I’ve endured only pregnancies from hell. Not the run-of-the-mill variety either, involving scary pre-eclampsia or placenta previa, but rather, pregnancies that have left doctors befuddled while I became best friends with the porcelain thrones in my home. With my pregnancies, nurses took my blood on a weekly basis to monitor the function of various organs, and my OB/GYN’s assistant would regularly call me with the test results, always the bearer of only bad news. I was admitted to the obstetrical high-risk in-patient unit more times than my OB/GYN, my husband, my family, and I would’ve liked during both of my pregnancies. But I’m grateful that I walked away from both experiences with my life and my organs intact, and with a healthy baby in my arms each time.
But while having a baby is the end goal, watching my body betray me while playing alien host, I came to feel that I was owed something a bit better than a purple star or medal of honor for having lived in the trenches. I wanted a push present. No, I deserved a push present.
A push present is defined as a gift from a spouse to the one who’s pregnant and gives birth. There is no price tag associated with a push present–it can be as inexpensive as the candied diamond ring inside of a Cracker Jack box, or as costly as a canary diamond pendant necklace. Cost may matter for some, but ultimately it’s the thought that counts. If a woman doesn’t believe in receiving a push present that’s her right, just as it is another woman’s right to believe that having a baby should come with one. The push present is the gift that keeps on giving, and ultimately becomes a family heirloom that is bequeathed to the child for whose birth it recognized.
Not everyone knows about push presents, despite Tiffany’s best efforts to paper every magazine, bus depot, subway car and billboard with the enticement of buying one from their store.
And yet, despite its ubiquity in advertising, when the topic of push presents came up in my prenatal class, you should have seen the quizzical furrowed brows and heard the flabbergasted statements thrown my way by the other pregnant women.
There I sat, in a room of 15 pregnant ladies, all roughly due within six weeks of each other, all with supportive partners by their sides. The doula leading the class asked the women to share their “love/hate” pregnancy moments. One woman said she loved hearing the baby’s heartbeat, but hated having swollen ankles. Another waxed poetic on feeling life growing inside of her, but wasn’t a fan of the lower back pain. Yet another told the room that she loved feeling the hiccup-like kicks, but wasn’t thrilled with the weight gain. And so on and so forth it went until it was my turn. My husband gave me a knowing look, realizing that this seemingly harmless question was about to open up a Pandora’s box.
“So Naomi, what do you hate about pregnancy?” the doula asked.
“Being pregnant,” I deadpanned.
The doula chuckled.“No, seriously,” she pressed.
“She is being serious,” my husband added.
“OK,” the doula said, without knowing how to respond, “What do you love about being pregnant?”
“The push present,” I advised.
“What’s a push present?” one of the other moms-to-be inquired.
“What does it have to be?” another mother asked.
“Anything you want, but I want jewelry. Preferably with my birthstone and that of the baby,” I advised.
“What’s your birthstone?” a third mother asked.
“Does it have to be your birthstone, or can it be any kind of jewelry?” the third mother inquired.
“Anyone can ask for diamonds.”
The fathers in the room, as if they anticipated my answer and rehearsed their response, turned to me and collectively mouthed a more profane version of “FORGET YOU.”
Needless to say, push presents aren’t for everyone. But, they were and are for me. I wonder if any of my fellow preggo prenatal class sisters ever received push presents from their husbands. Something tells me they didn’t–I wonder what that something could be?