Last night, I was hurriedly ordering cards on VistaPrint and discovered that there needs to be a new category for “second-child” stationary. My daughter is over four months old and she is getting baptized this week. I realized that I have not made any “formal announcement” of her birth. Since she has passed several milestones, I thought a “birth announcement” might seem odd right now. I found cards for baby showers, birth announcements, baptism invites (too late for that) and birthday invites but I could not find a card for “belated birth announcement”. And hence, the need for “second-child” accessories and products.
As a fourth child, I am well aware of the challenges that my second child would face. I actually made my own baby book when I was twelve years old—bringing photos to my mom for dates and descriptions. Last month, I pulled out the baby book I had purchased for Nora and realized that I had already missed milestones! Missed measurements, missed visitors and missed well wishes. I already feel guilty and my child cannot even sit up. But, then I discovered a growth chart I had bought for my son over two years ago that was sitting on a shelf so I don’t feel as guilty. Even my first-born is neglected.
I am learning that each child will suffer and benefit from their place in the family. My son, the oldest, was the sole recipient of our attention and affection for almost three years. My daughter will never experience being an only child but she does have the love and protection of her older brother. But, I have discovered that guilt can be a motivator. I value music, gymnastics and swimming for my children so I harnessed my guilt over my “neglected” second-child and registered Nora in baby music and swimming classes. My guilt has been replaced with an overwhelming sense of busy-ness and panic. Good news—I am now too tired to feel guilty. My daughter is not even five months old and I am struggling to juggle her schedule.
I was able to find cards appropriate for her birth/baptism; I will have to pay an extra cost to have them shipped to me before Nora’s baptism, but they will arrive in time. She will never know how I rushed and panicked to make sure her birth announcement was not forgotten. And if all goes well, she will just know that we loved her and her brother equally.