GROWN UP: A bauble from baby daddy

Have you heard of a push present? Or maybe you know it by another name – baby mama gift or baby bauble?

It’s so on trend; it’s what the Diaper Genie or the baby wipe warmer were to the mid-’90s.

No, this isn’t a shower gift, but it can be registered for in advance.

A push present is a gift the father or partner gives to the mother to mark the occasion of her giving birth. This gift may be presented before the birth, after or in the delivery room.

It’s a trend that’s been popularized by celebrities in the past decade. Stylist Rachel Zoe received a $250,000, 10-carat diamond ring; Nicole Kidman was gifted a custom emerald necklace estimated at $120,000; and J. Lo takes the cake with a pair of earrings valued at $2.5 million plus a $300,000 canary diamond ring.

Most recently, Kim Kardashian West, who gave birth to her second child last month, wrote about the push present in a blog: “After nine months of pregnancy, it’s a sweet and well-deserved thank you. We women go through an entire pregnancy carrying a baby… of course it only makes sense that we get something amazing to show how amazing we are,” Kim said.

I think you are getting the picture about why this is a trend made popular by the rich and famous and can often feel uncomfortable to mothers and their loved ones.

“This pregnancy, I would love a Lorraine Schwartz diamond choker, like the ones I’ve worn before to the Art + Film Gala,” Kim said. “Too much? LOL!”

Her jewelry request can run up to $1 million.

While Kim’s comment might be hard to stomach given the troubled world we live in, it can also point to a larger and exciting shift for women.

In its purest form, the push present is a sign of support and love. Parents today are viewed as equal partners and while not necessarily extravagant, the gift can be a gesture of gratitude and admiration for carrying the child, especially after a difficult pregnancy or delivery.

I view this as huge progress. After all, fathers only started to be allowed and encouraged in the delivery room in the 1960s and ’70s.

Etiquette expert and author Pamela Holland said of the push present, “The standard is that there is no standard. It does make sense to have etiquette around wedding or baby shower gifts because you’re inviting other people into it. But this is far too intimate to have a rule.”

Most would say the baby itself is the gift.

I would agree. In my mind, it seems like an unnecessary extravagance and taking the focus away from the real present itself – the new child in your family.

Since I am not a mother and can be quick to judge, I got outside my thoughts and personal feelings on the matter and took the topic to Facebook – an easy captive audience of friends and mothers and the ultimate place to source options.

Within less than 24 hours, I had 17 friends respond, all mothers.

Most agreed push presents are unnecessary and stupid even. And many hated the term. Carissa rightly brought up that many women have Caesarians and the term push present leaves out a huge population of mothers, who, because of the term, unfairly feel undeserving because of the way their child was brought into the world.

Some had difficult pregnancies or the loss of a child and pointed out that a healthy baby was gift enough.

Two friends explained having a baby in their arms was all they needed. Laila said, “My ‘push present’ is nursing in my arms right now. I can’t think of a single thing I could be given that would make having her more special or memorable.”

Meghan echoed similar thoughts and said she was so over the moon about cuddling with her two children that any material gift paled in comparison.

Amie suggested instead of gifts, we revel in the amazing challenge of childbirth and the beauty of children.

Some explained the gesture was nice and appreciated but not required. What bothered many was the expectation of a gift from a husband or partner.

Many had keepsakes of their child’s birth but didn’t like the label of push present. A common gift was a simple piece of jewelry or charm with the child’s initials or birth date. Not flashy baubles, but a treasured keepsake they could wear daily and be reminded of the joy of that day.

Cassie said it was nice getting a small gift, just for her, that she could enjoy and that wasn’t a gift for the baby or nursery. It doesn’t have to be lavish but can be as special as a wedding band or engagement ring.

Sara pointed out it’s a personal choice for each couple and there isn’t a right or wrong answer. It can be a small memento of starting a family.

Kerry said she asked her husband for a necklace with her children’s initials, because she loved the idea and wanted it, not because it was expected. (She also suggested I avoid #pushpresent on social media unless I want to see extreme examples.)

Emily said a necklace with the new baby’s initials would be nice, but the best gift is the baby and the support of your partner.

Stephanie said it was a result of “keeping up with the Joneses” and that fathers deserve as much recognition, as part of the parenting team.

Meaghan and Jaime pointed out there were more important baby and nursery preparations to spend money on.

And what would a Facebook thread be without one’s mother chiming in? Mine said she didn’t understand the trends of push presents and babymoons (pre-baby vacations).

Some friends commented once, mulled the idea further, and then commented again.

I was blown away by their passion and camaraderie. The topic was just a jump-off point for talking about motherhood, birthing stories and the differing views around the same, unifying topic.

“We all need to give each other some space to be who we are and parent the best way we know how. Big diamonds work for some of us. Baby as the present works for others,” Aysha said. “We’re all doing the best we can and as my kids get older and I get more experience with this mothering thing, I realize there are many paths to being an excellent mother and person.”

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