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The Problem With Push Presents

I got the most amazing push present when I gave birth. It was a 7-pound, 6-ounce baby girl. Look how she sparkles!

Some new moms, however, get a little something extra. J-Lo famously received $2.5 million earrings engraved with the names of her twins as a thank you from her then-husband Marc Anthony. Non-celebrity moms are getting in on the action too, with some 38 percent (according to a BabyCenter survey) receiving a gift to commemorate the birth of their babies.

RELATED: Do We Always Have to Buy a Gift?

Intrigued by this growing trend, I conducted an informal push present poll on my Facebook page, and the responses broke down fairly equally into three categories:

1. I birthed a bowling ball. I deserve something shiny.

2. It’s not necessary. My baby is all the present I need.

3. What the hell is a push present?

I don’t love the implication that a mama is owed something for providing her spouse with a child.

I fall into the second category. Something about push presents makes me uneasy. On the one hand, no woman on earth is going to reject a thoughtful gift from her partner after giving birth. On the other hand, I don’t love the implication that a mama is owed something for providing her spouse with a child. After years of trying to conceive, I’m so grateful to be pregnant, it’s probably me that should be giving my husband a trinket as thanks for his DNA. A “sperm splurge,” we could call it.

Also, push present timing is terrible. A new baby puts financial pressure on a family. Not only is there literally one more mouth to feed, but we’re eventually going to need a larger home with an extra bedroom. It hardly seems like the right time to go jewelry shopping. A token gift (flowers, doughnuts) would be nice, but I’d feel guilty about anything spendy.

Yet it bugs me that push presents have become yet another point of mom-petition. You know what I’m thinking when a mom friend flashes the new bauble she “earned” for making a baby? I shoved a cantaloupe out of my coochie, too—what am I, chopped liver? Marketing idea: “I pushed for 90 minutes and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

I even take issue with the name. “Push present” implies that only vaginal births should win you some bling. Certainly, C-section mamas, adoptive mamas—really any and all mamas—deserve the same consideration, if any of us do.

And what about the biggest logistical problem with push presents? To receive one, your partner has to know that they exist! I guarantee you that my husband has never heard of a push present. So if I really wanted one, I’d have to first explain the concept—without seeming like a self-serving asshole—and then somehow make it seem like it’s his idea. That’s a tall order. The only way I could pull that off would be by writing a blog post about push presents (cough, cough).

RELATED: My Baby Makes Me Brave

Can a push present be sweet and lovely and uncontroversial? Sure. During my Facebook research, I found out that my cousin-in-law had received a special piece of jewelry to commemorate each birth. Since she had two daughters, she plans on gifting these same items to her girls on their wedding days. This struck me as a beautiful family tradition, and one that I could totally get behind: a push present that actually pulls us closer to our kids.

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