Etiquette Questions, Answered: Social Situations
Is It Ever Too Late to Send Thank-You Notes?
Q. Two years ago, I had my beautiful son. But his birth was enormously traumatic for me, and I suffered from postpartum depression. Given the state I was in, I never sent out thank-you notes for the gifts I received after he was born. I feel horrible about it. Is it too late to send out notes?
A. You poor thing. First off, forgive yourself. You did the best you could in a crisis, and thank-you notes were simply not a priority in the postpartum triage. I love expressions of gratitude—getting them, sending them, even coaching my children as they pen them. That being said, if it were up to me, new parents would be exempt from performing this social grace for the first two years of their child's life. (I remember writing them in an exhausted daze, my husband joking, "Dear whoever you are, thanks for whatever it was you sent.")
By all means, if you feel up to sending the notes now, go for it. Imagine how much fun it will be for the givers to hear about gifts that they have (probably) forgotten about and that you've had a chance to use and appreciate. "Do you remember giving us that mobile?" you can write. "I'm sorry that it's taken so long to say this, but our son adores it!" Your belated gratitude will be a delightful surprise.
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Want to Ask Your Own Etiquette Question?
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