I had no idea that there was a such thing as a “push present” until I hit my third trimester and stumbled upon it reading random articles. Apparently, it’s a thing – hubby buys a generous gift to mark the occasion of mama carrying and pushing the baby out. No one really knows how this tradition started, but it has been gaining popularity in the past decade.
I honestly found it humorous and had a hard time taking it seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sweet gesture whether it comes in the form of a letter, chocolate or diamonds, but throwing some new jewelry at me like it’s Valentine’s Day in the labor and delivery room feels a bit out of place and unnecessary.
I think my issue with a push present is not the gesture of gift giving itself. Expressing our gratitude through the act of giving is inherently a good thing for relationships. But for this particular milestone, I think it overrides the biggest gift of all: the fact that you both just created a life together.
It sets the tone that mommy is more important than daddy – that just because we as women endured all of the heavy lifting these past nine months, our role is superior and therefore deserving of an extra token.
But, my husband has been giving me tokens of appreciation all along. When I needed ice cream, he went out late at night and bought a pint for me. When my feet started swelling, he encouraged me to lie down and rest. When I started getting self conscious at just how big my belly was stretching, he would slip in sweet compliments. He took an active role in our pregnancy as best he could, and for that I am grateful.
Then there are the extra duties he took on: installing the car seat, building the crib and planning our finances around a growing a family. Sure, it’s not comparable to the literal growing pains I have experienced, but that doesn’t make his role any less valuable.
Going forward, I expect my husband to hold my hand through every contraction. I expect him to step up with chores and errands when I’m in recovery, and as we build a new norm together, I expect that he will be just as engaged in becoming a father as I will a mother.
So, no, I don’t want a push present, because to celebrate our son’s arrival as an occasion centered around motherhood overlooks that it is about parenthood – a journey that we will continue to experience differently, but with equal merit.
He will already face the stigma as a new dad that his instincts are at the level of a high school babysitter – I hate that – why do we poke fun of fathers as the “babysitters?” They’re not, and a push present to me breeds that kind of thinking – that mothers are more important than fathers.
The day we welcome our son will be the biggest day of our lives, and our son’s arrival is not my gift to Sean; he is a gift that we are both beyond lucky to receive.
Hold on the diamonds. An “I love you,” will do just fine.