Pushy Presents

My first introduction to the “push present” was a Bentley. No, no, no, not for me. That’s crazy talk. I saw it on The Real Housewives of Orange County as the wealthy mother zoomed around town in her new “baby bauble” (although really, a Bentley is hardly a bauble).

Statistics show the “push present,”  a present a partner gives to the mother after giving birth to their child is a growing trend. I’m curious as to who this trend growing amongst? Celebs like Rachel Zoe and Mariah Carey made the push present a thing, but are celebs the only ones raking in the gifts at birth? Are we the common folk growing this trend as well?

To me, the term “push present” feels well, pushy. It feels greedy. It feels entitled. It feels like the baby is secondary.

Proponents of the push present say things like “yes, the baby is gift enough but…” the but makes me feel like well, a butt for thinking a present is required for experiencing labor.

As one mom put it, “Labors really tough. It’s nice to have something to look forward to apart from the child of course.” Yes ma’am. It is really tough. But it’s more than just “one of dem days that a girl goes through.” It’s a monumental and special part of life that feels weakened by an “I had a baby and look at this gift I got!” moment.

Many women have being doing the labor sans gifts for centuries. While I believe in having things to look forward to, I know the thought of meeting my child at the end of labor was motivating me through each swear inducing contraction (I joke, sort of…), not a bracelet.

I’m just sayin’ this.

A present isn’t inherently greedy. If a husband wants to give his wife a gift out of the kindness and thoughtfulness of his heart, I’m all for it. But he shouldn’t do it because he’s told to or it’s expected.

I think it’s thoughtful to surprise a new mum with a trip for two post baby or a sentimental token that could possibly be gifted to the new baby one day. Again though, that should happen of the spouse’s own free will and choice and not out of guilt because he didn’t have the “burden” of pregnancy and labor or the need for his wife to have an answer to what she received as a pushy present.

I’m also just sayin’ this.

Ladies, treat yo self. Labor is really though. Having a newborn is really tough. Be kind to yourself after birth.

If that means you want your gams massaged, your toes painted, or your house to “shine like the top of the Chrysler building” through the angelic cleaning hands of someone else, treat yo self. I just think those things should be separate from the birthing experience and not a reward for labor; but a nod that you are a human being who needs help at times and an occasional indulgence to make you feel like a woman.

Image: Bentley emblem via olgaru79 / Shutterstock.com

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Dear Daughter, You’re About to Become a Sister

Dear Harper,

You probably won’t remember much of life before having a sister. It may be all you’ll ever know. I feel it paramount to tell you now, before life changes a bit abruptly for you, you’re going to be a great big sister. I know it. Deep in my bones.

The other night you cried out for me and as I rocked you and you drifted back to sleep, I whispered in your ear. I told you a lot of little things and I thought you asleep when I whispered, “you’re going to be the best big sister.” You surprised me with your softest, sweetest, raspiest, dreamiest reply of, “Yeah” as you nuzzled deeper into my neck. You are my girl. You are.

I know you are little. People ask me continually if you’re excited to be a sister. They ask me if you understand you’re going to be a sister. I know you’ll never quite be adequately prepared for the change of a new baby, but there is something in you that understands the importance of being a sister.

I feel this understanding comes because of the little soul that you are. The little soul that you came with.

You my girl are a feeler. A lover. An inquisitive little being who bounces through the day with excitement and tenacity. These traits make your sister lucky to have you in her life. There is so much she can learn from you.

You are continually interested in how people are feeling and are very perceptive at others’ emotions. You are gentle. You cry easily when others are unkind. The compassion you exhibit means everything in this world. I look forward to watching your tender soul with your new sister.

I wish I could impart some profound wisdom about what I’ve learned from being a sister but I realized, it’s not my wisdom to impart.

I want each of you, your sister and you, to be exactly whoever you want to be. Maybe that means you’ll be very similar. Maybe that means you’ll be completely different. But whatever, whoever you both decide to become, you’ll be uniquely wonderful and get to discover and create your sisterly relationship together.

I know that at times you’ll fight. I know at times you’ll get annoyed. I know at times you’ll say things that you regret. This is part of being a sister. Sisterhood is a lifelong class in discovering and becoming your best self as you learn to forgive, support, and love unconditionally.

I hope that she is your best friend like my sisters are to me.

As sisters, you’re bound for life. I pray that bond strengthens you and lightens you.

It’s big to become a sister, but you’re ready. We’re both as ready as we can be for this new adventure. Just know that I’ll always help you as the landscape of life changes. We’ll all grown and learn together. Let’s put on our brave wings, and fly into this new territory together.

Love,
Mama

Image: Loving on her sister aka a good foot rest

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Pregnancy Cravings: Get in My Belly

37 weeks/9 months

Ladies,

What is it about pregnancy that makes food one million (said in my best Dr. Evil voice) times more delicious (or sometimes disgusting, wha-wha)? As I’m rounding third base for home this pregnancy, I feel like eating is my sport of choice and having to breathe between bites is really hindering my game.

Sometimes, when I’m downing my third bowl of cereal or eating a whole sleeve of peppermint Joe Joe’s, I wonder if I’m alone in my pregnant indulgences. I try, bless my heart, to eat healthy, but sometimes, the come hither call of ice cream is too much to ignore. My body tells me I need it.  I’m wrist deep, three serving size spoonfuls in before I’ve “come to” from my ice cream eating blackout. No shame.

The thing about cravings are that they life-like in their demands and they must be met. How do I explain it for the non-pregnant crowd?

It is an insatiable desire for a particular food so great that in order to get it, one would willingly trade unnecessary body parts on the black market. Comprende?

I know it’s a pregnant stereotype to eat nonstop, but this pregnant face feeding train doesn’t care it’s cliche. It cannot be stopped.

The 90s television star with an unfortunate mullet put my current feelings about food so eloquently. Take it away Uncle Jesse, “have mercy.” Cereal, candy, ice cream why you taste so good?

My greatest pregnancy craving thus far: breakfast food. Unfortunately, not the steel cut oats and egg whites kind of breakfasts. More like the candy for breakfast types of food: waffles, pancakes, french toast. My desire is so great I cannot confirm or deny that I may walk around the house chanting, “What do we want? Waffles! When do we want them? Now!”

I know there are legends, of the urban type or sometimes real, about sending husbands out under crazy conditions to retrieve certain craving. In my case, my legendary tales involve a zombie-style, overly familiar autopilot, not sure how I got here until I did, drive to Chick-fil-A. Waffle fries. So wrong and so right.

I asked my pregnant posse who didn’t mind being outed for some dish on the dish that made them body part trading hungry during pregnancy.

My favorite confessions:

“I ate 6-9 long johns a week with my first. With my second, I had a thing for Costco polish dogs…embarrassing but true. I wasn’t a member back then, but I’d stealthily sneak in the exit for my fix. I felt like a criminal, but my body spoke to me; and it said “polish dog.’”

“Canned refried beans.” With her caveat of  “don’t judge me.”

Girl, you know I don’t judge it. This is a safe sharing environment with no repercussions. Let she who has not eaten some canned goods throw the first stone. I’ve downed one too many bags of gummy bears and sour patch straws to be pointing any crystallized sugar-covered fingers.

Let’s hear it ladies. Divulge that craving. Whether it be a bowl of dandan noodles, an In-N-Out burger, a rack of ribs, or copious amounts of sour skittles, help me live my last few weeks of pregnancy to their indulgent fullest by sharing those craving confessions.

Image: Documented cravings. Yes, I’m talking about the celebrity gossip too.

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Is There Anything to Gain from the Pain of the Cervix Check?

As I inch, or should I say centimeter (I slay me), my way to this due date, there’s another milestone that must be discussed.

The cervix check. Whoomp, there it is!

This is the point when pregnancy stops being polite and starts being real.

Call me dramatic, it’s my trademark, but the cervix check is worse than childbirth. I don’t know what they taught in med school back in the day, but it must have been something along the lines of, “if your patient doesn’t cry when you check their cervix then you’re doing it wrong.”

I don’t want to call my doctor out too much. Her bedside manner is impeccable and she’s listened to and assured an awful lot of hormonal tears from me, but dang gina, dem hands is rough.

My first pregnancy, I wasn’t prepared for the ol’ cervix check. I mean I’d had a pap smear and while not my best friend, no tears were shed. The cervix check though, ov vey. It was definitely a “like a virgin moment” and I don’t mean that in the way Madonna tries to spin it. There was nothing enjoyable about it.

The cervix check is not my favorite activity…but it is my least favorite activity.

I pity the fool who like me, so unassumingly, gets the most painful feel up of their life.

We’re not strangers my doctor and me. She brought my pride and joy, my darling first daughter into this world. Please ma’am, understand we’re close now. Next time, warn me if you’re going to do anything that will make me loathe you for an entire week.

Now that we’re all aware of how much I truly, madly, deeply hate the cervix check, let’s talk the dilemma.

The slightly wussy lady in me who despises pain, wants to opt out of all cervix checks until labor is literally taking my breath away.

However, the curious, glutton for punishment part of me wants to know, is there any reason to suspect, hope, dream that this baby might be coming early? Have the floodgates opened?

The problem is the dilation status messes with the ol’ head. It adds another level of crazy to the waiting game. Just because one dilates does not mean one immediately labors. It can take weeks.

I hear tales of women who walk around dilated to a 5 for weeks. WEEKS! I hear of women who go from 0 to 60 in 5.2 (figuratively speaking of course).

Theoretically, the cervix check means nothing. Like babies, cervixes do what they want, when they want. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’m curious, oh so curious if anything is happening. It might not make a bit of difference in predicting her arrival to know the dilation digits, but maybe, just maybe it might?

I can’t get you outta my head cervix check.

Is the pain worth it to find out if my business is doing any meaningful business?

Image: Gloved hands via Dan Kosmayer/Shutterstock.com

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The Art of Distraction

To distract myself from quite possibly a very premature countdown to baby girl #2, I like to dabble in the goings on of celebrity-ville.

For heaven’s sake it’s hard to ignore the people a lot love to hate when there’s just so much business to report from show business.

It’s awards season with lovable new moms and baby bumps to applaud, Destiny’s Child reunited (Bootylicious is my pregnancy anthem), JT released a new song (please let it be the #1 single on the day when baby girl makes her appearance), controversial baby Kimye is keeping the tabloids in business, and the royals confirmed their due date and the theory that those shorter, darker months of September-December make for good baby makin’.

Dang 2013, go on brush you’re shoulders off. You’re off to an impeccable pop culture start. The sixteen-year-old in me and the pregnant lady looking for a distraction thanks you.

I’ll admit I felt a dorky superfan camaraderie with the pregnant ladies and new moms at the Golden Globes on Sunday. I love families and their love for their families made me feel like, “Stars, they’re just like us!” Heck, Ben Affleck’s open loving for his wife and children brought the waterworks. Class act sir.

Shout out to Kristen Bell for her good form dressing that baby bump. If the 17 picture texts I sent to my sisters and best friend when trying to figure out an outfit for a simple work holiday party while pregnant is any indication, I’m sure it was stressful deciding which pregnant look to channel at THE GOLDEN GLOBES. It’s a tough call when temptations like belly painting abound or throwing fashion caution to the wind with some baby midriff. You done good kid. Beautiful.

Super shout out to Adele, you talented new mom lady you. I totally applauded the mums’ night out and read between the lines at the “pissing yourself laughing.” Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hilarious hosts and no match for the weakened pee muscles of a new mom. It’s worth it. I would have peed my gazillion dollar designer dress too. What are the kids saying these days? Yolo Adele. Yolo.

And of course the royal baby. It’s fantastic news that the Duchess is feeling better and super news that the world can go on official royal baby watch for July. Let her classy maternity style fill up Pinterest boards everywhere and everyone give a collective “ahhh” that a July due date means the baby could be born on Princess Diana’s birthday.

It’s such an exciting year to be a newborn babe. There’s good celebrity company and plenty of future factoids to supply VH1′s best year ever.

It’s like the celebrity gods parted the clouds and said, “Bekka, having a baby in the monumental celeb baby year of 2013 is your reward for having an uncanny capacity and brain space for all this frivolous, yet fun nonsense.”

Image: Kate Middleton via Mr Pics/Shutterstock.com

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