The following was actually a comment sent in reply to one of the blog posts. It so succinctly addresses so many issues why people feel a mother should be entitled to multiple baby showers that I decided to respond to it specifically.
Point 1) Uh. Since when is it ‘wrong’ to throw a shower for a second baby?
Uh…it’s been in etiquette books for decades. And baby showers per se are fairly “recent” in US history. Try finding any example of baby showers prior to 1900. The ladies magazines of that era and before do not address baby showers because they often were not done. Amazingly, babies have been happily born into families for thousands of years deprived of special parties and heaps of material goods. And you’ll discover reading the Ehell forum that not every country or culture has showers of any kind yet somehow these babies are received into families with plenty of love.
An important rite of passage into adulthood and specifically parenthood is the ability to financially support oneself and a family. A baby shower for the first infant in a family can provide the new parents with the basic needs to prepare for parenthood. But a shower of gifts is not a right one is owed merely because a sperm and ovum happen to have conjoined. The problem is the attitude of defiant entitlement reeking from every jot and tittle of your comments.
Point 2) Since when is the second baby less awesome than the first? Or less in need of stuff? New baby equipment and safety stuff is coming out all the time, improving the quality of life for moms and tots, and I can’t see how it could ever be a BAD thing?
I doubt the second, third or fourth babies will care that their “awesomeness” is not celebrated with a bunch of new material possessions they will never remember. Shame on parents who continue to conceive and bear children they cannot afford to keep in safe, new equipment so they have an expectation that their friends and family will cough it up for them. Nothing is stopping YOU from purchasing gifts for your family and friends but you would be in a serious breach of etiquette if you encouraged them to think they are entitled to receiving new equipment for each new baby via a shower.
Point 3) I have -never- heard of a second baby shower being wrong. Ever. Why the hell shouldn’t a woman feel special every time she has a baby? Hell, I have no babies, but I have a lot of friends with them, and I’ll go on throwing parties for each one.
Your ignorance of etiquette does not negate the fact that the etiquette does exist. From a 02/28/2010 Miss Manners column:
DEAR MISS MANNERS — I have been invited to a baby shower for a friend’s second child. The first one is just turning 2 years old. I always thought baby showers were for your first child and you used the baby items again for your second child. To me it seems they are begging for gifts. My daughter claims this is the norm these days. What is your opinion?
GENTLE READER — That your daughter is right: Begging for gifts is normal these days. It is also vulgar, of course. You are also right that baby showers are supposed to be for the expectation of a baby’s appearing in a household not already over-run with baby equipment.
But Miss Manners makes an exception for an informal gathering of the expectant mother’s close friends who are moved to make a fuss over her a second — or fifth — time. However, the plea that a more formal gathering for the lady’s entire acquaintance, complete with those detestable gift registries, would enable the guest of honor to parcel out her shopping is not charming.
Ooo! Vulgar! Begging! Detestable registries! I love how Miss Manners doesn’t mince her words.
Why must a party celebrating the birth of the second and third baby focus on the acquisition of material goods? What is preventing you from hosting a celebratory party in honor of the baby’s birth and leave out the gift giving? Friends of mine hosted a “shower” for my second child (a different gender from the firstborn, btw) which had yummy food but no gifts. Instead we all learned infant CPR by a trained Red Cross volunteer.