamas are already on an emotional roller coaster.  Not only is their body not their own, they are tired, bloated and constantly hungry.  They worry over things beyond their control, both concrete and abstract.  The health of the baby, the pain of delivery, how their first born will handle a new baby, how they will handle a new baby.  Will there be enough love to go around?


Ladies, if you have a friend who is pregnant with her second, sixth or twentieth baby, PLEASE do not add to her fears and let her wonder whether or not you feel her soon to be child is worth celebrating.

This is not necessarily a call to throw a full blown baby shower.  Celebrations do not have to be over the top.  Keep it simple, intimate and meaningful.  Here are a few ways that you can show love to your friends expecting another baby:

Host a Sip 'n See after the baby is born.  
Unlike the traditional shower that is held before the baby arrives, a Sip 'n See is perfect for the second baby because it is not held until the babe is in arms.  The main purpose is for friends and family to come and literally see the baby for the first time.  A coming out party if you will.  The host can serve beverages and light appetizers or finger foods, and no gifts are required.  It's just a chance for a community of friends to shower love on the newest member.


Collect donations for a money tree.  
Many times, when a family expands from 3 to 4 (or more), although many of the basics are already covered, there are some things they may find they need that they didn't when they only had one: like a double stroller for example.  Gear like that can be pricey, and sometimes rather than giving a 2nd time mom more onesies and blankets, a large cash sum or gift card might be more appreciated, so it can go towards what is really needed.  Taking donations from your circle of friends can be an easy way to show support, without having to go to the effort of organizing a big event.


Throw a diaper shower. 
This is always an appreciated favorite among moms.  With my first, I think I would have been a *teeny* bit disappointed if I only got diapers at my shower (yes, I know that's bratty.  haha), but when I had my third and my office surprised me with a diaper shower, I was overjoyed.  We didn't have to buy diapers for six months!  That's HUGE people!  A diaper shower can be a fun way to celebrate the birth of the baby, satisfy people's desire to bring a gift and yet still be practical and useful.   Just make sure you know whether or not mom is cloth diapering, so you can specify which sort of diaper to bring.


Organize meals.
By the time my fourth was born, this was my most appreciated gift.  Having hot, fresh meals provided to us for two weeks following her birth was a God send, especially since I was recovering from a difficult delivery.  Like the money tree, going this route does not require a big event, but does take some organization.  Luckily, there are websites to help with that.  CaringMeals.com allows you to coordinate and execute the delivery of meals to a postpartum family.


Most of us (especially mothers), I think, naturally believe that every child is worth celebrating.  But after the first, with busy lives of our own, I think it's sometimes easy to fall into the trap of taking another pregnancy in stride.  It's easy to fail to act.  We may have good intentions, but before you know it the baby is here and life goes on.  Be the friend that insists on showing it.  Take some initiative and shower love on babe and mama-to-be.  It will be much appreciated, I promise.

My dear friends, did you have anyone who took the time to shower love on your second, third, etc. baby?  What experiences have you had with baby showers?  Any other ideas for celebrating a birth?

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8 comments:

  1. I agree 100%. I was lucky enough to have friends who celebrated each of my babies-- and I am so grateful. There's no such thing as 'just another baby.'

    love you. m

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  2. OMG you must have read my mind! I am pregnant with my second and everyone just assumes that since this is our second we don't need another shower. It breaks my heart that no one is celebrating this baby like they did my first (other than my husband and I of course!). I think this was a great post and thanks for sharing!

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  3. I absolutely agree that each child should be celebrated! I was shocked (and slightly offended) when I was pregnant with my second child (a girl, 4 years after my son!) and there were comments about NOT having a shower...not only should every child be celebrated but it was 4 years later AND a different sex so it's not like I could just use all of my sons stuff! :) My friends had a "sprinkle" for me and it was just a small group of us, some food, a few gifts, etc. and I was thrilled! I LOVE the idea of a diaper shower...you ALWAYS need diapers! :)

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  4. Aw, that makes me sad for you.  I think people just don't realize what sort of message it sends.  It can really hurt a mama's feelings!

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  5. A sprinkle is great - not over the top or anything.  But special for THAT baby.  Which is exactly what a mama needs.  I'm glad your friends did that for you.  :)

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  6. I hear ya! I always thought that "rule" was so dumb. Heck, with my first pregnancy I could afford to buy all the bells and whistles myself. By the time I got to number three though I sure would have appreciated a pack of diapers.

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  7. I agree every child should be celebrated but I'll admit I followed the 'rule'.  That being said I LOVE the Sip n See idea.  Thanks sooo much for sharing.  What  a thoughtful post.

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  8. I agree, every child should be celebrated!!

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