In the last year I have been invited to many baby showers. At least four. And, interestingly enough, all of them were for subsequent babies. That is, not the mother’s first.
Now, in one case, it was the mother’s first baby with her new husband, and she’d gotten rid of all her baby stuff years earlier, thinking she might not have another. I got that. It was a “new situation” for her.
But the rest…were just second- or third-time moms under ordinary circumstances.
I grew up being told, “You only get a shower for your first baby. After that, you ought to have all the big stuff, and you should buy whatever you need yourself.” That’s the attitude I got when I was pregnant with my second! No one threw me a shower or brought me any presents. No one even mentioned that I might have or want one. No, showers just were not for second-time moms.
So, imagine having heard this (and honestly I felt a little hurt…I didn’t get anything for having another baby??), and then getting invited to several showers for other peoples’ second babies. My first reaction was, admittedly, that’s selfish. I didn’t get anything. Why do they need people to buy THEM things?
Is that mean? But, I was hurt. None of my friends or family felt that I deserved anything (not even a small gift after the baby was born), but they all got entire parties to celebrate their pregnancies and babies?? (To be fair, some family members did bring us gifts after Daniel was born. But only family.)
Now, though…I do think that all babies should be celebrated, somehow. I don’t think it’s fair to have a big shower, where you ask for big-ticket items for number two (I mean…if you were having a girl the first time and decided to go all pink on your crib, bouncer, car seat, stroller…that’s your problem. Use them for your new little boy, or take them to a resale shop and trade them in for boy or gender-neutral stuff). But I do think it’s nice to have a small party, where people bring you cute little outfits, blankets, diapers, etc. Small items that are nice to have for every baby!
If you don’t like that, I’ve been to some showers where people did some pretty unique things. Some created scrapbook pages for the mother-to-be, so she could later stick in pictures of the baby and have special memories. Some had us decorate onesies or t-shirts for the baby. Some had us make blankets or quilts for the baby. I’ve heard all kinds of cool ideas! These are special ways to celebrate a baby’s birth without putting a financial burden on your guests, too (which you should consider when all your friends are also having babies!).
Another way to celebrate a baby is by taking the mom-to-be out to dinner in the weeks before her baby comes. I attended a “Mom’s Night” just two days before my son was born. It wasn’t set up to celebrate me, per se, but it was so nice to have one last quiet evening with friends before I had a newborn again. Another friend specifically invited several of us to join her for dinner a couple weeks before her baby was due. It was a really nice, low-key way to celebrate.
It’s really important that we support all pregnant women, whether it’s their first baby, second, or fifth. Babies are not any less special because they are not the first. Although this really touches on another topic entirely, we have a tendency to “ignore” later babies (that aren’t our own). When a woman is pregnant the first time — “Wow! Awesome! How can I help you? How are you feeling? When’s your shower?” But by the time she’s having #3, or #4, or even more…the comments turn to, “Wow, you must have your hands full. Do you know what causes that? Are you sure you really want another one? I sure hope the new baby doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.” That’s rude!
All babies are special. All deserve to be celebrated and welcomed in some way. All deserve to be cherished. They are all special, brand-new people, no matter what their birth order.
Do you have, or attend, subsequent baby showers? What do you think about celebrating babies?
Top image by zAppledot