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Monday, April 08, 2013

Motherhood Mondays: How I changed my mind about baby showers

When I was pregnant with Toby, I initially didn't want to have a baby shower...

Would it be self-indulgent to have a shower? I wondered. I didn't want my friends to feel pressured to buy us gifts, and I felt shy about opening presents while everyone watched. My enormous belly and I didn't need to be the center of attention, and I was sleepy all the time anyway. I figured we should just skip it.

But then.

My friends Nora and Abbey offered to throw a classic New York brunch at Nora's apartment, complete with bagels, cream cheese and lox, and invite a handful of friends to celebrate the soon-to-arrive baby. My mom and sister even wanted to fly in from Michigan and California, and the idea started to sound kind of wonderful, after all.

The real surprise came during the shower itself. While I opened presents, surrounded by close female friends and relatives, everyone began sharing motherhood advice and stories. "Take the nipple cream to the hospital," and "Swaddling helps your baby sleep," and "I LOVED Good Night, Gorilla!" and "These are the only baby socks that don't fall off." My aunts told nostalgic stories about raising their children. We laughed about antiquated doctor advice from the 80s. A few friends even told their birth stories.

Overall, I was amazed by how tribal it felt. Up until then, my pregnancy had felt individual and a little isolating (after all, you're on your own when you're gripped with anxiety or lying awake at night with heartburn!), I suddenly felt bolstered and empowered by a community of supportive women who had been through all these stages before and were excited to meet my baby.

Have you heard that when a female elephant gives birth, the other female elephants gather in a circle around her? They protect her from all sides and taking turns trumpeting encouragement. Isn't that amazing? (I think I read it in Great with Child.) The baby shower experience—being surrounded by this circle of women sending you all their maternal strength—reminded me of that.

Nowadays, when a friend will hem and haw about having a baby shower, I always say: Do it! It can be a powerful experience and a great step from pregnancy to motherhood. I now see why it has become such a time-honored tradition. Plus, you get cake :)

Did you have a baby shower? Did you like it? I’d love to have one for our second baby, too, but is it weird to have a shower for your second baby? Maybe something simple?
These photos are from the moment Alex stopped by the shower, and just for fun, here's the gorgeous dress my friend Leigh wore:) P.S. Pregnancy survival guide, and what to register for your new baby.

138 comments:

Stephanie Falcon said...

Have been thinking about baby showers a lot lately! Want to plan one for my friend, but she's the first one of our girl friends to have a baby. What are some great tips and tricks to make it great for her (although none of us really have a clue lol.)

laurenfoode.com said...

I love the idea of gathering as a group of women to celebrate something that is truly our own, whether I'm pregnant or not. Inspiring!

laura said...

I just attended my first baby shower this weekend! It did make me wonder if that's something I would like in the future (I'm a little shy and HATE being the center of attention) but I'm sure it would be really nice to hear other people's stories and encouragement! I'm not sure what the protocol would be for the second child. It might be nice to have something but maybe without the gifts? Just a fun brunch or afternoon tea something? Who knows. The older I get the more I feel like you just have to do what feels right for you and your tribe. :)

Debbie said...

I loved my baby shower, and I love going to baby showers. I definitely think you and your friends should celebrate baby #2 with a shower. For other friends of mine that have 2 children, we kept it simple just by going out to eat, having brunch together, or a BBQ. Enjoy!

Dani said...

That sounds like the loveliest time! I can't wait for those baby shower days.

Shelley said...

I for sure understand the not wanting attention thing - I didn't want a bridal shower and now I guess I'm having two! I don't really know how it'll all go but I will make them fun and hopefully not turn red too many times.

A baby shower seems different to me though, because it's not so much about you, it's all about the baby!

sbt said...

I'm pregnant with my first, and I'm not having a shower. I've always disliked attending them - there's only so many onesies that you can "ooh" and "aah" over, and I didn't want to subject anyone else to that. And also, we are following the Jewish tradition/superstition to not bring anything into the house until the baby comes. So no baby goods until then!

As far as a shower for a second child, a friend of mine had one for her third, who was going to be her first girl (she didn't have one for the second boy). And because she didn't need any of the major items, they called it a "sprinkle" instead of a "shower."

Jessica said...

In the south (and probably lots of other places) we have a "Sprinkle" for the second baby, which is just a more laid back, less involved shower. You mostly get clothes or new toys, smaller gifts. I also enjoy the idea of a Sip and See for the second and subsequent kids since it's still a celebration but without any big fanfare or financial commitment. Plus you get wine!

Christina said...

Joanna, you should definitely have a second shower. Your friends and family want to celebrate! What about instead of gifts, you ask for classic children's books? Toby and the new baby will enjoy the little library for years, plus the sweet notes your guests will surely write on the inside covers will be cherished for a lifetime. :)

XOXO
Christina

Jesse {wefancythat.blogspot.com} said...

i don't have babies, but have thrown showers for my sisters and just recently for my sister-in-law...they are so fun! one of my sisters is having her third baby this summer, but it's her first girl. since it's her third, we are going to "sprinkle" her with gifts instead of "showering" her, because she has all the necessities/basics. we want her to have some new, girly things, just for fun!

Anitra Sweet said...

I like this idea way over the cheesy games and crowded house full of acquaintances! This is much more intimate, cozy, and classy! Too bad I've already had my monkeys! :)

Mindy said...

There is something about babies and weddings that people just want to share in. The enthusiasm other people had for both these events in my life surprised me. I am pregnant with baby #2 and a few people have asked about a baby shower since it's a different gender. My sister had a "just the basics" shower where people brought diapers and wipes which I thought was a good idea. I was unsure about it to begin with, as well, but it turned out to be fun and my thought was, if people want to join in this joyous event, I shouldn't try to prevent that. I thought of my son and how he deserved the celebration, and that made it all worthwhile.

Julie said...

I had a friend who had a baby "sprinkle" instead of a shower for baby #3. She had a smaller registry of items she really needed/wanted that had come out since she'd had the first baby and invited her closest friends. We had brunch and didn't do games or activities - just gifts and talking. It was a lovely way to honor her and celebrate the newest baby without being a traditional shower.

Sarah Husser said...

my girlfriends and I have what we call a "sprinkle" for the second babies. not a full on "shower" normally we all go out to dinner and bring a little gift or all go in on something bigger (like a double stroller). we dont spend as much money and its more about getting together to celebrate the new baby, not stock the nursery.

Maggie Diamond said...

Oh my gosh! I love that little tidbit you added about the elephants. It totally made me tear up. Im 24 weeks pregnant and I feel like I have this huge community of support from other women. It has been so wonderful hearing others stories and advice. Mama Pride!

bsinthemidwest.com said...

I didn't want a wedding shower (I felt like they were a part of the WIC and we already lived together in a house), but my family threw me a small one - they jokingly called it my "drizzle" - anyway. I learned a lesson in the tension from that experience because by standing my ground, my mom felt like a huge part of being mother-of-the-bride that SHE'D dreamed about was missing.

Totally took that experience to heart and am excited for our baby shower in two weeks! My mother and godmothers have been planning it for months and since we live in separate states, I think it's a way for them to feel part of the process beyond requesting belly photos. :-)

Rachael said...

I'm pregnant with my first biological child, but we have a sixteen-month-old foster daughter who was placed with us at four weeks old. We know I'm having a girl and besides our daughter, we have three nieces, so we have a million hand-me-downs in perfect shape; on top of that, we're trying to sell our house, so we want as little stuff as possible! I'm currently trying to figure out a polite way to tell my lovely coworkers that I do not need a single pink onesie or any stuffed animals or receiving blankets. I think my best bet is to be gracious, because I know they are doing this to be sweet, and to register for a whole lot of diapers and wipes, and to have my work best friend remind people often that we're moving and to encourage gift cards!

Megan F said...

Just had mine this weekend, and I have to say that it was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. It was so fun to see friends and family, exchange stories and share excitement for our soon-to-come baby. I have to agree with Joanna -- Do it!

Melinda said...

I think showers are a wonderful way to celebrate, bond, and get tips from experienced mothers! I've heard the etiquette for baby showers is to have one for the first baby, and a second if the next baby is a different sex or it's been a long time since the first baby (ie you've given away all the baby stuff from your first baby). I don't think that's a hard rule, but one I've heard repeated often. Some once said "you don't want to looks like you're just begging for gifts"

Lisette said...

After my son passed away the only logical thing to do seemed to be cancel my baby shower. My friend, the host encouraged me to take my time with the decision and offered to do something else in its place. In the end, we turned my baby shower into a service project evening. Even though I was looking forward to having my baby shower, a lot more good was able to come out of that evening than presents.

Danielle Todd said...

I think a shower for a second child is a lovely idea. I'm actually throwing a shower of sorts for a friend next month. The babies (twins) were born a few months ago but we thought it might be nice to get everyone together to meet them and celebrate.

Lilia said...

In Mexico, you have a baby shower for every baby you have. Everyone is so happy, we all want to celebrate the pregnancy and the new baby. You don't think much of how much money you will spend helping the new parents adjust to the new baby with all the new needs. You just feel so good to be able to participate somehow with this blessing. Usually your mother and mother-in-law organize the "big" baby shower. Also, people from your work have another small one, your close friends can have a dinner/baby shower prepared for you, neighbors, another one and all of these people attend the big one too! And this is for each baby you have, not just for the first one =)

I don't like being the center of attention, I do like seeing how everyone is happy for my baby.

Amy Lauree said...

Since I was one of the first of my friends to be having a baby (at 23!) my first baby shower for my daughter felt funny. There wasn't much sharing of advice or birth stories there :) But it was more intimate because it was about 10-15 of us hanging out with food :)
My mother in law and mom threw a baby shower for my second daughter's arrival (now I'm 26) and it was HUGE. Like, uncomfortably huge. I felt so strange just blowing through the presents just to get it over with, and there were tons. I was grateful for the generosity, but I barely got to talk to anyone, they all just watched me open gifts and then I had to go nurse my new baby in another room.
I like hearing about the intimacy of yours- your mom and sister and some friends. Sounds lovely! I would recommend having another shower for your second, especially if you have a girl and friends and family can buy you lots of beautiful things for her!

Sara Turner said...

Sounds like you baby shower was a great time. I hope I'll be able to make it home for my cousin's this summer!

Mallory Recor said...

I love this. So personal and warm. I hate being the center of attention, and unfortunately both of my showers made me extremely uncomfortable (the one my mother and mother in law planned invited more people that we invited TO OUR WEDDING, and the one my friend threw me was just a few months after we moved and I knew nobody, so the room was filled with 20 people I didn't know).

I'm sticking this idea into my back pocket when it's my turn to throw a shower. Thanks Joanna!

And totally go for a second shower. Don't register for anything if you feel weird asking for things. Just have a nice brunch with your friends again, no pressure to bring gifts.

noorachen said...

I love the idea of a blessingway for a second baby. It's a celebration of the mother rooted in Native American traditions, sort of like a baby shower but usually without gifts (or at least gifts aren't the point). It's common for guests to bring a bead that can be made into a necklace for the mother to wear, hold, or look at during birth. Often women will share stories, and at the end for everyone to wrap a single, long piece of thread around their wrists as guests share blessings, words of wisdom, etc. Then the thread is cut and everyone ties their piece around their wrist to wear until the baby is born. The ones I've been to have been really special.

The Lindsey Family said...

As a fellow southerner, I echo Jessica's sentiments above. We embrace the idea of showers for second children, and simply celebrate on a smaller scale. Enjoy yourself and take the opportunity to acquire "tribal" advice for introducing your sweet baby to big brother Toby.

Unknown said...

I got so much advice and heard so many stories (OK some a bit scary) from my first shower. Not to mention stuff we actually use since we are kinda the last in our group to have kids.
For a second child I love the idea of have a baby "sprinkle" shower. Not big like when you have your first, but just a nice excuse to celebrate with friends, share stories, etc...

Love the smaller intimate settings with good friends and family.

http://www.lovingallthis.com

Mia Stizzo said...

i had two showers. my girlfriends threw us a co-ed bbq where the guests were only asked to bring a childrens book. my son has such a great collection now, and every once in a while when we go to pick out a book we find a funny inscription on one of the pages from a friend. my other shower was thrown by my sisters and was very much like the shower you shared here. both events made for great memories.

Rachel Weaver said...

I was about to suggest a blessingway as well. I sort of got a less hippieified one for my third. All my friends brought special things to pamper me with and there was lots of good food and hula hopping for some reason.

ryan said...

Tribal is totally how I've described the experience as well. I love the idea of a community coming together to support new families. Although, I could do without some of the silly traditional games :)

kate said...

I would say go for the second shower! I know technically you only have a shower for the first, but for those without kids, when else do we get to go shopping for teeny clothes and cute toys and books? I love shopping for baby gifts, personally.

Sarah Oliver said...

This doesn't really answer all of your questions, but....I recently went to a shower for my cousin. In a very cute poem within the invite, we were asked to bring unwrapped gifts (for the environment) and instead of a card, a book for the baby's library. Upon arrival the presents were put on display for everyone to ohh and ahh. This saved the time of everyone watching the mom to be open her gifts and instead, we all mingled and admired the presents. It was really a nice change.

ab_e said...

These are all such great ideas! I don't have kids yet, but I do love picking things out for expecting friends and family (whether it's their 1st or 4th). I imagine a small shower for your second would be something that those close to you would love.

elleseesandsays said...

That's really sweet, and I say go for it! I think it'd be great if some of these traditions/milestones became less focused on presents (and the rigamarole of sitting and watching that goes with it haha) and more on community + support. This makes me really excited to plan and partake in baby showers in the coming years...now I just need a friend to have a baby!

luke and pamela said...

have you ever heard of a mother blessing? it is exactly what you are craving - no gifts, a ritual amongst the women you love and respect, a beautiful gathering to support you before such a big change in your life. they are INCREDIBLE. I only wish they would happen for more reasons than birth. my favorite parts of the ritual are that each woman is asked to bring a bead (no baby gifts) for you to string on a necklace and wear during labor, or just have near you to remind you of their strength. Also my friends passed around a jar of water and wished good things for me into it that I poured into the birthing tub. Each woman is given a candle to light when she hears you go into labor. There is a rule of no horror birth stories, but plenty of time to share wisdom and happy birth stories. There are SO many options for things you can do. I really really really hope you will look into it and a friend or two will host one for you. My blessing, and the ones I have held for friends, have been some of the highlights of my pregnancies.

Michelle said...

Yes, the shower for the 2nd baby is called a "sprinkle" since you don't need quite as much stuff! :)

Kayla said...

I was very anti baby shower. I felt awkward accepting things - I finally had to realize especially if we only invited people who were gonna love this baby they were giving things from the heart to her - not to us. We didn't to a registry and just asked people to bring things they would want her to have. I would do it for the second baby and ask for no gifts unless there is something really special they wanted to give.

Memoirs & Mochas

bobbyandkristen said...

Christina, that was exactly what I was thinking! I found a book baby shower on pinterest and fell in love with the idea for my second.
I loved the invite that went with it:
http://pinterest.com/pin/30680841183694513/

Kristen said...

LOVE this. I can totally see how you would have felt that way. I'm all about showers, I wish we could have them for more of lifes events! I have always thought that you only have a shower for your second baby if it is a different sex. I have heard lately of people doing sprinkles though. It's a smaller shower. (Get it? Sprinkle instead of shower) If it is the same sex a sprinkle is to get all your girls together and bring smaller gifts. Usually less people are invited and it's less over the top.

Danielle Lyn said...

I threw a "sprinkle" for a friend's second. Instead of gifts, people brought frizen meals or gift certificates for delivery. A fun way to celebrate a new baby!

E. and Baby P. said...

my son came 4 weeks early so my first baby shower, he was there! it was great seeing all my friends but since i also ended up having a c-section, everyone left after an hour. it was very short but sweet, although i was barely able to stand up.

for my daughter, my close girlfriends took me out for a fabulous dinner. it was just girls and adult time. nothing to do with babies and with a request of no gifts.

i've also thrown several baby showers. and it's always been the first being more traditional. hosted at a home with a brunch meal and the second time more about spending time with close girlfriends.

emmasfavouritethings said...

I think that like many other celebrations in life, showers are just as much for the people around you as they are for the recipient. I remember feeling hesitant about my wedding shower until my mother-in-law said "It's a blessing for us all to be able to celebrate your good news." A wedding, a new baby - these are all such universally wonderful things that people naturally want to celebrate.

Also, in my family, we don't have baby showers until after the wee one arrives safely. It's often the first opportunity many friends/family members have to meet the little one, so there's always something for guests to look forward to. It's so lovely - and as you say, Joanna, somewhat tribal - to see all of these women waiting their turn to hold the new tiny baby.

joseph said...

i feel a little weird leaving this comment - but since you posted the picture of leigh, i wanted to ask if she is doing ok. i started reading her blog after following your links to some of her posts. i so enjoyed reading her blog (yours as well!). her last post was so heartfelt. and it was really so sad as a reader to see her stop - although certainly understandable. can you please pass on well wishes to her? thanks!

Brooklynbee said...

I felt the same way as you, Joanna - I'm not big on "showers" in general and I never had a wedding shower. However, my mom was SO excited about our baby, I just though, well, resistance is futile, I'm just going to go with it. I'm glad I did it. We just had it at my mom's place with bagels and it was casual and fun.

Sarah D said...

I think I'm missing the "shower" gene. lol! I cannot stand bridal showers or baby showers! They just seem so self-indulgeant and weirdly gender based. I'd much prefer a co-ed bbq/ welcome baby party a few weeks after the birth, if you feel the need to have a group thing.

emmasfavouritethings said...

I think that like many other celebrations in life, showers are just as much for the people around you as they are for the recipient. I remember feeling hesitant about my wedding shower until my mother-in-law said "It's a blessing for us all to be able to celebrate your good news." A wedding, a new baby - these are all such universally wonderful things that people naturally want to celebrate.

Also, in my family, we don't have baby showers until after the wee one arrives safely. It's often the first opportunity many friends/family members have to meet the little one, so there's always something for guests to look forward to. It's so lovely - and as you say, Joanna, somewhat tribal - to see all of these women waiting their turn to hold the new tiny baby.

Angela C said...

When you put it this way, totally have a baby shower. Just need to get rid of the cheesy games and save money and don't do decorations. Put the money towards amazing catering and even better desserts!!

katie said...

Oh the baby shower, the thought of it makes me sweat. My husband and I adopted our daughter and even though she was a newborn and ours the day she was born, I felt really weird about the whole thing. Like I was undeserving of the whole ritual. But someone told me it was a way for my 'community" to welcome our little girlie to the world and to share in the experience of me becoming a mother.

cindyleed said...

I did a shower with my first. It was informal and in my parent's backyard with close friends and family. I had a great time. For my second I didn't want to do a full shower or a sprinkle, but instead I had a Blessingway. They are becoming semi popular with Natural birthers but traditionally it's an Indian tradition. You can google it to get the full scoop, but basically it was another small informal party where we served a brunch. On the invites I asked the guests not to bring a traditional gift but instead to bring me a small bead and some wisdom, advice, or prayer for my upcoming birth and baby. I had a special notebook for everyone to write their messages in and I opened and showed all the beads and then I made a labor necklace with their beads and wore it for encouragement during the birth. I sent photos of the necklace to everyone in my thank you cards and then after my second was born and I had some time, I took apart the necklace and took some driftwood found at baby's first beach trip and made a mobile with the beach wood, wire and gifted beads. I then sent out another photo to all the ladies to thank them and share with the mobile they helped me create.

sj said...

I'm surprised by the overwhelming support for a second baby shower. I always thought this was considered a bit self-indulgent. If I was invited to a second baby shower where it was implied I should bring a gift, I would likely not attend. Whereas, if you were to just throw a bbq where everyone was asked to bring an app and a drink, I'd be in. Single women always get screwed in the gift department by having married mothers as friends. If you do have a second shower, consider giving your single friends a nice birthday present!

Michelle said...

Our circle of friends has recently entered the second-baby stage, so we usually just have a diaper shower. That way we can still support each other and spend an afternoon together, but no one feels pressured to go all out with gifts.

kati said...

aww, this made me tear up a little! i feel the exact same way. people are so often hesitant to have second (or third! or so on!) showers because they feel like it makes them look "greedy" or something. i disagree so much. i think every baby should be celebrated with cake and those "tribal" stories and love... and cake! :) and i WANT to get all babies a present. it doesn't feel like a chore. the first shower feels like it's about getting things a new mom Needs. subsequent showers are usually less about diaper genies and strollers, and more about sweet special things. or conversely, sometimes second showers are just the practical stuff that you didn't know you would have appreciated the first time instead of size 0-3 outfits that your baby will never wear! i actually feel bad when people don't get a second party just because they think it will come off badly. have a party for that baby! xoxo

Lana said...

I agree! Showers were intended to gift the mother with necessities for the baby. Once you already have a child, you most likely have the things you NEED, and the things on your list turn into things that you WANT. If I have a second baby, I definitely wouldn't do a shower. It's almost as annoying as people who have lived together for a decade then decide to get married and register for all the indulgent things they didn't want to buy for themselves.

Lana said...

I agree about it being tribal, but mainly because I sweated like a boar hog the entire time! LOL! Mine was too big. I didn't get to hear great stories from wise women, but instead was subjected to having people wrap toilet paper around my stomach in hopes they had guessed the right length. You shower experience sounds delightful. I'm a big fan of low-key, and say noway to a second shower.

lilylou said...

This is such a sweet post. We had a fun second baby shower, no gifts per se, but everyone "signed up" to bring us a meal once he arrived. It was wonderful - with a toddler and a newborn - to know that dinner was taken care of for a while.

My son (second child) loves to look at his baby book - and it's great for him to see a baby shower invitation too. Just like the one in his big sister's book.

zhenusik26 said...

Ugh, baby showers as they usually go are the worst! Your experience doesn't sound like any of the showers I've attended. They were the traditional play idiotic games and open presents kind of thing that I hated and were the reason I did not have one. I strongly believe that my partner's and my decision to reproduce does not entitle us to demand presents from our family and friends (to me, that's the basic idea of a baby shower). I'm lucky in that we can afford this baby and the stuff. And I'm also lucky because nearly every friend had a baby last year or is about to have a kid this year. So the advice is flowing regardless of our ability to come together for inane games.

Pamela said...

Oh, Joanna, I'm so glad you posted this. My shower is this weekend and I've been feeling so anxious about it. I agree pregnancy is isolating (which I didn't expect), and all the fanfare just makes me want to curl up and hide. This gives me hope that it will be nice, and help ease some of the first-time-mom panic!

In the Marginalia said...

Perfect timing for this post! I'm having my shower for my first baby boy tonight and I've been feeling a little axious about it all day. haha I'm just not good at being blessed by those around me. I need to humble myself and let them love on me in that way, so this was encouraging to read and made me excited or tonight! I might have to share this post on my blog after I write about my shower. :) Thanks for sharing!! P.S. I think it's cute Alex stopped by...my husband is actually coming tonight. When I've been to other showers I've just thought it's sad that daddy misses out on all the adorable things mom gets to open and feel excited about, so I decided long ago that I wanted him there. :)

-Lexy

JulieBean said...

I am (respectfully) interested by you faith custom. So you won't have any items in your home until after baby arrives? Not even diapers, crib/bassinet or a car seat?

13thfloormanhattan said...

I imagine I would feel the same way about baby showers as you did initially. I hated my wedding shower, and come to think of it, I disliked my wedding a lot, too, just because I hate it when tons of people are staring at me. Maybe if it felt more like a support group like those elephants I'd be into it. And yes, you should have a second shower if you want! Use every excuse in the book to make precious time to get together with people you love.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I so felt the same way with our little guy. Did not want to make a big deal. My best friend ended up going all out and I loved it. It wasn't about the presents at all. We just felt the love our friends and family had for us and about our baby. Those who had kids brought them- it was so nice picturing our little one running around with them one day and having the little girls rub my belly and talk to him. I was laughing and crying (from pure happiness) all day. I remember telling my husband all these people love us and our little one and they are excited for us! Have another shower! Feel the love around you!

Sarah Harm said...

I never really thought about it that way. It sounds beautiful and homey and comforting. Plus you cant forget that there are other people excited about the baby besides mom and dad.

P.S. I tend to frown on full baby showers for a second child so closely after the first. Do you really need another crib set and other big items. Now something like a diaper party or lunch where gifts arent encouraged would be nice. Because remember, those same people that were excited about the first baby, are just as excited about the second. (And I think #2 is a girl)

Carrie said...

I've always been pro-shower for first borns. But, secretly I judged women who had showers for subsequent children. I've changed my mind about showers for second, third, etc. children. Instead of thinking it was selfish and only for receiving gifts, I think its a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a new life! The sense of community and celebration are wonderful! I mean, if you're not going to celebrate a new life, what will you celebrate?! :)

Jamie said...

I've always been of the opinion that you should NEVER throw your own shower (for all the reasons you felt uncomfortable doing so originally, before your friends offered to host. It's basically asking for gifts). A shower is a gift in and of itself, given to the mother/expectant parents as a way to help them celebrate and prepare for the new baby. All babies should be celebrated but there are many ways to do this without having gifts involved (for example, a Sip & See after the baby arrives). But the new tradition of a sprinkle for a 2nd or 3rd child is great, just don't throw it yourself! If someone offers, then great. Otherwise, that's a no-no.

However I really love everyone's sentiments here in the comments! About how it's a tribal thing, and showers are about community and what not. Puts a whole different perspective on it. Your shower for Toby sounds like it was lovely! I am so looking forward to mine! (Due in Aug) There are actually THREE planned (ACK!) because our family and friends are spread out in 3 different states, so we will be travelling. My mom is throwing one, so is my MIL, and my friends.

margaretedith.com said...

I'm 35 years old, single, and childless. I love my friends and I enjoy celebrating when they have babies.
BUT.
It is this exact element that you described... the tribal part, the "it's time to bring you into the secret society of motherhood" aspect that leaves me feeling very left out and lesser.
I know that the event is 110% not about me and that I should just try to focus and feel happy for my friend, but I admit. Showers that are more like the type you're describing here make me feel bad.

Sydney said...

I have six children and had showers for each one. Like others said above, it's not about needing the gifts, it's about celebrating the baby! I feel the showers are even more important for second, third,fourth, etc. children because your first is always special but the others should be too. So exciting, you're getting closer!!

Shira Tehrani said...

Nope! We're painting the room, but that's about it. We'll order the furniture from a place that will deliver it when we call them to tell them the baby's arrived, so there will be furniture when I get home from the hospital. The only thing I have to have is a car seat in order to leave the hospital, so that will stay at my parents house, and they'll bring it when they come to visit.

SincerelySammie said...

I love baby showers! They're always a good time and I"m such a ham I'd probably love being the center of attention. :D

Sydney said...

Wow, I've never seen it that way at all; single or married. I never needed anything at any shower, friends and family just gave me things they thought would be nice for me to have for that child. I think it's sad to think you're being "screwed" being single and having friends that are mothers. Perhaps you shouldn't have friends that are mothers. I love celebrating each baby with anyone that is close to me with a party, and that party would be a baby shower. Such a shame to think any child that comes after the first one does not deserve a celebration. Mothers go through a lot during pregnancy and getting the support from everyone that loves and cares for them is so nice, especially when you're going through everything you do at the end of a pregnancy. I would be mortified to know someone resented me for inviting them to a celebration for any of my children. I certainly hope you are as frank with your friends and family as you were here, that way they won't hesitate to leave you off of the guest list.

Bea said...

I love baby showers! I do love to oooo and ahhh over the gorgeous (and tiny!) presents, but you're so right, there is something beautiful about women supporting each other and sharing their experiences of motherhood. Sometimes it was hard when I was the single, childless one and didn't have my own advice to give but I know one day it will be my turn and I can't wait.

It's also the perfect opportunity to reminisce about all of your wild and crazy years together! I've known my best friends since I was 8 and being with them through all of these years and watching them become mothers, is such a special thing.

I think you should definitely have another baby shower Joanna - every little person deserves a celebration!

Jennifer of JennySue Makeup said...

I remember people used to scoff when you wanted or someone else threw a shower for the 2nd, 3rd, and so on child. But gone are those days. Why is it okay only to celebrate the first born?? Aren't the ones that come after it just as precious?? Yes!! Especially if you have a child of a different sex the 2nd time around or born in a totally different season than the first, you're gonna need all new clothes and stuff!

Now that most of my friends are def on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, *gasp, we still do little showers even if it's nothing more than multiple packs of diapers we wrap up and it gives us a chance to stuff our faces with petite fours. Oh, and we all tell the newest stories, trials, tribulations, celebrations of our current families! Baby showers are just another great reason for females to bond....who doesn't love that?!

Anna said...

My friends are throwing me a second baby shower, but I said no gifts - we're having another boy and we already have everything! I'm looking forward to the community aspect of it though, because I live far from my mother and sister - its so nice to have friends for support!

Patricia O'Shaughnessy said...

So sorry to hear about your son. What a beautiful way to remember him.

Karen Travels said...

2nd baby = Baby Sprinkle!

hrl said...

Please please have one for your second baby! I grew up with a big family and every single baby had a shower. I absolutely detest the shaming and hate for mommys who say it's in poor taste. It's awful! I have never felt that way and that is not the belief in my culture or family (filipino). I never even realized that people thought it was in poor taste to do 2nd baby showers. Each baby is special and should be celebrated and why not receive and give gifts. You often still need things for the second baby that got worn out or things like diapers and wipes can not be handed down! Please take away the awful hen pecking for the multiple baby showers. Do it!

Fashion for the rest of us said...

I totally agree! I did not have the chance to have a shower with my first child (who was born 3 weeks ahead of schedule), but this time I was able to, and I had the same experience as you did. Totally recommended :)

http://fashion-for-the-rest-of-us.blogspot.ca/2013/02/baby-shower.html

abigail jane schrag said...

We had a shower for our second but I had told our friends that I would love it if josh and his male friends (mostly my gal friends husbands/partners) could come too. Then we turned it into a night out and titled it "Beers,Bowling,and Babies". It was super fun, and we didn't want gifts, just fun, but of course friends can't help buying little gifts like the tiniest knitted booties in the world. I would say make te second shower celebratory, but the first is great for that woman support.

Nancy Cavillones said...

I didn't have a shower for my second and wasn't planning to have one for my third but one of the moms at the preschool said she wanted to throw one for me. When I expressed concern that it was my THIRD, she said and I quote, "This is [town], people have showers for their dogs!" Ha ha.

Unknown said...

I have been reading your blog every day for months and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy it. You are smart and fun and beautiful! As a Brooklyn newly wed I really love your honesty and candidness about parenting and raising kids in the city. Thank you so much for everything. xx. Kristin

Rayani Rodrigues Melo said...

I really want a very simple baby shower, and the best part: my baby shower is so closer, I'm in my fifth month of pregnancy right now. =]

Hugs from Brasil

rayanimelo.blogspot.com.br

spark said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your son. I'm glad that you got to do something meaningful to celebrate your baby.

jenni said...

I had one for each of my girls. The first was kind of obligatory and boring and I had no say in what went on so it wasn't that much fun for me. But the second was smaller and sweeter and exactly perfect. I think it's great to celebrate a child coming into the world - into the tribe, as you say. It's a nice custom. And I've found if you really don't want gifts (which I didn't the second time around) just decline to register and let the hostess(es) know that they can spread the word. Advice is a good enough gift sometimes.

Heather said...

these days every baby should be feted. I think it's nice to celebrate with my friends and love to shower them for each and every baby.

Denise Thomas said...

I think you should celebrate every baby! You don't need all the "gear" so a shower for a second baby is actually more personal. Your friends will amaze you with their generosity and kindness. I received sweet blankets, socks, books. New things should greet this new addition. congratulations!
whereisjune.blogspot.com

Denise Thomas said...

six children? amazing! I agree...every baby should be celebrated!

Lendy Salazar said...

Before going through pregnancy (especially in my single days), I hated baby showers. I thought they were corny and made the babyless feel left out. This all changed for me when my mom and friend planned my shower. It was fabulous!! I still love looking at those pics. I felt so loved that day! I think as long as the person/people planning it truly know you, then you have nothing to worry about! So go for the sprinkle, books or the full shabang! I only have one baby, but I always imagine that the second must be sooooooooo much easier. This time you'll know so much more!!! Enjoy it :)

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Renee said...

We too followed Jewish tradition/superstition and didn't buy or decorate for either of our babies before their births. We bought a car seat 2 weeks before #1 was born but left it in the box until I was in labor. We had very helpful and generous friends and family who brought us the necessities once the babies were born. I did have a shower after my first was born - it was fun to have the baby there to celebrate.

Sarah said...

My friends and I have a blessing way. Way more personal and without the gifts. This would e perfect for a second child.

rach said...

i passed on the baby shower, although a good girlfriend offered to host one for me.
i just didn't feel like it would really be what i wanted. it would be a group of family, friends etc making a big ho-ha and playing silly games. plus i felt uncomfortable about the present giving side of things too.

i think if i had of done anything, a nice breakfast/brunch out with 2 or 3 girlfriends would of been perfect. little or no fuss. now, as i am expecting my second at the end of June i think that's what I'll do. organise a couple of lunch dates with girlfrieds, no partners or children included, just us, cake & a (decaf) coffee.

Annie said...

a baby shower for a second child is a definite no-no... unless you pay for brunch and ask for no gifts.

natalienoods said...

While I'm not really on either side, I think what Lana might be trying to say is that single people get "screwed" financially and emotionally occasionally as we/they age. There are few times it is acceptable to throw a party for yourself as you get older, and having that kind of support from your friends (for YOU) is a special thing. While I am so very blessed and happy to support my friends in their life choices, it can be draining financially to celebrate lots of other people, without always receiving the same kind of reciprocation from your friends. I'm 26 years old and the economy has sort of screwed me out of a good job--I'm getting by on very little money and while I love to celebrate my friends' successes, achievements, and life choices (having a baby, getting married), it can be difficult and stressful to give as much as I would like--both through gifts, travel, time, and emotional support. I think in that sense, it would be a bit more tactful to keep in mind your friends' ability to "celebrate" the way you want them to.

trinaenriquez said...

The "tribal" feeling you describe reminds me of the scene in Monsoon Wedding when all the women in the family are singing together and going through the ritual of applying mehndi.

Chetna Singh said...

Go ahead and have one! Sounds like you had fun at the first one. I never had one for my first, (superstition and all..sounds so silly now!) , but had one for the second and my wonderful family threw a surprise one for my third! It's not about the gifts..you will always look back and smile!

Angel watson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monika Berry said...

What great timing for a post. I finally 'gave in' and sent out invitations recently for my shower and it is this weekend. Now I am feeling much more excited about the shower.

I don't think it would be indulgent at all to have a shower for baby #2, after all they are just as important and special as the first. We should all start to celebrate a little more in life, especially new life!

Geralyn Murray said...

I think you most certainly should allow yourself to be showered for sweet #2. This baby (and you) deserve all the celebrating possible.

Something to add: keep a pregnancy journal like this one - www.peatopumpkin.com.

All my best to you Jo!

tylerjones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tylerjones said...

This is good stuff. I am sure that a lot of people will benefit from it. Good job!
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emily said...

My friend had a BaByQ for her second shower....informal, where older kids and dads were invited....and that's where ppl signed up for the dinner rotations after Henry was born. I thought it was a great second shower vibe.

Courtney said...

I completely agree, it does feel tribal somehow! For the past five years I've lived abroad and I think other expat women would agree with me that there's almost a sense of duty in attending a baby shower (or even hosting one) for women you may not know that well because we all live so far from home and feel a need to support and care for one another.

Mona peacecabona said...

Where i come from in canada the baby shower is supposed to take place after the baby is born -usually a month or so after, so that people can meet the baby. They can be small and intimate or larger than life. Usually a good friend or mom plans the whole thing for you and you just have to show up. Traditionally you're only supposed to have for your first child. But i think the idea of having for the second is nice... especially if it's after the baby is born. So i say go for it.

Melissa van Herksen said...

I love baby showers. Thanks for the elephant story..It makes so much sense. With our first son (adoption) we had a shower the day after he arrived. We were living in Maputo, Mozambique at the time and it was great to have love surround us via our surrogate family and friends. On the same day my parents planned a virtual shower in Miami, Florida. All of my friends and family from back home were there at my parent's house to celebrate and we had mini skype meetings with everyone. It was so unique. With Sam, our second one I was 7 months pregnant in Miami. I had a joint shower with one of my best friends..then when I got back to Maputo my Mozambican friends organized another shower for me. The theme for this one was elephants! It was a small group of us sharing all of our war stories, experiences and advice. Kind of sad I won't have any more showers...

Stephanie said...

Since we live abroad a dear friend surprised me with a "long distance shower" for my 2nd - she sent invites to the "guests" along with some tea, clotted cream, and biscuits and a little note about participating by enjoying a proper tea in celebration of the baby and if they want to send a small gift to have to arrive this week, actually! I teared up when I got the invite and felt so cared for knowing that she and a bunch of my friends spread all over the states were in on it.

Erica Thomas said...

I'm in a book club and my girlfriends through me a "baby book club" shower and each lady bought the baby a book. It was awesome. My daughter is 16 months now and we read those books all the time. I enjoy reading the little notes inside the covers to my daughter and explaining to her who bought her each book.

Natalie said...

I think a second shower where friends & family are invited to come together sounds really nice. The gifts thing is tricky because of the cost, not everyone can afford to be generous with gifts and there are typically so many gifts given at a first shower. Maybe instead of new items, guests could be encouraged to bring hand-me-downs or sign up for a meal train after the baby is born. We had a meal train after our son was born and friends brought over dinner or had it delivered. it was the best gift imaginable!

kendra said...

i HATE openings gifts in front of others. And i'm vocal about it. So when I throw showers, my friends have been more open if they hate it too. The last baby shower i threw was for my best friend and more like pre-birthday party for the baby. People brought gifts, we had a taco-bar. Guys and girls came. We have a friend who is an amazing mixologist and he made virgin drinks for the mama. He just doted on her all night. And the rest of us had beer. the mom then opens the gifts once everyone leaves, or at home.

Alma Cedillos said...

In Mexico, you "necesary" have a baby shower per baby! And it doesn't only include relatives and close friends, but also your Mom's, Mother-in-law and husbands female friends! It's kind of crazy!

Alma
polkadotsflowers.blogspot.mx

Elisa said...

In Spain is not very common but I always knew when I was pregnant I wanted one ;)
I was going to prepare everything by myself since I didn´t want my friends have the pressure to organize a party but then I found out they were organizing everything because they knew I wanted a babyshower, how nice!!!
Here it´s what they did for me a my baby Camila :) we had fun!!!!
http://www.retazoscondulce.com/2012/12/babyshower-para-camila-parte-2.html
http://www.retazoscondulce.com/2012/12/babyshower-para-camila-parte-1.html
I recommend it to everyone
love your blog
Elisa

Ariadna said...

My husband organized ours. HE said he wanted to be part of everything. "I am the dad!!! She will be breastfeeding and everything else is my business so I gotta know."
The thing was more of a celebration than an opportunity to receive gifts...we actually gave away some stuff.
I loved it. And I absolutely loved the support I felt from my husband

Ariadna said...

My husband organized ours. HE said he wanted to be part of everything. "I am the dad!!! She will be breastfeeding and everything else is my business so I gotta know."
The thing was more of a celebration than an opportunity to receive gifts...we actually gave away some stuff.
I loved it. And I absolutely loved the support I felt from my husband

SLF said...

Great points. I've heard of a shower for the second baby called a "sprinkle", cute isn't it? I think the idea is you gather for food and fun with friends but eliminate the gifts.
PS - you totally have that beautiful pregnancy glow in these pictures!

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

My mom threw me a shower AFTER my first child arrived... it's kind of fun for everyone to see the baby! And besides, a lot of the stuff you think you "need" for the baby, you end up not really needing until he/she is a few months old anyway.

I didn't have a shower or any kind of celebration for the second kid (since they were born so close together); instead, we just sent out the announcement and encouraged people to stop over to the house if they wanted to meet him.

asgoldasitgets said...

I felt this way about my bridal shower- I haven't had a baby shower yet (one day!). But I felt the sort of guilt and awkwardness but in the end I was so glad that I had one- your friends and family want to celebrate you!

Gennea said...

I have always wanted just a book shower for my first baby only but as I was reading the comments and thought to myself that would seem unfair if you had a second child. Think about it...

First baby has all these wonderful books with inscriptions written to her. Second baby comes along and as he grows up he is constantly reading all the inscriptions in the books written to his older sister and there are none for him. Did no one care about his impending arrival? My mind has just been changed, I would have another book shower for the second child too.

I even remember my little brother saying one day, "Mommy, why did you get a baby party for her and not for me?" He must have felt really crummy as a 5 year old... (This came up when my mom was preggo with her 3rd child, I was 9 and my little brother was 5).

Sarah Ochoa said...

For our second baby shower, I had all of my women friends and family come over and help me get out all the baby stuff and organize the clothes and supplies. We served lasagna and french bread and mimosas and kept it really simple. It was an incredible experience =) I felt nurtured and supported, but since everyone had just gotten us baby gifts for our first baby (he was only 15 months old when baby bro came along) I didn't feel like I was asking for presents again- or getting a bunch of stuff we didn't need.

Amanda said...

My son just picked DOG off the shelf to read last night!

Jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms. A said...

I'm not a fan of the second baby shower. It doesn't feel appropriate to me. You now know what you need and likely still have some things stored away from the first...a second seems like an excuse for more gifts.

Lil T said...

Showers are great. But I've always loved all the hype surrounding weddings and babies. As my mom has said, "You've got to celebrate the good when you can!" I hosted a "sprinkle" for my cousin and her 2nd baby this past weekend. Even tho I'm not a mom, I enjoyed having a nice group of ladies over for lunch and cocktails/mocktails for mom and girl talk. You're right - there's something tribal about it. And I think my cousin really loved having an afternoon to herself without her adorable but very active 3YO. Oh. And my husband is loving the leftover food! Win win for everyone. =)

Lil T said...

Also - regarding some of the above "sprinkle" comments...my cousin is having a boy and registered for some very modest boy-themed clothes and items that she didn't have since her first was a girl... It turns out that 1/2 of the women that attended got gifts for mom (I got her a maternity gown so she doesn't have to wear the hospital issued one and a gift certificate for a pedi). A few gals brought gifts for her daughter that is about to become a big sister (books for mom/dad to read her about being a big sis, etc). Only a few brought gifts for baby boy. I don't think anyone thought that it was tacky to bring gifts...we were celebrating mom, big sis, baby brother...everyone. Of course, there will be more gifts once the little guy arrives because who can't resist buying baby clothes?!

Nancy Cavillones said...

Yes, I often wonder how she is doing as well! I loved her blog!

maticki said...

I wouldnt have one, if anything went wrong all the stuff would drive me mad. The first thing I bought for my daughter while I was pregnant with her when I was way over week 30

Rebeka said...

Oh man, I really REALLY dislike baby showers, but that is probably because I don't have kids and they usually just seem like the sole purpose is to get gifts (and I hate that you're going to make me sit and watch you open gifts for two hours and not even give me a drink to make the time pass faster). Yours sounds so much different than any shower I've ever been to, though, and I am glad it was such a wonderful experience for you. I love the idea of a "sprinkle" that others have been suggesting in comments, that sounds way less awful than a normal baby shower. But I say, if you want a shower, then have one!!

maticki said...

I wouldnt have one, if anything went wrong all the stuff would drive me mad. The first thing I bought for my daughter while I was pregnant with her when I was way over week 30

Maureen said...

You look beautiful!

Esty said...

I had very similar hesitations about having a baby shower, especially since I just got married last summer. It seemed like putting more pressure on my friends to buy gifts would just be too much. But my sister raised very similar points to the ones you've raised here. A shower is about so much more than the gifts you receive. Lovely post. Thanks!

agapelife said...

I've always loved the idea of having a shower - but I want a shower where my husband is there and both men and women friends. I feel having my husband open the gifts WITH me reinforces that this is his baby and responsibility too and because I have so many male and female friends, I would want all of them there.

lauren. said...

i won't be having any showers for our baby, due in august. i also didn't have a wedding shower. i have a super small family (only child, all cousins only children) and very few friends. so that's the trade off. my father and grandmother came into town last weekend and positively spoiled the baby. so in that respect we have help. i've never been in a "community of women" so i don't feel like i'm missing out on anything either.

lauravaughn said...

I love that idea! My mom almost always gives her favorite children's book as a gift at a baby shower, and I think it would be fun if everyone did that. Each book would have some special significance to someone, and it would be neat to hear all those stories!

Amy said...

Years ago a friend of mine was pregnant with her second child (same sex as #1), and her local friends threw her a "casserole shower." Basically all the gals came bearing meals to stock her freezer/pantry for post-baby time. I still love that idea!

Unknown said...

Hi there, you look lovely, as always! Just wondering where your purpleish lavender colored dress is from:).

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Joan Price said...

This is a great story! I was always iffy about baby showers. Weirdly enough, it was designing my own baby shower invitations that got me excited about mine, but that might be my inner design freak speaking! =)

sarah brightman said...

We have decided to celebrate our baby shower outside the house. Please tell me the possible venues.
baby shower ideas

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