Pushing for a ‘push present’

Today’s Associated Press story in the Life section of The Forum was of great interest to me, a pregnant woman. It’s all about “push presents,” a growing trend where new moms receive sometimes extravagant gifts (think diamonds) following delivery. Here’s an excerpt of the story by Leanne Italie:

Gina Crosley-Corcoran, who writes The Feminist Breeder blog, was pregnant with her third child in April when she found herself ruminating on the subject, in response to some doubters on her Facebook page:

“As I sit here in my hugely pregnant state, suffering from heartburn, gas, leg pain, hip pain, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, heat flashes, gastric upset, swelling, and everything else that comes with having an entirely formed human being kicking around in my womb, who will soon demand on coming OUT of my womb through a relatively small orifice in a not-at-all-pleasant-feeling manner, I cannot help but think Seriously?!?! Seriously. A freaking diamond is the LEAST he can do.”

There’s no official history of push presents, a term some object to on grounds that it cheapens the occasion. By some accounts, post-partum bling seems to have made its way to the United States over the past decade or so from England, where a ring was in order, and from India, where gold jewelry was the way to go.

The idea wasn’t lost on jewelers. The retailer Mayors took on the tradition in a 2005 ad campaign for diamond studs: “She delivered your first born, now give her twins.” Fortunoff thought up a push present registry in 2007. That was the year BabyCenter.com surveyed 30,000 women and found 38 percent of new moms got a push present – and 55 percent of the still-pregnant wanted one.

I hadn’t heard of push presents the first time I pushed in March 2008 (for 2-plus hours, I might add).  And if my husband had, he didn’t participate in the practice. The only ice I got was the mountain of ice chips Craig shoveled in my mouth throughout delivery, possibly the sweetest gesture I could have imagined.

In fact, it didn’t occur to either of us that he “should” have bought me anything until we were back home with our newborn and a floral bouquet arrived at the door from my in-laws. My husband’s stepmother later said she sent the pink-petaled arrangement because she noticed Craig hadn’t gotten me any flowers while we were in the hospital.

Suddenly, and solely because someone else had suggested it, I felt a little gypped. “I was in labor for 17 hours and you couldn’t even buy me some roses?!?!?” Craig claimed ignorance and exhaustion. I think he was maybe trying to make up for it two months later when he bought me my first Mother’s Day present: a pale-blue aquamarine pendant, our new daughter Eve’s birthstone.

This time around, I know about push presents (Callers to Suze Orman’s show sometimes ask if their families can afford one), but I’m still not expecting diamonds.  If that’s what some women want, fine for them. If the new mom’s partner feels compelled to buy her an extravagant gift to mark the occasion, I think that’s sweet. But it’s not a priority for our family.

Roses, however, may be in order, or some other small gesture of appreciation for all that pushing.

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