When I first heard about push presents, it was via a viral news story about Kim Kardashian, and the gaudy, ridonculously expensive diamond choker she’d received as a push present after the birth of her son, Saint West. Like many parents out there, when I heard about that little story, I rolled my eyes so far into the back of my head, I was afraid they’d be stuck there forever.
I mean, I think we can all agree that a mother giving birth definitely should be lavished with praise and adoration. However a woman does it (epidural/no epidural, vaginally/C-section), birth is one of the hardest things she’ll ever experience, and she deserves basically anything she wants when it’s over.
But being presented with a fancy little box with a bow on it, and a glittery, super-expensive gift inside — is that like some form of payment? Are birthing women basically service providers who are supposed to demand illustrious bonuses after the work is done? When I first heard about push presents, that’s how I honestly viewed the whole thing, and the idea pretty much made me want to vomit.
However, all that aside, it dawned on me the other day that maybe the idea of women receiving gifts for having babies can actually be an entirely positive and hugely empowering idea (if framed the right way). In fact, perhaps the rise in the popularity of push presents is a rallying call for all women to say, “Hey world, look what I did. I’m fucking amazing. And it’s time you took notice.”
Think about how giving birth plays out for so many women these days. When you’re pregnant (especially if it’s your first child), you get a heap of attention. Yeah, not all of it is wanted attention (strangers telling me that I’m “about to explode” is not my idea of positive attention).
Between the frequent doctor’s visits, the baby showers, and the admiration of the miracle of life blossoming inside our beautiful bellies, many of us feel that we’ve got it going on while we’re pregnant. Or at least the world often treats us like we do.
Then we go and have the baby. Labor can be a lot of things for different women, but however it plays out, let’s just say that it can be one of the most intense, life-changing, brutal, beautiful, and sometimes even traumatizing things we’ll ever do. It’s definitely the hardest work a woman’s body will ever be faced with — harder than running a marathon, most would argue.
And what of it? Everyone says that the baby you get at the end is your reward. And it is — I don’t think anyone would deny that.
But that’s the thing — after the mother does all that grueling motherfucking work, everyone turns their attention to the baby.
The mom, who just did the hardest work of her goddamn life, becomes a fly on the wall after birth. Yeah, she’s got other work to do now, as the selfless mom of her sweet baby. And she’s gonna rock it, however uncertain and exhausted she is.
But how about taking a moment — a good, long, important moment — to celebrate the astonishingly amazing work she did by bring forth a human baby, earthside, out of her body?
At that point, give the woman whatever the fuck she wants.
I wanted nothing more than a huge hunk of vegan lasagna after I gave birth (yeah, I’m a weirdo), but now that I think about it, maybe I should have asked for more. I did do a good job asking for household help, especially after my second baby was born (I learned my lesson after my first, when I did too much housework too soon and ended up having a very difficult postpartum period with him).
But what about asking for some material possessions as well? It’s not the first thing that comes to mind after you’ve had a baby, but getting a cool new gift could brighten up the day of any new mom, whether she asks for something or not.
I remember seriously wanting a couple of nice nursing tops after my first baby was born, but I ended feeling like it wasn’t something I could ask for, especially since so many baby gifts were pouring in, and we really needed to spend every last dime of our paychecks on things like diapers, wipes, and future college educations.
Why didn’t I ask for the damn nursing tops?
Or better yet, a pretty bracelet, a new camera to take pics of our adorable mush, or any number of the millions of things I might have wanted, but felt too timid to ask for?
If push presents are simply a celebration of how incredible women are in that pivotal and life-changing event of bringing a baby into the world, well then, we should go get it. We deserve all the gifts that we might desire, whatever they may be (yes, including a million-dollar piece of jewelry if that’s within reach for our gift-givers, and it’s something we want).
So Ms. Kardashian, I’m sorry I judged you. Your push present may have seemed over-the-top to me. But who cares? You just birthed a goddman baby. You do you.
And too all the other mamas out there, whether you request a push present or not, know this: You deserve anything you want after the birth of your freaking baby. Don’t forget that. And don’t be afraid to ask for it. Celebrate your moment. You deserve the world, you beautiful birthing goddess, you.