What happened to welcoming a baby into the world and having that celebration of life being enough of a gift and reward? When did a happy, healthy baby become not the primary hope of the parents? What the hell is a ‘push present‘ and when did it become a “thing”?
I admit I’ve been out of the new baby game for a while. It will nearly be 12 years since the last time I’ve been in a delivery room when our new guy makes his debut in a few months. Recently my wife made a joke asking me what I was going to get her for her push present. I thought that the whole thing was a joke and she was making fun of something she had seen online. I’m not sure what my true reaction was once I realized it was a real thing. Somewhere between dumbfoundedness and…no, we’ll just say I was dumbfounded and leave it there.
So, when looking things up, it seems that the concept of a push present has been around for a bit longer than I had thought. A 2004 survey of over 30,000 respondents by BabyCenter found that 38% of new mothers received a push present, and 55% of pregnant mothers wanted one.* This was legit news to me.
What is a ‘push present’
For those unaware (and I’m hoping I wasn’t the last one to learn about this) a push present is essentially meant or seen as a way to gift or reward the new Moms for their work and labor that comes with well….labor. It is a gift that is typically given to a Mom by her partner or spouse after she has given birth to their child. Seen as a way to celebrate the new baby’s arrival to the optimistic, women who expect a push present see it as compensation for all their discomfort and struggles during their pregnancy.
So it’s no more the beauty and spectacle of the miracle of life guys, it’s another reason for the girl to get a present. (I’m sorry, but I am going to be a little cynical here.) Never once in all the times that I’ve heard my wife (playfully) go “I’m doing something, I’m growing a baby” did I ever think I needed to buy her a damn present for that effort. We’re getting things ready for the baby. Buying things for the baby. This time should be about the baby, should it not? Am I wrong in that?
An article from 2018 on People.com (Talking about, of all things, Kylie Jenner’s Ferrari push present – ALL the eye rolls) had a quote from Linda Murray, the executive editor of BabyCenter.com that said: “It’s more and more an expectation of moms these days that they deserve something for bearing the burden for nine months, getting sick, ruining their body.”
Why is a “push present”
Don’t get me wrong, and if there are any Moms reading this, I am not, in any way, downplaying the things your body goes through. Not at all. It’s a miracle, and it’s a wonderful and beautiful thing. Something to be in awe of and be amazed by, but is that something that deserves a gift? You’re going through a process determined by genetics and nature. So if my wife gets a present from me for going through labor, doesn’t that mean I get one from her if I start experiencing ED? No one got me anything when I started losing my hair. Both things are physical changes to my body that are extremely emotional, yet I didn’t even get a Hallmark card.
How about the stress and stresses on my end just from being an expecting Dad, any compensation there? Nothing? Just more stress on trying to determine the best and most appropriate push present for my wife? Hoping and praying I don’t somehow put a scuff mark on what should be a bright and wonderful day? On top of that, my wife plans on breastfeeding. Does that mean I need to get her another present down the road? A “breast bestowal” perhaps? A “boob benefit”? (pretty sure that one is mine already). Perhaps a “nipple offering” is in my future purchases?
Fortunately, my wife has already been clear on the fact she doesn’t want a push present, so we’re clear there, but I’m just so conflicted with this whole concept.
What can a push present be?
Again, I’m being a little more cynical here, if for no other reason than to give an opposing view. The People article gave examples of presents given, such as a diaper bag one mom really wanted, or another mom received a new smartphone so she could take photos of their new baby. I’m totally on board with things like that. Gifts that relate to the baby itself. I’m good with that. Hell, I may even do something like that, but will I label it a “push present”? No! I love my wife everyday. I am all about this adventure with her, but when our son gets here, it’s going to be about him. I’m sorry but it will. Not taking anything away from her at all. She’s already a superhero and will continue to be, always.
Don’t even get me started with these people, especially celebrities that are wanting or looking towards expensive jewelry as push presents. Really? So instead of welcoming a new child into the world and raising them high ala The Lion King, let’s make it all about you? If you’re having that mentality as soon as the baby is out, what’s going to be your mentality towards your child the next 2 years? In 5? In 14?
I’m sorry, but if you’re a mom that is expecting a push present, I’m not taking anything away from you carrying the child and going through pregnancy, but you’re nothing but selfish.
My wife will get presents, before and after our baby is here. There is zero question to that, and for all those expecting mothers that read this and think I’m being a jerk? I hope you are lavished in gifts as well. I hope you get things that celebrate not only your child but celebrate you as a mother. I hope your husband or significant other pampers you and treats you like the amazing superhero you are. But if you’re expecting a push present after you have the baby, well, I have no words really.
As I close this out, let me be clear: I’m not advocating against Moms getting gifts. In no way am I. It’s just this whole concept of a “push present”. I just want to go: you all are better than that!
And before you think I’m some jerk that won’t get my wife things, won’t highlight our child’s entrance into the world and celebrate her as a mother, you’re way, WAY wrong.
I have the rest of our lives together to celebrate my wife becoming a Mom. To do things sentimental, like make a huge deal about her first Mother’s Day (of not just being a stepmom). I get to buy her jewelry with our son’s birthstone, a print of our son’s footprints, or a meaningful gift highlighting a milestone. I have countless, meaningful moments where I get to thank her and raise her up and do all the things that people will try and label the purpose of a push present.
What happened with just being happy and excited over bringing a new life into the world and being a family, together. When did that start to not be enough?
*Source: “A Bundle of Joy Isn’t Enough?”. New York Times.
**”I grew a tiny human” mug can be found on Amazon