Push It Real Good

At the conclusion of a non-commercialized, peaceful Mother’s Day with my boys, I took a quick trip to the Redbox kiosk to return a movie and, on the drive, heard a commercial that raised my blood pressure. It was a local jeweler advertising the options they had for “push presents” for new moms.

“Give her a gift that shows how much you appreciate everything she’s sacrificed for the family… even if your contribution goes unnoticed.”*

What’s a push present? It’s that moment when the hubby/baby daddy whips out a little blue box at the conclusion of childbirth.

As a woman who has birthed three boys — without epidural and with pitocin — you would think I’d be completely on board with that idea. But I’m not. I hate it on a couple of levels.

First, it says horrible things about our society’s need to give a blue ribbon for everything. Pregnancy and childbirth is natural. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s natural. And it has its own reward. Do we really need to take it up a notch and say you need special recognition for it?

Second, it takes what should be a beautiful moment and commercializes it. Did the new mother do something worthy of diamonds? Hell, yes. But it reduces the worth of bringing a new life into the world by equating it with a monetary gift.  If one doesn’t receive a “push present,” is her sacrifice somehow less valuable? Or does the father appreciate it less?

Third, push presents have become such a “thing” that they’re expected. Among younger mothers I know, push presents are discussed and – *horrors* – asked for (<— really, you need to read that link) during the pregnancy! As in, they put it basically in a registry so the dad-to-be knows what’s expected. Yet another way for men to fail and women to hold something over their heads.

Not to mention, how many people can really afford a blingy push present? Wouldn’t a better present be a deposit in a college fund? Or making sure the family has no debt?

As you can tell, the push present thing, to me, is just another symptom of what’s wrong not just in society in general, but in many relationships. Expect, expect, expect. Take, take, take. Me, me, me. Spend money. Focus on keeping score.  Instead, how about this? Treat each other with love and respect during the pregnancy, and then, at the culmination of this miracle – a healthy birth – sit there together as a new family, cuddling that baby, look in each other’s tear-filled eyes, and soak in the moment?

*I couldn’t find the ad audio online so I’m paraphrasing the line that ticked me off so much. Gender wars, anyone?!?

I’m not the first one to write about this (duh) – great post at Trees Flowers Birds

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2 thoughts on “Push It Real Good

  1. The problem with a gift that “shows how much you appreciate everything she’s sacrificed for the family” is that it shows the opposite, like you said, by assigning a dollar value to an event that’s priceless. It doesn’t take a large emotional investment to buy a ring (I wouldn’t say the same thing when it comes to an engagement ring or a wedding ring, but there’s usually far more involved in the reasoning). You go to the jewelry store, select a ring, pay for it, present after childbirth. Somehow that totally obviates the need to do something original, caring, and loving for the birth of a child?

    To me, it emphasizes a culture of equivalency, a me vs. you, an “I did this for you, so you owe me.” You did this for me? What about for us? Why is sacrifice many times defined as involving only one person? Is the man just an attendee? It takes 2 to tango. A child is far more than a 9 month sacrifice for 1 person (assuming a committed relationship/marriage). It’s a positive long-term sacrifice involving happiness, sadness, good times and bad times, with challenges the whole way through. That is to be shared, a mutual experience, not made into a competition.

    For me, what’s most important is my state of mind and how I communicate it. A ring or any other tangible gift may or may not be part of that, but not because it’s expected, but because it has meaning between me and the other person. For any important situation, there surely will be a hell of a lot more put into it than a trip to the jewelry store and a card from the supermarket.

    BTW, high five for no epidural! Now that deserves a blue ribbon present! 😉

  2. I’ve never heard of “push presents” before?! I will say that after my daughter was born, my then-husband gave me a nomination bracelet the next morning that had all three of our birth signs on it, but I didn’t think of it as a “push present” — more as a sweet way to commemorate her addition to our family. The value was in what it represented, not the price tag.

    I agree — there’s something kind of skeevy about the whole notion as presented by the ad — and even moreso by the idea that mothers register for such things. The best gifts are the ones given freely and sincerely. And the most precious gift of all is a new addition to one’s family.

    I’ll join Chris in the high-five. Whether it was due to stoicism or luck of the draw!! 🙂

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