Push presents: Should moms get a gift for giving birth?
No matter how you slice it — pun intended — being pregnant and giving birth is hard, and sometimes traumatic. There's fatigue, nausea, joint pain, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, a million blood draws, the constant anxiety, not to mention the actual act of either delivering a baby vaginally or having a C-section and the pain and recovery that comes with both.
It’s a big deal. But does it deserve a gift?
“Push presents” are what these post-birthing gifts are called in the popular vernacular, and it’s quite a polarizing practice. Some say the child you’ve brought into the world is a gift enough. Others say that birthing parents should get to treat themselves to whatever they want as a reward for going through it all.
The idea behind push presents actually stems from India and is centuries old. The concept is modeled after the ritual called godh bharai, which is like a baby shower in which an expectant mother is lavished with gifts or cash. In Hindi, godh bharai means “to fill the lap,” and the celebration takes place in the last trimester of pregnancy to encourage the pregnant person to rest, avoid chores and errands.
Though "push presents" aren't new, social media and celebrity culture have helped popularize them, and up the ante. Jennifer Lopez reportedly received $2.5 million earrings as her push present from then-husband Marc Anthony when she gave birth to their twins. Kim Kardashian received a million-dollar choker necklace, while Kylie Jenner’s push present was a $1.4 million Ferrari.
“I think push presents should be a requirement,” says Catie McBride of Baltimore, whose husband gifted her a remote start for her car after she gave birth. “It’s a nice gesture for your partner to show you how much they appreciate you, especially sacrificing so much to bring new life into this world.”
In some cases, it's the new mom doing the shopping. On my first real outing with my 5-week-old daughter, we walked the mall and I fell in love with a pair of magenta suede Tory Burch loafers. I had to have them. They weren’t something I would normally buy for myself, so they became my push present — or as my husband called it, a “cut-open present,” since I had a C-section.
“I bought myself a Kate Spade diaper bag as my own personal push present,” says Mikayla Stewart of Binghamton, N.Y. “I think birth is rough no matter what and moms deserve to treat themselves if they want."
There’s a wide array of options for push presents. Some birthing parents prefer luxury items like handbags and shoes, while others opt for a birthstone ring or necklace to commemorate their child’s birth month.
“My husband got me a necklace and earring set with our baby’s birthstone,” says Alex Trusk of Jefferson City, Mo. “My friend encouraged him to get me a push present, but I wasn’t going to be upset if I didn’t receive one.”
Krista Nigro of Portland, Ore., had the future in mind when she chose her push present. “We struggled with infertility for years, conceived via IUI and then I had a rough pregnancy,” she says. “For my gift, I asked for a nice pearl necklace with the intention of giving it to our daughter to wear on her wedding day. I thought it would be a nice story for an heirloom.”
Not every mom sees the need to be showered with gifts; Jessy Stoneroad of Halifax, Pa. notes the impracticality of buying jewelry or similar given "we are going to be spending so much on the baby."
“Just having my baby was a reward enough for me," Lana Wyatt of Suffolk, Va., agrees "She was six weeks early and no present would have made me feel better other than her being home from the hospital.”
There's also the argument that the best way to show a new mom some appreciation doesn't come in a little blue box; it's by simply pitching in.
“I could see myself being happy about a sentimental gift of some kind," Isabell Nelson of The Colony, Texas, says. "But in all honesty, I appreciated cooking, cleaning and taking care of the baby way more than an expensive present. The best push present was having my husband there to support me throughout labor. That wasn’t an easy job, either!”
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