What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Private Party

I am a very firm believer that every single child you are given is a gift and ought to be celebrated as such, whether it is your first or your fiftieth (though I highly doubt the latter would happen anytime soon! hehe). I despise the fact that people are acknowledged with a big hoopla for Baby #1 and as the children progress, there is less and less excitement involved.

Case in Point:

For Baby #1, the grandparents wait expectantly in the waiting room of the hospital as you work to push the little sucker out.
For Baby #2, they come to visit that night.
For Baby #3, they'll stop by the next day.
And usually, it stops there. After all, the US average of children per household is only 2.4

For Baby #1, you get dozens of cards and insist upon keeping every single one.
Baby #2, you get about half.
Baby #3, you get one and you promptly throw away ALL the saved cards from Baby #1, so that Baby #3 doesn't grow up feeling like s/he wasn't welcome.

For Baby #1~ you get a shower brimful of gifts and smiles.
For Baby #2-if you are lucky AND you find out you are having a different gender, you get another one.
For Baby #3- Fat chance, sucker!

For Baby #1~ when you reveal you are pregnant, you share the news with the 'grandparents' in clever fun ways and they joyously hug and kiss you and share in your excitement and the next nine months you are answering all sorts of questions and getting all sorts of advice.
For Baby #2~ You get smiles as people find out and feigned "congratulations!" and also some joking: "Don't you know how that happens?"
For Baby #3~ You dread telling them and dread even more the responses given. ( I mailed the news...)

And that is just with THREE children.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hereby declare: I despise this line of thinking and will single-handedly take on the world to reveal it for what it really is. A shame and a pity.

Now, I realize that after you have several children, you don't NEED to start from scratch to clothe your baby, you can do without the wipes warmer, and you've long since learned to bath a baby in the sink instead of a plastic contraption that seems only to waste space.

There is NO person on earth, however, that doesn't appreciate a time to celebrate a new life-even in a simple way. Cards with well-wishes are VERY appreciated with ANY baby. Diaper showers. Book showers. Handmade with Love showers. Or just a luncheon to get together and gush about the coming (or newly born baby). All these things not only make the MOTHER feel loved and happy, but it conveys the great and wonderful message of children being WANTED and ANTICIPATED.

This particular baby, Baby Ethan, is the eleventh child in the family-but no less loved and cared for than any others. No less sweet. No less precious. His teeny toes are no less magnificent, his baby smell no less endearing.

And it made me sad that He wasn't going to be celebrated. So I decided to change that.

And I did it by inviting only those that WANTED to celebrate. It was very informal. No balloons. No banners. No blue and white streamers hung from the ceiling. Just a dozen girlies enjoying time together and sharing in the joy of a new birth. I don't think the absent mounds of gifts made it any less special to Greta. It was a joy to see Ethan. It was a joy to see the sparkle in Greta's eyes and watch the older sisters handly him with love and care.

It was a joy to see a Mother who realizes the great riches she has been given and who has been grateful to receive them, despite the cost. (and I don't mean financially.)

We Christians ought to really evaluate how we perceive large families. Are we helping to encourage them or are we making them feel cast out? Are we cherishing LIFE and the gifts of life- or are we holding hands with the world and adopting their views of 2.4 children???
Are we raising eyebrows in gossip or the sides of our mouth in smiles?
Because I know what we OUGHT to be doing...

I am not saying we ought to haul off and host baby showers for everyone we know. Not at all. It needn't be as elaborate as all that. Writing a card, making a meal, giving a gift, taking the time to TALK and gush and LISTEN to the new parents, giving them flowers, having your children make cards...none of these things take any effort at all. But the receiving of such things, especially on babies a bit further on down the line, will have a tremendous impact.

** Here is a link to a sermon message given by a Southern Baptist Preacher called Voddie Baucham. It speaks rather poignantly about some of what I wrote above... I am not Southern Baptist, I am not even Baptist. But I think it foolish to disregard a biblically sound message only because of the voice it is carried by. If you are interested, take a listen.


Dana said...

I totally agree with you.

My girls are adopted. We had them for awhile before the adoptions were final, so it wasn't like a birth happened. The adoption happened right before Christmas, too. Anyway, there were no parties, no celebration, no....nothing. My best friend and a few family members came to the adoption ceremony, then we had their dedication the next Sunday at church, which happened to be Christmas Eve. My sister had talked about having a shower of sorts, more like a celebration, but nothing happened. It felt like my kids weren't as worthy as those who were born into a family from birth and not adoption. I know we could have done something ourselves, and thougth about it, but didn't want to seem inappropriate, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, excellent post.


Chris said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This has really been on my heart lately (and not just because we are expecting our 7th)

If you've never heard it, you should try and listen to this. http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Podcast/Entries/2007/1/17_The_Centrality_of_the_Home.html
I'm not Baptist, but he has really spoken to me about large families in general and more specifically family integrated worship services.

Elizabeth said...

I can't agree with you more either. I still feel bad that Christiana didn't get a shower of any sort at all, and the only baby card I got for her was from my eldest daughter, sweet girl that she is. I'm hoping to a small scale baptism party for after she is born but we will see if I can pull it off myself or not. I do appreciate the fact that you were hoping to figure something out while you were visiting and I am deeply sorry it didn't work out!

Morning said...

Such a wonderful idea! A friend of mine recently had her third, and I was the only of her friends who visited at the hospital (admittedly, she was only in for two days) or who brought food. And her baby is just precious -- Boo wanted to take her home!

Rebecca said...

Dana~ that is a good point! Adoptive children ought not to be left out!

Chris~ I have listened to it, and appreciate it myself! In fact, when I went to his website this afternoon, I noticed he had a new podcast up about the Roles of Men. Going to listen to that pretty soon too!

Elizabeth~ don't give up hope just yet! It can always happen as a 'meet the baby!" party.

Morning~ GOOD FOR YOU! That is great! I am sure she really appreciated your kindness!

Grandma Bibby said...

In defense of grandmas - I, for one, was delighted with each of my grandchildren and believe each is a gift from the Lord. I hope to have many more of those gifts. As far as going to the hospital, maybe we are just tired from watching the siblings of the newborn. We sure do run up there asap. And I believe EACH child should be celebrated as much as possible. Just ask Bob - his wallet empties with each addition!!! Do celebrate life. It is so worth every minute the Lord gives us.

Quinne said...

Hi Rebecca :) Thanks for a great post! I agree whole heartedly.

By the way, we really like Voddie Baucham, too! A very dynamic gentleman who is passionate about the Father and about family :)

If you haven't heard it yet, check out his message "The Centrality of the Home" at gracefamilybaptist.net
Love, Q

Kelli said...

Excellent post, Rebecca. I definitely agree!

Christine said...

Children are such a gift, Rebecca. It really is so sad to see how our culture disregards precious babies. They are a gift from the Lord, no matter what number of child it is! I love Voddie. He is biblically sound. I have heard him in person at a Vision Forum conference, and he was the most inspiring speaker, and I could never forget his message! My mother is from a large family (11 children), and she swore to never have many children. But (though it can be a bit awkward to announce a new baby to her), she really relishes her grandchildren. She understands that I feel strongly about bearing the children that the Lord sends me. She has never advised me not to have anymore, thank the Lord!(that would be uncomfortable) She is not a Christian, so there is a lot that she does not understand about it.She was raised in a family where the children were not taught to serve, and her mother did all of the work. (aka was up at 3 am doing three loads of laundry. Her mother died 30 years ago.) I think the fact that I require my children to help around the house really astounds her, and makes her happy. Sorry to have rambled, Rebecca. By the way, within the next few days, I will be having a giveaway for Expectant Mothers! Please join me there. Praying for you and sweet baby!