You may or may not know this, but men cannot grow a baby inside their belly and then push the baby out.
We probably could if we ever bothered asking for directions, but you know we're not doing that, so our wombs remain barren.
Why point out what every 4th-grader who rides a school bus already knows?
Because increasingly, expectant moms are considering getting "push presents" for expectant dads. What's a push present? It's a token of appreciation, either small or lavish, you get a new mom as a way to congratulate her on childbirth and as gratitude for all that pregnancy involves.
"But Andy! You just pointed out that men can't give birth! What pushing are we rewarding with a gift?"
I get it! On the surface, that seems kinda crazy even though I'm a huge supporter of push presents for moms. But then I realized we're short-changing the idea by focusing on the name.
Do men need a push present?
You have to get past the phrase "push present." It's just because nobody knows what to call it when it's a childbirth gift for the dad and not the mom/ for the adoptive dads and not the surrogate mom. As one reader more aptly called it, a "support gift" is more accurate.
Push present is a simplistic phrase. Might be because "Thanks for grabbing the ice chips and offering words of encouragement while I pushed a baby out of my body and talking my off the ledge when I Web MD'ed every pregnancy symptom" Present doesn't have the same ring to it.
Here's why I think it's perfectly fine and even brilliant to get your guy a push present: Because the entire point of the gift is to celebrate a life milestone.
It's not about what moms deserve versus fathers deserves. There is no "deserving" when it comes to childbirth. We can all hope for a healthy, happy baby, and anything else is a bonus! It's about what we might opt to do in addition to that incredible, life-altering celebration.
Having a baby is an unbelievably big moment for both of you! Yet it doesn't take away the mind-blowing accomplishment of the mom giving birth if you also want to offer something to the dad as a way of saying "Thanks for supporting me through this, being a loving and doting husband, and not biting my head off when I needed ginger ale at 3 a.m."
I've read and heard the arguments against getting the dad a push present. That this is the mom's time. That you shouldn't get a gift for "doing your job" as a dad. That the baby is the real gift. Guess what? You're not devaluing anything or anyone by getting your husband a childbirth-related gift! The baby is still loved and adored and cherished.
Couples get each other gifts all the time to show their love and appreciation! You wouldn't call an anniversary gift stupid because it celebrates someone fulfilling their marital duties! Unless the gift is a coupon for a free back rub. That's a stupid gift.
Don't think a guy needs a push present? No worries! There's no obligation to get one. He won't likely have even thought about it; it's much more of a surprise than if he got you one.
A guy does not need a push present. It's more like, if you want to celebrate the milestone achievement of pregnancy and childbirth with him, a gift is a sweet and thoughtful thing to do.
(Note: If your guy has been a total jerkoff for 9 months and whines about having to go to the OB-GYN with you and says "It probably won't even hurt that bad," then no! Don't buy him a gift. Instead ask him if he wants to be fisted and when he says no, say, "It probably won't even hurt that bad.")
It's pretty straightforward: If you think your partner deserves a gift for being awesome during pregnancy, get them one!
Push Present Ideas for Dads
Fantastic! You want to get your husband a push present/whatever you want to call it.
What do you get them? Let me run through some ideas, any of which would be welcome as a guy.
Want Vs. Need Dad Gift
This is the perfect time to go for something that's a want versus a need. This is a great moment to show that you've been listening to them when they made an off-hand remark about wanting some random item on Amazon. If they keep mentioning how they are worried that once the baby comes, they won't get to keep doing "X" (and by that I mean a hobby, not ecstasy; they really shouldn't be doing molly while rocking Molly), what about finding a gift that shows you heard them and want to find a reasonable solution?
- Example: They love bowling, but think they'll have to quit their league. You get him a gift card to the bowling alley with a promise that although it's too early to tell how the schedule will work, you want him to ensure he has time doing something he loves. He can use the card and not feel guilty about it. Guys worry about losing part of their identity when they become a dad, so something to hold onto part of that identity, even in a small way, can be reassuring. This is all with the understanding that he'll be really involved in the first place; if he's terrible about helping with the baby, see my above suggestion about fisting.
- Or you can buy the expectant dad a gift card for a particular favorite of his (movie theater, pro sports tickets, brewery, whatever). Tell him that the gift card is for when he needs a mental break and he can go de-stress from baby time with no questions asked. The benefit of this kind of gift is that it helps set up a mutually beneficial arrangement, because the more you support each other having your own time, the less you'll go crazy or feel like either of you have to "request" time to do something. You gotta still be you as a new parent.
Making Baby Life Easier
I recommend guys get their wives a push present that is both fun and helps make being a busy mom a little easier. Why not do likewise?
- Kindle Paperwhite: For long nights of rocking, an e-Reader is a perfect solution. Why? You can hold it in one hand for long stretches while you pat the baby's back with the other. Having something to read means it helps you stay awake, since falling asleep while holding the baby and rocking is a huge, huge no-no. Also, unlike the regular Kindle, you can read in the dark, which is great for late nights (and also adjust the brightness so as to not to wake the baby). And by using this for entertainment, it means your phone battery won't drain. That's important. My wife & I have to text inside the house to each other all the time - hilarious, I know - to check on how the other person is doing with a baby. When your phone dies, so does your soul... I mean communication. Bonus tip: Preload the Kindle with some books he's been wanting to read!
- Dad diaper bag: I've got a diaper bag in my car, and that makes it much easier than constantly flip-flopping with my wife's bag. They sell amazing diaper bags over at DiaperDude.com, for instance. You could get him one that is exactly his style. Which means he'll use it. Which means the baby's diaper will get changed when he has the baby alone. Which means he is alone with the baby for hours and you are not there. Which means you are home drinking wine. Win. Bonus tip: Stock that bag with a few items, and include a note in a pocket that gives him a little boost of confidence about how you can't wait to see how great he'll be as a dad.
- Jogging stroller: If you're all about fitness, you've probably already put this on your registry. But if it's just the dad who loves to run, people might not think about the fact he'd benefit from a jogging stroller even if you would only use the regular stroller. I ran a 5k with mine! These can't be used for newborns - they don't have the neck strength - but when the kid is a little older, it's an awesome way for dads to bond while also getting outdoors. This can include when the infant has been a monster all day. You toss them in, start jogging, and you'd be amazed how quiet that baby will be. Seriously. Again, this is a win for both of you! Bonus tip: Make sure it's a stroller that collapses easily and can fit in one of your car trunks. You're not trying to gift him with a chore.
- Streaming services: Stay at home dad? That's sweet, man. But daytime TV is not kind to guys in their 20s-40s, other than Price Is Right, which is just the g.d. best. You don't want him just watching TV all day instead of playing with the baby, but it's also not fair to think he won't get bored when the baby does mercifully sleep - or needs long, long stretches of rocking - and he's stuck in the house. What about adding to the number of streaming services in the house? Adding Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, etc., means he won't be tethered to a TV, which is helpful, and even if it's cliche, guys do love technology. Just don't let him watch 12 Years a Slave on HBO Go while rocking his infant. Trust me on that one. It gets uncomfortable.
Reinforcing Their Manliness as a Father
It's not unexpected for a guy to have self-doubt creeping in when the baby is arriving; actually, that's the entire point of this site!
Will I be a good dad? I don't know what fathers are supposed to do! How will I balance everything? Will I get peed on? (Yes. Yes you will.)
A push present for the dad is a perfect opportunity to show them you have full confidence they can handle this and that you wouldn't want to be going through all of this baby journey with anybody but them. If you want to wait until after the baby is born to get him something, what about a sentimental gift?
- You can use the baby's footprints to make a piece of artwork for his office/workplace so he has a visual for being a proud dad. Make it easy for him to show off! A proud dad is an involved and caring dad.
- Frame a maternity photo and thank him for doing whatever was needed to make you feel comfortable all those months.
- Offer to pay for a tattoo for him with the baby's initials – if he's the tattoo type. I'm assuming you wouldn't offer to get him a tattoo if he's scared of needles or has the delicate skin of an author of a web site for new dads. That would be a dick move.
If he's not the sentimental type, you could go the pampering route. Dudes like to be pampered. If you didn't know this, it's the subject of every fourth segment on morning talk shows. A cool men's grooming kit reinforces the masculinity, for example. Other ideas: Home fitness equipment for the gym rat type. A fancy coffee/espresso machine to make up for those long nights ahead staying up with you. Subscriptions to new magazines are always welcome.
You Know Your Guy. Show Off What You Know.
Whatever your budget, the point isn't finding the "perfect" gift. This isn't some Black Friday pressure-packed shopping frenzy.
Whatever you go for, do it because you want to congratulate your husband for becoming a dad and thank him for his role in all of it. You can't go wrong with that!
Disclaimer: Some of the gift ideas are linked to my Amazon Associates account; I would get a commission if you were to buy through that link. I'm suggesting the product because I've used it and liked it!