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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Touchy Topic Tuesday- Second Baby Showers (and beyond!)

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Touchy Topic Tuesday
Second Baby Showers (and beyond!)

Just this year, I have had nine friends become new mothers. Out of those nine, 7 of them are first time moms. 

Nearly all of them had baby showers. Some of them invited me, some lived too far away. 

Several months ago, I asked a friend of mine, who was having her second baby, if she were going to have a baby shower.  It was going to be a boy, and her first was a girl. She responded with an incredulous look on her face, "Why would I do that?! I already had one, and I have everything I need." I blinked back stupidly and then changed the subject. 

Still, this attitude bothers me. Now, it's not the first time I've encountered it. I discussed the situation in length during my two most recent pregnancies (birth boards are once again to blame.) 

I had a baby shower with my first- a girl. There was lunch, lots of friends, and presents wrapped in pink.

I had my second baby- a boy, in July just 15 months later. I had two lovely friends who, while on a girls night out for gellato one night, asked if I would like a baby shower. I knew very well that some people thought of this type of thing as inappropriate. People are "supposed" to have one baby shower, and then, supposedly, they have everything they could ever need, and from there on, no one is "obligated" to give them anything. So, I tried to be vague in my answer: "Well, I had one with Lilly, already...a party would be fun..." They exchanged glances, and the conversation turned. 

See, the thing is, I had hoped for a shower. First off, I HAD stuff...but things like the crib were still being used by my daughter, who was just 15 months old when my son was born. Also, though I had carefully washed and folded and tucked away all of Lilly's new born clothes, I was not having another girl. I literally didn't even have a single onesie to pass down to my new baby boy. It wasn't as though we were poor- we were doing fine. But getting ready for a baby is still expensive. I still went and threw it out of my mind. 

One night, though, one of the girls who had asked about the shower picked me up and we headed over to the other lady's house to pick her up for a movie night. As we drove up, I noted the dozens of cars lining the street. It was nearly July, so I figured someone was having a barbecue. Nice weather and all. But when we walked into her house, I heard the chorus of "surprise!" echo through her living room. Every woman from my church was there.  They had blue virgin pina coladas, and mini cheesecakes and presents galore! I wasn't expecting it, and it was wonderful! 

I didn't have any showers with my third or my fourth babies, and I wasn't expecting any. But, given the chance to have one, I wouldn't have turned it down. 

You see, my 3rd baby reused my oldest daughter's crib, and the carseat that the other two used. But she was born in January while my first was born in late spring. None of the clothes I had saved would fit her at the time she needed. 

With my 4th, well, pretty much everything needed to be replaced. Out of the two cribs we had, one ended up broken in a move, and the other had a drop side and had been recalled by the company that made it. The car seat that survived all of our previous 3 children in perfect shape, had expired. Our  exersaucer had sustained serious damage, and our swing had a short in it, so even replacing batteries didn't make it swing. On top of that, Teague was born in January, not July, like Mahone, so none of his clothes would work for the new  baby. We had to get new EVERYTHING. 

I found, in my lengthy birth-board conversations about baby showers, that first time moms were the ones who harbored the hostility for multiple baby showers. They felt that 

1. It's rude to ask for one. 
        I COMPLETELY AGREE!!!  But it's rude to ask anyone for a baby shower even if it's your first baby. However, I don't think it's wrong at all if, you mom or sister or friend or someone offers and asks if they can. In fact, I kind of think it's rude to shut them down. 

2. If you've had a baby already, you have everything you need. 
         There's a few problems with this. We've already discussed the issue, above, of the possibility of the opposite sex being born second (or third or fourth. I know plenty of moms who had, say, 3 girls and then out of the blue, a boy- they had PLENTY of girl stuff, and not a stitch of boy stuff!) and of babies, same sex or not, being born at opposite times of the year, when passed down clothes are not appropriate for the given seasons. I also think that first time moms look at pristine little outfits, sheets, socks, burp cloths, and furniture and don't understand the magnificent stains that can happen in a split second due to spit up and blowouts. They don't understand that, at some point or another, things will break. They see beautiful baby things, and imagine they will stay that way.

           Also, there seems to be an impression that all the gifts are big ol' things, and that the guests to your shower are going to surprise you with such wonderful things as a Pottery Barn crib, the changing table, a bouncer AND a swing, those awesome "travel sets" that include a stroller AND a carseat, the 80.00 sheet, bumper, quilt and mobile set you registered for, top of the line breast pumps, plus, a darling outfit per person. 

            The truth to this myth is that none of this will ever happen. I have 4 sets of parents- my parents and Brandon's 3 sets, and while they all spoiled us with cute clothes for our children, the "biggest" gift we received was a baby jogger from my mother- which was AWESOME! And Brandon's 4 aunts pulled together and bought us our first exersaucer. But there was no crib, or car seat, or stroller, and while I received sheets, they were not the designer ones from Babies R Us, they were a 3 pack from a regular store. PLEASE do NOT mistake this reality for me being ungrateful. As a matter of fact, I was very happy with those things. (I still use those very sheets on my now 1 year old's crib mattress nearly 7 years later!!!) I'm just saying that you can register all you want, but people are not going to buy you a 700.00 crib, they're not going to spend 80.00 on a top of the line swing,  or any other extravagant thing. Mostly, they'll bring cute outfits, bibs, blankets, butt paste, maybe some diapers, and shoes- because who do YOU know that can resist tiny size 0 shoes small enough to fit, the pair of them, in the palm of your 5 year old's hands. You can have 5 baby showers and, really, YOU will still end up buying all the "big" stuff. 

3. No one should feel obligated to bring you a gift a second time. 
          ...And....they should feel obligated to give you a gift the FIRST time? This is a stupid argument. No one should feel obligated to give you a gift PERIOD. This means that, first shower or 10th shower, if they don't like it, they don't have to come. Likewise, YOU should not EXPECT gifts. 


When it comes down to it, I feel like this: We don't tell our children "You had a birthday party when you turned one year old. You can never have a birthday party again. You already have everything you need, and we don't want anyone to ever feel obligated to give you anything." and we don't tell our second or beyond children "You can't EVER have a party because your older sibling already had a party, and you are just not as important as the first. You can have what your sibling had, because it's all we need." - baby showers work the same way, and I feel like every baby deserves a party. Even if you decide to  request that guests don't bring gifts, go for it and have a party. Enjoy your friends, and celebrate. But if someone offers to throw you a shower, take it! 

I can tell you one thing- when my sister and my sisters in law start having kids, I'm going to throw a shower for every single pregnancy. Because it's fun. It's fun for those throwing it, and it's fun for the mommy. And like I said earlier, EVERY baby deserves a celebration. 
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So, let us know how YOU feel about this. Is one shower enough? Or would you take another shower if given the option? Do you think it's selfish or rude to have a second shower? What is your opinion on the way baby-shower etiquette goes? (And scroll down to enter the flash giveaway! Ends tonight!)

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

No, everyone should be given a shower or sprinkle or just something with every child! It is HARD work having kids and each one should be celebrated.
I have three children and was given one shower for my 3rd child. Some friends and family told me they would throw one for our daughter (the very 1st grand child on both sides) and then no-one followed through...it was sad and hurt my feelings. My mother in law still harbors hatred towards me for eloping with her son and not inviting her so she sort of purposefully "forgot" to send out the invitations I bought and gave her. Seems like people are just selfish and rude these days, no-one cares for anyone but themselves anymore or just maybe all the people I know are that way.
I could go on and on LOL. I felt blessed for getting to have a shower with my third, even if I did not get the things we needed, it was nice to feel loved and cared about. I registered for only needs and not one thing was bought off of my registries! Are registries dead? IDK but I was a bit miffed when my sister in law handed me a bag with things that nobody having a baby would need with the comment that I only registered for boring things that were no fun. This was the person that loudly complained that the stroller and car seat set she received at her 1st child's shower was the wrong style and color! This was the person who also said she would throw me a shower with my 1st and then did nothing at all, she did not even make an effort to come to the hospital and I am talking about christian people here or at least they claim to be but she has been nothing but selfish and rude to me for no reason.
Okay I better stop my rant LOL. But seriously, if I find out someone is having a baby I send a meal and a gift regardless of how well I know them.

AMBER EDWARDS said...

I feel the same Brae; every baby is a blessing and needs to be celebrated! Before I had kids, I didn't think much about baby showers for the 2nd or 3rd pregnancy because well..that' just wasn't done in our "culture" area. Not that there was something bad about it, just that no one ever did it. Looking back on it now, It makes me quite sad!

I had a baby shower with my 1st baby. My MIL and SIL put it on for me. I was SO grateful! I got a few of smaller items that I'd need. A few onsies, 1-2 outfits, a few blankets, diapers, etc. Definitely nothing big. But it was all very helpful and very much needed to give us a start on collecting all that is needed for a baby.

I didn't have a baby shower with my 2nd baby, simply because it just wasn't done in our new area that we lived in. I felt a little sad, because like you said; My first was born in Jan where my 2nd was born in May. Almost nothing from the first child worked with the 2nd child due to the wrong season. Plus all the "big" stuff we got with the first one, was purchased from a thrift store, and had fallen apart by the time the 2nd child came along.

Our third child, we DID have a baby shower for. I was SO grateful. Again, we lived in yet ANOTHER location (thank you Military). Thankfully in this area they did believe in baby showers for EVERY pregnancy! And it was much needed as I didn't keep any baby stuff from the 1st or 2nd baby due to all their items worn out, holes, and fallen apart. Plus, my 3rd baby was a girl, born in the fall (the 1st 2 were boys). We had to start all over again collecting baby stuff. Again, i didn't get any "BIG" items, just the usual diapers, onsies, a few outfits, a few receiving blankets, a few toys, etc, but all of which were greatly needed and appreciated.

Now we are discussing the possibility of having any more kids, and I can see a need in the future as well, seeing as I don't have any boy items any longer, and my girl items will only work if our baby was born in the Summer. Plus the fact that our car seat expired, and many items from our daughter have already worn out.

So I have to say I completely agree with you! And as always, It's always a great reason for a Party, presents or no presents! A baby should be celebrated!

LyonsLady said...

i agree with the asking but i think others should ask the new mommy's and not put them in a place like that...i have been to several baby showers not knowing the new mommy but it did not matter they were mainly poor and needed help with the things they needed...all were a JOY to be a part of...

Kimberly B. said...

I had baby showers with all three of my kids. All of these baby showers were a surprise. I love my kids equally and all should be celebrated!

Kathy said...

Great post! I have 6 children and had showers for some and none for others. And like you, some gifts I received were cute and useless for real life purposes and others were great...like the Costco boxes of wipes.
Now that my children are older, I view showers as an opportunity for us older moms to mentor the younger moms and to have a party! And those us us who are not expecting or lactating get to drink all of the wine!

Natasha and Ethan said...

I think you should have two baby showers total. One for each sex. As I only have a boy and a girl, I am not sure what I would do if I got pregnant again and somebody offered to throw me a shower. I would probably say yes and then only invite my REALLY close friends.

I believe that if you are on your third+ (assuming you already have one of each sex) baby, the people that really want to give you a gift, will give you one. I usually bring dinner one night after they come home from the hospital. When I do that, I bring some diapers and an outfit or something. That way it is all up to me to choose if I bring a gift or not. The reality is, if you go to a baby shower, you are obligated to bring a gift. Nobody goes to a shower without one.

I do know someone now that is having her second boy and is throwing herself a shower, she is sending out links for where she is registered and all that. To me, that is just tacky. It makes me feel she is selfish and I absolutely do not want to get her anything because of it.

Anonymous said...

I am preggo with number 3 and I was always wondering if it was tacky to do another baby shower. If they kinda are a shower to welcome and e happy for you then do it. if ppl come with gifts great.
andrea
andreaw97@yahoo.com

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