Here’s the deal: You are going to either vehemently agree – or passionately disagree – with me on this topic. I doubt there’s any in-between. But I feel qualified to talk about this because, after all, I’ve been pregnant four times and crossed the finish line twice. And I must get this off my chest.
I don’t usually listen to morning radio because I’m a podcast/Audible/Spotify junky. The kids pick their playlists on the way to drop off. And then I typically become engrossed in a true crime podcast or escape into the “pages” of a novel.
But one recent morning, when I arrived at work and my Bluetooth disconnected from my radio, I caught a snippet of a local radio show discussion about push presents. And it reminded me that there are people out there who think they deserve a gift for giving birth to a child.
I’ve heard women say things like, “I got this with Lucy and this with Jack,” as they point to bits and baubles all over their body. Seriously? How about, “I got Lucy and Jack.” Isn’t the baby the greatest gift of all!? Isn’t that enough?
There is no question that having a baby is hard work, but isn’t it a labor of love? Isn’t IT, alone, worth it? You could argue that, for lots of people, the pregnancy is the reward for really good sex. And the baby is the reward for all that effort you put into bringing it into this world!
We give up wine and coffee (and our figures) for nine months. We go to countless doctor’s appointments. We go through the pain and exhaustion of labor. And the result is a little, beautiful human being – a HUMAN BEING – who becomes the love of your life. In my estimation, a handbag or piece of jewelry pales in comparison.
Honestly, when did push presents even become a thing? Something tells me my mom and my mom’s mom weren’t getting a big ol’ present for giving birth. They were lucky to LIVE through childbirth. If anyone deserved a push present, it was the mothers of our parents' generation and the generations before them.
It’s not necessarily the gift, itself, that gets me. It’s when women insist on getting one, saying they deserve it – and then getting belligerent or bullish about it. What is fun or rewarding about getting a gift that you have demanded you get – whether it’s to celebrate the arrival of a newborn or an anniversary … or anything?
You know, you’re not the only one having this baby. Your significant other is, too – that person you’re pressuring to go out and buy you something you probably can’t afford. He or she has as much invested in this as you do. If you deserve a push-present, then doesn’t your partner deserve a giant reward for tiptoeing around your emotions during hormone swings and hours of labor?
If you’re demanding a push present, odds are you don’t realize how big a check you wrote when you decided to have this little one. Diapers, baby clothes, photos of your little bundle of joy and (God forbid!) formula. Then there’s more clothes (replaced at least twice a year because they grow like weeds), childcare, camp, sports, dance, school (even public schools ask for donations on a regular basis). Birthday parties. Holiday gifts. Gifts for their friends' birthdays. Pets. Health insurance! Oh, and then there’s college … and maybe one day a wedding (or two).
Why start in debt (emotionally or financially) over a gift that means nothing in comparison to what your body just did? You made a human being! YOU did that! And you get to do things like embarrass your kid in front of his/her friends for the rest of your life. They are the gift that keeps on giving!
I say forgo the material things. And give your partner a break. Instead, focus on enjoying every second with this little person. Be in the moment when they put that little boy or girl on your chest for the very first time because you get one chance at that moment. There is nothing like it, and you can never recreate it. And no piece of jewelry or pair of designer shoes will ever compare.