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Push Presents: Maybe the Name Is Stupid but the Sentiment Is Not

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Kim Kardashian has been in the news for making it known that she wanted a bajillion dollar shiny diamond necklace after the birth of her son, Saint. Her new arrival has brought the term “push present” into the everyday conversations of people like you and me.

Although calling it a push present is a new thing, the tradition of a husband giving his wife a gift for her labor (there’s a reason it’s called labor, by the way) is not new. And maybe that necklace really didn’t cost a bajillion dollars, but I’m sure it cost many pretty pennies.

We can shake our heads and sigh about excess, but it’s not our money and the Kardashian-West family can afford many, many bajillion dollar baubles. I figure that’s their business.

A recent article on Scary Mommy condemned push presents. I’d say it actually went a little further than condemning, given the title was “Push Presents Are Stupid.”

I have three kids: two are adopted and one was, you know, pushed out. (Actually, forceps were involved so there wasn’t much pushing going on, but I digress.) I didn’t receive a gift for bringing any of my children into our family and I didn’t expect it. But if someone — namely my husband — would have seen fit to give me a present to commensurate the moment, I wouldn’t have thought it was stupid at all. Because I like presents. And thoughtfulness. And shiny things. (But again, I digress.)

Even though we didn’t do push presents, we do have expectations about gift-giving in our marriage. Most couples probably do. I don’t expect anyone else to label the way we choose to give gifts (or not to do so) as stupid. Gift-giving is between the gifter and the giftee — the Internet should stay out of it.

Gift-giving is between the gifter and the giftee — the Internet should stay out of it.
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I’ll admit there are things people do nowadays that make me snicker and roll my eyes: gender reveal parties, professional videography in pregnancy announcements, themed birthday parties with Vegas-style entertainment (for 2-year-olds), promposals … I’m almost 50 now and I remember a time when life was simpler and there wasn’t so much hoo-hah surrounding major life events and “special announcements.”

But to each their own. I really mean that. A man should be able to give his wife a present to mark the birth of their child without someone — stranger or friend — pointing their mean little finger and calling it stupid.

And yes, as Scary Mommy accurately points out, no one needs a present for birthing a child. But no one needs a present for anything. We generally expect our kids to finish high school, maybe even college. Do they need graduation presents? No, but maybe they’re a tradition in your family. Do we expect presents to mark each passing of our births, to commemorate our anniversaries, or for those special occasions such as Confirmations and Bar Mitzvahs? Probably. Whether we need or expect gifts for life milestones is a matter of opinion, but I don’t hear a ton of “that’s stupid“s being thrown at birthday and baby shower presents.

So why so quick to call a push present stupid? Because the Kardashians are doing it?

A man should be able to give his wife a present to mark the birth of their child without someone — stranger or friend — pointing their mean little finger and calling it stupid.
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If a man wants to give his wife a present for squeezing out a baby the size of a watermelon, fine by me. Someone’s push present has zero impact on me and, besides, there are plenty of things in this world I can get legitimately annoyed about (namely Daylight Saving Time and toilets that flush automatically).

And think about it like this: you don’t know someone’s story.

Did they struggle to get pregnant in the first place?

Did the baby they got the push present for come after seven miscarriages?

Did they deal with the emotional roller coaster of IVF, Clomid injections, pre-eclampsia, and bed rest? Most people don’t reveal these little details, but maybe bringing that baby into the world was harder than the happy pictures you see on Facebook.

I had hyperemesis gravid arum (aka constant nausea and vomiting brought on by pregnancy) before Kate Middleton made it relatable. I puked every day from conception to delivery and I hated being pregnant. Yes, my daughter was a gift and no, I didn’t expect a bauble at the end, but I would have welcomed the sentiment … and I would not have called it stupid. I would have been grateful that someone acknowledged my efforts, my struggle, and my sacrifices. Yes, I said sacrifices, because women do sacrifice a lot when they have a small human occupying their uterus for nine-ish months.

Calling a push present stupid is the same as tearing down another mother’s choices about vaccinations, breastfeeding, and daycare. I thought we were getting away from the mommy wars, but comments like these certainly fan the flames. Of course the baby is a gift — that’s a given. We can call Kim Kardashian shallow and over-privileged all day long, but if given the choice between her new baby boy and her bajillion dollar push present? Come on.

A new baby, a new life, is a cause for celebration. How a family decides to celebrate is up to them.

Push presents: maybe the name is stupid but the sentiment is not.

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