Prior to getting pregnant a second time, the topic of how I’d plan a shower for the next baby came up, and I was baffled, maybe even offended (I was definitely offended), by the furrowed brows and matter-of-fact counsel which poured in from the mere mention of celebrating a second pregnancy to the extent which I had with my first.
Through these conversations, I became aware that, for some, second baby showers were out and lesser events called “sprinkles”, held for second, third, and so-on children, weren’t just in, they were the new social norm if you were greedy or even TACKY enough to have another celebration at all.
An event that I, and those I knew well, had always recognized as an assumed custom was being watered-down or altogether dismissed.
Yes, it’s true: many of the larger, more expensive, and less disposable first-baby items may still be around—the crib or a nursery swing—so, in turn, baby sprinkles generally have gift registries including essentials like clothes, toys, diapering items, and useful everyday items for mom and baby. My two-under-two reality, however, isn’t the same for all women. Having recently had a baby, I still have the big items, some of which are still set up.
Let’s consider for a moment the expectant mother whose most recent child is now in the double digits. What about the mom expecting a baby of a different sex than her last, or the woman who never had the opportunity to have a baby shower for other children?
Are women expected to hold onto and reuse everything, just in case we have another child? Should new lights be dimmed because one pregnancy has been celebrated already? If we miss the opportunity to celebrate, does social order permit us a make-up day?
My saving grace from the “sin of the second shower” could be that we are expecting the opposite sex this time around.
Perhaps, I got a pass because I am the vessel bringing forth the first granddaughter to both sides of our family. Was I on a sort of pedestal of protection from people voicing their disapproval to me?
As I planned, I toyed with the insecurities swirling around in my head:
- What are those who spoke down on another shower saying now that I’ve decided to have one?
- What did people say when they received another baby shower invitation from me in less than 2 years?
- Is this why I’ve received little to no offers for help with planning from those I expected it from?
To be fair, I also asked myself: Are you overthinking?
Overthinking comes instinctively to me, so this was a likely consideration, but after a significant amount of time spent researching “Attitudes Towards the Round-Two Baby Shower” on the internet, it seemed clear that my anxiety surrounding the issue wasn’t completely unfounded.
Even the construct of the baby sprinkle seems to be an almost self-incriminating event that makes an awkward statement to guests in advance that the host knows what they’re doing is unethical, but since it’s happening anyway, they apologize with a diluted event.
That, to me, is a pitiable and unfortunate social exchange.
I needed someone else’s opinion, so naturally, I went to my very closest friend who made a pretty clear point: “[People] have a birthday party every year expecting gifts, and likewise when Christmas comes around. It’s a celebration.”
It’s a celebration of life…
We’ve normalized celebrations for the 1st year of life and we continue to celebrate consecutively until death — hosting elaborate, themed parties for children who won’t remember the smash cake photo-ops or who attended. We honor milestone ages for adults turning 21, 30, 50, and 100 years old. Is the celebration of these moments really more significant or appropriate than the welcoming of these lives in the first place?
My aha moment had finally arrived…
No matter how old we grow, we learn and accommodate every step of the way while also holding onto our own truths and maintaining our values. Sometimes, however, other people’s views have a way of creeping in and shrouding our own, shaking us to the core — encouraging us to dim our light.
In the words that have been widely credited to Theodor Seuss Geisel:
“Do what you want to do, say what you want to say, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”Dr. Seuss, maybe?
Or in this case, those who mind and still show up will be there with their obligatory smile and gift in hand.
Now, I was at ease. No apologies. I wasn’t having a sprinkle. I wanted a shower, with all the fanfare. Hell, I would have had fireworks if possible. I’m having a baby, and that should be celebrated time and time again!
So, say what you’d like. It was a done deal, for me at least. And, my hope for any and every other mother second-guessing herself — whether she fosters, adopts, or is on her first or fifth baby — is that she decide to celebrate her children, too, each and every opportunity she gets.