Sunday, October 17, 2010

On Subsequent Showers

When you see a newborn baby, can you tell, by looking just at the baby, what that baby's birth order was?  No, you really can't.
Not even at 3 months

When I was pregnant with my second child, and excited about my upcoming shower, a usually very nice woman looked at me, aghast, and said "you don't get to have a shower for your second baby.  That's just wrong.  Showers are for first babies."  She proceeded to go on about how second showers are greedy and in poor taste.

If felt like getting slapped, and I have to say, took a lot of enjoyment out of my baby shower, the following weekend.  It upset me so much that I still feel punched in the gut about it and my baby is nearly a year and a half old.  Of course, when I said "my daughter is 10 years old, we have no baby stuff, and I never had a shower when I was pregnant for her, so what, then I just don't get one ever?" she backpedaled, a little.  She did add "well, if you didn't invite anyone who may have sent a gift for her, I guess it's alright."

No. It's not alright.  It's good, and wonderful, and exciting.

Showers are celebrations of the coming life and ways for communities of friends and family to come together to meet the needs of the soon-to-be-born baby and lift the spirits of the tired mother, presumably in her third trimester, or as more and more often done, the exhausted new mother.

Even women whose children are born less than 2 years apart are likely to have given away much of their newborn gear to a friend or relative, if one is inclined to use sposies, they're always in need, as are things like wipes and other non-renewable things.

In about two hours, I'm heading to a baby shower, for a second baby, of a dear friend of mine.  This baby will be some 5 years younger than her brother. I know for a fact that this mother has given away most of her baby gear since the birth of her son, as we rocked her co-sleeper and Boppy, are still rocking her high-chair, and lots and lots of other baby paraphernalia, and we weren't the first fortunate recipients of her son's hand-me-downs.  Yet, when I tweeted that my friend was having a shower the other day, some people started in with the "subsequent showers are greedy" script.

No. They are not greedy.

In this case, the mom didn't run out and register for all the things she wants, and the friend hosting sent out a low key invitation asking for loved but lovable hand-me-downs.  Me? I made a quilt similar to the one I made for her big brother five years ago. I might also be bringing some prefolds, because lets face it, every house needs them, even when you're planning on going sposie.  My mom plans to bring some zinc oxide butt cream and some icky nasty sposies, just like she would for a first baby's shower. Why?  Because the people who say that gifting a subsequent child and preparing for their birth is selfish have missed the point.  It's not about how many times you give to a specific family, whether the second or the fifth child. It's about being there for the mom, supporting and welcoming the kidlets to come.

There is no law saying that because you went in to buy the $300 stroller and carseat combo last time that you have to spend as much for a second child, maybe $15 on a sweater and hat or $5 on a new pack of bibs, a sweet lovey/skullie or maybe even a little baby sized sock monkey. I prefer handmade myself, but this isn't about me.  It's about welcoming and preparing for a new baby.  You can even bring something small for the older sibling. It's all good.  Show up, spread the love. That's the point.

So before you get all irritable the next time you hear someone is having a second, or a third, or a fourth baby shower, remember, there are always things, even small inexpensive things, like infant nail clippers which retail for $1.50, which will make the family more ready for the baby, and give everyone a great opportunity to get together and send a strong message of support to the mother.

Hate the "stuff" part of showers but want to support a mom who really does have everything?  Why not give her a Blessing Way instead of a shower?  None of the naysayers can effectively argue that heaping blessings on a mama is selfish and inappropriate.

5 reflections:

Amy said...

Wow. I had no idea that was a feeling with people. I mean, really? I equate that with "you can only have birthday gifts on your first birthday! Anything else is just greedy!"

It's about the celebration of the upcoming life as much as its a "gimme stuff for the baby" party.

of course, I'm coming up on my third child - 15 years after my last one was born. And I'm sure someone will wind up throwing me a baby shower. I'd sure hate to be looked at as greedy - even if I am asking all of my friends and family with babies outgrowing things to save me as much as they can since we're starting over from scratch.

Erin said...

I was given grief for holding a baby shower for my second child too. My kids are 4 years apart in age and I had almost NOTHING from when Gracie was a baby.

I knew that I would be having Kairi right after tax time, so I would be able to buy the big items and wouldn't need to ask for help with that. So instead, I asked for the little stuff: nail clippers, hats, socks, onesies, outfits, receiving blankets... NO bottles! Of course I ended up getting a number of bottles regardless of my request otherwise (all of which are still sitting in my cabinet unopened) but I felt like by asking for the smaller stuff that it was okay, despite the naysayers arguments to the contrary.

I hate hearing that second showers are selfish. I feel like it's saying that because this baby isn't the first, it's not as important.

Erin said...

As an added note - for my second shower, I mostly just wanted to get together with my friends and celebrate that I was having another child. I had several friends who told me they weren't coming because they couldn't afford a gift and I told them all that their presence was more important than their presents and to come anyway. It was a big success.

melinda3443 said...

I agree.. I don't think there is a single thing wrong with it! Heck.. I don't see a thing wrong with having a shower for every baby! Who cares.. you need stuff for every baby and it's a reason to celebrate with your friends and family! We are TTC our 4th child.. 2nd together and it will be about 4 1/2 years younger then Jake.. but I fully plan.. or hope to.. have a baby shower.. my family didn't live close to us before so didn't get to shower us when we were expecting Jake.. plus I gave away most of our baby gear! Ahh who the heck cares.. if ya don't want to buy a gift.. don't come.. or don't buy a gift.. sheesh! :P

Kristine said...

To me, it's indicative of a bigger issue. People are assholes.