This is NOT a post about my own situation, but about the underlying problem in our society. Something sweet we have experienced this time around is the care and love from unexpected places. The doctor I worked for up until the month before Baby Boy’s birth, and who I still see as a patient, totally changed his staff since last time. The atmosphere is so much more peaceful, plus these new girls, one who I got to know as a patient herself, got together with our Doc and the other practitioner to get us two gift bags of diapers, some new outfits, and a bunch of outfits handpicked from Salvation Army (that she then washed in allergy free detergent!). My hubby’s parents brought clothes and food after Baby Girl was born. My sis in law, who has her plate full with 4 sweet girls herself, made us roast and potatoes and brought cute onesies and even a toy for Baby Boy over. My sweet mentor, dear friend and mama-figure dropped everything and made a special, long trip to Wegmans for Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter for me and brought it over with more clothes and lots of love for both my babies. Our Pastor and his wife brought food and clothes and fellowship. I’ve been beyond blessed with the love surrounding our little family. Now to this crazy tradition…
I am puzzled and confused and, more-so, concerned about this ‘tradition’.
Why do we celebrate a couple’s first child? Why does everyone go crazy with gifts and showers and parties and milestones and waiting on pins and needles for baby to come and organize meal trains and special announcements, etc., etc., etc. – but only for the first one?
I noted this when my sister-in-laws were having their seconds (and third and fourth), and told my hubby about it, but I was too shy, too introverted to take any action regarding it. I wish I had. I wish I had organized some kind of get together, some kind of acknowledgement party/shower/sprinkle/something to show that my 2nd (3rd, 4th) niece/nephew was important, was a priority, was someone to be celebrated. I wish I had given my sister-in-laws something to write about in their 2nd baby’s baby books under the ‘My Shower’ category.
I am concerned with the way a large part of our society looks at babies and baby orders. I guess, in our I-do-what-I-want-no-matter-who-it-affects, pro-abortive society, I should be thankful that Baby #1 is even celebrated at all. But I don’t want to just settle for that. I want us to be better. I want us to do better. And I don’t mean spend outrageous amounts of money. I mean have a celebration, share in the joy of the 1st girl of the family, or the 4th boy, buy an outfit for the new baby, share food and encouragement and good advice. I want us to acknowledge and celebrate the beauty of each new life, whether 1st or 5th or 11th in the family. I hate that Moms and Dads have to feel defensive twinges of guilt or condemnation when people ask about the closeness in age of their children, or the number of children they have. (And the stupidest, most disrespectful comment people like to use – “Don’t you know what causes that?” should be something that turns into a physical object we could hit them with.)
I was shopping in Home Depot before Christmas getting a last minute gift for my hubby, looking very pregnant, while pushing my sweet boy in the stroller when a man, walking quickly down the main aisle of the store, stopped a few feet away from me and stared. He pointed at my belly and my son, then laughed hysterically after saying, “You have one there, and another one there, you’re going to have your hands FULL!!”, then quickly walked away laughing. I tried to brush it off, even though it made an impression on me. People are quick to judge and quick to say you can’t handle what you’ve been given. They’re quick to say you’re too young to have as many kids as you have. Or you’re too old to be having a baby now. There’s too many years between your kids. Or there’s too few. There really is no such thing as the perfect family.
And that realization made my day. According to the world, my kids will be too close together in age. According to me, even on the hard days, my little family is perfect. I have a strong, hard-working, funny, fun, loving husband who willingly does anything for us. I have the sweetest, cutest, cuddliest, fun little boy on the planet. I have a precious new baby girl, who melts my heart just looking at her and has been the best baby (don’t mind my biases). 😉 I have been immeasurably blessed. My little family is perfect.
So, just as mine is, your little/big family is perfect too. I’m sorry if no one acknowledged your sweet second baby, or your 11th, whatever precious number you have. Each of your littles deserved a celebration. And no matter their ages now, your commitment to and unconditional love for them celebrates them daily, Mama. <3