Thursday, April 12, 2012

Push THIS!

Push It - Garbage (mp3)
The Proposal - Hard Drugs (mp3)

You remember back in the ‘80s when AIDS took over the collective conscience of our country? The way I remember it, a crack team of CDC scientists were searching desperately for Patient Zero and the mythical monkey who transmitted the HIV virus.

The idea is, by tracing the problem to its origin, you can more efficiently eliminate the contagion.

Well, I’m starting a new mission, and I need a few smart and motivated people on my team. Our mission: To find the person who invented the notion of Push Presents and quarantine his/her ass for eternity.

Don’t know what a PUSH PRESENT is?? Well, let’s go to Wikipedia!
The term "push present" first appeared in a publication in 1992. There is, however, no conclusive evidence that the present was invented by the jewelry industry to sell more goods, and until recently it was passed on largely by word of mouth or peer pressure among both mothers and fathers. According to Linda Murray, the executive editor of, "It’s more and more an expectation of moms these days that they deserve something for bearing the burden for nine months, getting sick, ruining their body. The guilt really gets piled on."
According to a survey, more than a third of new mothers received a Push Present, and more than half of pregnant women expected one.

What. The. &#$%?!?

We are now living in a time and a culture where the birth of a child -- emerging from the womb of a female, cradled mewling and wiggling in the exhausted mother’s arms, considered by most to be one of the biggest everyday miracles on our planet -- is no longer sufficient reward for suffering through 40 weeks of gestation.

"Ohmahgawd honey, you were amazing. Are you ready to hold the baby?"

“Yeah whatever. I guess so. But first, what the hell did you buy me for all that hard work I just completed?”

Ladies, if you want to kick back and say that I’m just an insensitive male who fails to appreciate the misery of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth, go ahead. You’re wrong, but go ahead. I’ve witnessed three children born naturally, without any pain relief, and I’ve been present for practically every day of those 120 weeks of pregnancy.

While I wouldn’t dare suggest I know what it’s like, I sure as hell have a sense of things, and it ain’t a damn walk in the park. Nor is it supposed to be. The misery has a purpose, and it's one of the biggest reasons that men are regularly, frequently, much shittier parents than women.

To repeat: The baby is the reward. The baby is the gift. This is that unusual yet real moment where the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow exists and is worth every step of the journey.

When I mentioned push presents to my wife tonight, she told me that I actually gave her gifts after two of the three births. That’s great. I gave her gifts because I felt moved to do so, not because there was some add-on invented cultural expectation with a name that pressured me into it. In general, expectations suck, and no one should know this better than a pregnant woman.

I’ve decided that Cersei Lannister, the queen beeyotch of Game of Thrones, is the perfect character for determining wrong v. right. Ask “What Would Cersei Do?” and know with complete confidence that the exact opposite is the right and good and moral thing to do.

Cersei Lannister would expect a push present.

Therefore, in conclusion, expecting a push present is evil, to be placed right there alongside Sweet 16 birthday megaparties and Bridezilla-friendly weddings, both of which Cersei would also love.

So who's with me? We need to hunt down the originator of this nonsense and get medieval on his or her ass, and we need to do it stat.


Daisy said...

Seriously natural childbirth 3 times and she puts up with you? She should get showered with gifts on a daily basis!

I agree that expectations suck and that is why I detest valentines day and mothers day.

The birthing' gift ( or push present) is meant to be a gesture of admiration and appreciation for the new mother. Giving birth and the hormonal, sleepless days that follow are hard work. Don't you think they are worthy of a little treat? I'm not saying it needs to be extravagant just a gesture to thank her for doing her part to bring the ultimate gift into the world.

Billy said...

@Daisy - So. You're against expected gifts except when you're for them?

And no, actually, I don't believe birthing should require additional material rewards that can be wrapped in boxes from Tiffany & Co. Or even from Target.

Some things in this life are so much bigger than material things that "honoring" the moment with material things debases it, insults it. Childbirth is bigger than trinkets and treats. It's generally the first event most dying people cite as the most important in their lives. And that's true with or without some damn earrings.

Why should the "ultimate gift," as you put it, be incomplete without additional gifts?

Daisy said...

I don't expect you to admit it but I know deep down you really agree with me since you did give your wife a gift two out of three times. A birthing gift is not a requirement nor is a birth incomplete without it, but it does show that you are thinking of your wife as more than just a baby making machine. The expectation and the terminology may be as new as 1992 but the concept is not. My mother has a bracelet made of my birth stone that my father gave to her upon my arrival.

Christmas is bigger than trinkets and treats but you still buy gifts for that don't you?

Billy said...

Yeah great. Christmas is a perfect example of how we want something to turn out...

Sara C said...

Billy, I am completely on your side and am saddling the horses to find the Cersei who started it as we speak. I didn't even know this concept existed. Two born to me sans meds, and even today after the endorphins have long since worn off, even when they are screaming on my sister's front porch in front of God and everybody, even then, they are the best and only gift I've ever wanted.

Anonymous said...

Push present. Though the name is a bit silly, I do agree with the idea. Here’s the reason:
People are getting the wrong idea about the tradition. The tradition is designed to give the mother something that she will have for the rest of her life that commemorates her experience of bringing a new life into the world. The actual gift itself should be symbolic of an endless love and desire for protection of the mother and child throughout their lives. It’s deep, emotional, and beautiful. That being said, new shoes would not fall into the category of a “perfect push present”, and it is not a selfish act but rather a self-LESS act of kindness and joy. Juno Lucina just launched a whole line of beautiful push gifts for new mothers ( That is what the perfect push gift looks like.