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Pay Up; I Just Gave Birth

For a significant portion of women, the "push" doesn't just mean popping the baby out. The New York Times writes that more than a third of women receive "push presents" for giving birth. And about 55 percent of women expect rewards for having a baby, according to BabyCenter.com

"It's a way to honor a mother giving her emotions, body and hormones over to a baby for nine months, culminating in an experience which, when done naturally, redefines the meaning of pain. And when not done naturally, it's still an act of sacrifice," Sandra Miller of Arlington, Mass., told the New York Times.

Women in the Times story tell of receiving jewelry, art and even a hot tub.

I admit I'm probably in the minority here, but I just don't get it. In the days and weeks after having my boys, the last thing on my mind was me. My dreary waking thoughts were focused on the new life that needed taking care of. Eat, sleep, poop. That's all I could talk about for months. Not jewelry; not clothes; not designer diaper bags. Simply the basics.

Plus, if my husband -- or any other family member -- had tried to buy me some trinket, I would have encouraged a much more important need. Put the money in a 529 for the kid. After all, college is going to cost a fortune!

Did you get or give a gift with the birth of a child? Did you expect one?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  December 10, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
Previous: The Debate: Are We Too Materialistic? | Next: Trouble With Tantrums

Comments


I'm expecting my first in April and I kind of hope I will get some kind of trinket, jewellery to celebrate the birth. Something that I can hand down to a daughter and son and say I got this when you were born. Maybe this is too materialistic, but I like the idea of having something to commemorate important dates, like having a wedding band. Obviously I don't need a band to remember I'm married and I won't need a piece of jewellery to to remember the birth of my child, but I still think it would be nice.

Posted by: expectant mother | December 10, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I got a ring after my son which I wear on my right hand every day and makes me think of him and that day frequently! I'm all for it. For my daughter we were more practical and I got a new car to accomodate the additional car seat, so I'm less fuzzy about that one. But I cherish that ring as I do my wedding set. It marks the day I became a mom! I hope you find something memorable expectant mom! I don't think it is materialistic at all.

Posted by: Moxiemom | December 10, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Do what? A present for the mother for having a baby? Agree with Stacey - put the money in a 529.

The "present" that's appropriate for a new mother is support - give her time to herself; help with all those things she needs help with, whether they be home, work, or personal; and show her the love and affection she deserves.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | December 10, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine any gift more precious than my beautiful, healthy baby - each time I had one. And when I had a baby who was very sick - the gifts of friendship and support - the neighbor who dropped off groceries - brought me to tears.

This reminds me of my childhood, when we received modest, small gifts for Christmas and when I returned to school, everyone endlessly inquired to one another, "What'd ya get?" It seemed so un-Christmas to me then - as if we were all missing the point.

However, every family has its own traditions and I think the idea of an heirloom to mark the wonderful new life is also lovely.

Posted by: Amelia | December 10, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I had some friends bring flowers and candy but nothing big like jewelery. I guess my husband dropped the ball. Overall, I have never heard of giving the mother a gift for something like that. We were in a daze after our kid was born. Maybe we will be more alert after #2.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 10, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I think some couples just want to splurge on something indulgent and use the new baby as their excuse.

Posted by: DandyLion | December 10, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I had heard of push presents, but thought they were a joke. I definitely didn't expect anything. DH did buy me an inexpensive charm in the shape of a baby carriage, but I'm still not sure if it was a "push present" or just a Christmas present that he decided to give me early.

Posted by: newsahm | December 10, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

My dad gave my mom a plain gold band with an engraved design when I was born [cough] twenty-nine years ago. It wasn't so much a "go you, you gave me a baby!" as it was "congratulations, you're a mother". I don't think she got a present when my siblings were born.

About ten years ago, my mom had that ring, her wedding ring, and her engagement ring welded together, and wears them all the time.

I don't know what it meant to my mom, but I always loved that ring. It made me feel special, seeing that my mom always wore something that celebrated my birth.

Posted by: popslashgirl | December 10, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Push presents are just the start of a ridiculously escalating glorification of everything related to our children. Push presents, christening gifts, gifts for children when they "graduate" from kindergarten or pre-school (!) - all of these are ridiculous to me. And it just gets worse as the kids grow up.

Much as I hate the thought of an economic repression (or, God forbid, depression), it would do wonders to make people be a little more grateful for what they have, a little more compassionate for those that are less fortunate and maybe just a little bit less materialistic.

imho...

Posted by: jen | December 10, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

My husband surprised me with an anniversary band after we had our first. It was something he knew I had always wanted, and I was incredibly surprised and touched. I certainly wasn't expecting a present of any sort, which probably made it that much more special. After my second (again, no expectations on my end), he gave me a necklace that is also cherished.

For me personally, it was very touching, and certainly in part because I did not expect it. It's completely in line with my feelings about gifts from him: I'd rather receive a $10 bouquet of flowers from Safeway on any old day than a $100 bouquet of roses from a florist on an occasion like Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. So in terms of a "deposit" in our emotional bank account, these were huge.

In my case, the first present was financially significant, while the second was not. But it really is the thought that counts, and I think I would have cherished a much less expensive present just as much. I just hope these don't become "expected" -- because then they won't be as special.

Posted by: Jen | December 10, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I got diamond earrings. My husband calls it "baby bling" and thinks the tradition is stupid, but did it anyway. I'm all for it. I had a miserable pregnancy and it was nice for him to show some appreciation, and to get something sparkly.

Posted by: jodi | December 10, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

My husband brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers but I never expected anything more than his love and support.

My parents pleasantly surprised me with 3 months of a cleaning service. They said that I need the time to rest and be with the baby. They did the same after both children were born.

Posted by: MD Mom | December 10, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

My husband gave me a gift after each child. Both were meaningful as they related to the child/children. For my daughter, he gave me earrings with her birthstone, which I plan to pass on to her now that her ears are pierced. For my son, I got a charm with 2 little children on it with both their names and birthdates engraved on them (this was a few months after). I wear it a lot. My kids love to look at it and read their names. I tell them that by wearing it, they are right next to my heart, even when I am at work. I didn't consider the gifts rewards for the pregnancy or anything. But, they were nice sweet gestures from my husband. We also started 529 plans - a very good idea.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | December 10, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't think there should be a big deal made out of this issue. My husband gave me wonderful pieces of jewelry when each of our two children were born -- they remind me on a regular basis how wonderful, exhausting, life changing those times were. I certainly did not expect it but very much appreciated it.

I do not think the "push present" is an indication of increasing materialistic tendencies in our society or "the start of a ridiculously escalating glorification of everything related to our children." It does not matter if it is big or small, but every mom would appreciate a gesture to congratulate her on the birth of a child.

Of course, there will always be those that EXPECT some bling ... but I would argue that they expect fancy gifts on a regular basis, not just when the baby comes.

Really. Overall, the issue is not a big deal.

Posted by: iMummy | December 10, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I did not get a gift when my daughter is born. I also did not expect one. We hope to have another child and while I'd never be one to refuse a gift from my husband, I also would never expect one. (I also believe the baby is the gift!) :0)

Posted by: vienna mom | December 10, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I think all of these people have way too much money. We have become an amazingly self-indulgent culture.

Posted by: gp | December 10, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I first heard of this practice when my SIL had her first baby and my BIL gave her a ring. She seemed to think this was just a normal part of having a newborn--sleepless nights, spit-up stained clothes, and new jewelry. All of her friends received similar gifts when their babies were born.

When I was pregnant with my first, my husband asked me about this and I told him that I thought the practice was kind of strange. While giving birth might not be easy and is certainly a momentous occasion, you have a BABY to mark the occasion. Why would you need or want jewelry on top of that?

Posted by: Sarah | December 10, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

My wife & I are expecting our first.

I hadn't thought about giving her a "push" present (what a lovely name...)

After all, I'm still waiting for my engagement gift from her.

:-)

Posted by: Deprived? | December 10, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

After the birth of my first daughter, my friend's mom (a woman I am very close to) sent me a gift basket of comfy slippers, scented lotion and bath items. I thought it was a touching way to remind me to take care of myself during a time when all of my focus was on my baby. I have since sent similar baskets to the moms I know.

I think that requesting a large gift because you gave birth is absurd.

Posted by: Momof5 | December 10, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

My husband would give me jewelry for my birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, and our anniversary if I let him, yet it didn't occur to him to give me something after the birth of our child. Nor did it occur to me. Baby is reward enough. There are a lot of people with extra money in the bank. They'll spend it how they choose. Then their neighbors will feel the pathetic need to keep up, and BabyCenter and WeddingCenter and EngagementCenter and NewHouseCenter and FirstDayOfKindergartenCenter and GraduationFromPreSchoolCenter will call it a tradition and make the insanity worse.

Posted by: atb | December 10, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

My mother gave me the medal from her 1st marathon after I gave birth to my daughter, which was both touching and fitting.

But, as I'm generally not into bling, pretty much any gift would be in the shadow of the new baby.

Posted by: julia | December 10, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I had heard of the push present trend before and found it ridiculous and materialistic. The article in the Times just reinforced my views. A healthy baby was the present I received for pregnancy and giving birth, plus a lot of amazing support from family and friends. Maybe I appreciated her more because we had some frightening issues in the early weeks of her life. Plus, my dad was terminally ill during my whole pregnancy and died exactly a week after meeting our daughter in person for the first time, so I guess I was a lot more focused on what really is precious around that time.

My husband gives me truly meaningful presents on a daily basis by doing things like getting up early with our toddler, playing with her, bringing home flowers when I have a bad day, and just generally being a terrific father and husband. And of course, saying, "I'll do it" when there's a poopy diaper to be changed. And honestly, just seeing how much he loves her fills my heart with joy.

Posted by: restonmom | December 10, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I think people are making way too much of these push presents. It's not like any mom is spending her first days as a mom gazing at her new earrings, or at her new piece of art or what have you. The dad to be, at some point, goes out and buys something for her, as a way to say let's celebrate something that is, all have to admit, monumental in anyone's life, and he gives it to the mom sometime soon after the birth, and, like all presents, it's a nice sentiment and she spends a few moments enjoying it and his thoughtfulness and that's that. No biggie. My husband got me a necklace with our daughter's name on it, and gave it to me in the hospital. I love it, wear it everyday but did it distract me? Bankrupt us? C'mon. Why the contro?

Posted by: chicagomom | December 10, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I certainly wasn't expecting anything, but my husband gave me a pretty silver necklace with a mother & child pendant on it. It wasn't terribly expensive but it was definitely the thought that counted in this case! I still wear it and remember that day. I do think that a large present (diamonds!) is kind of crazy when your household expenses are about to increase so much.

Posted by: PLS | December 10, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Nah, but I'm not big into getting gifts, anyway. I had a horrible spinal headache for almost a week after DD was born and could not even sit up, so my "present" was that DH did 100% of the baby care (except for feeding) that week until I could get back on my feet. No epidural for me this time- not going through that again!

Posted by: reston, va | December 10, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I posted a story about women demanding push presents on my facebook site with a note about not marrying that kind of woman and was beaten bloody for not "loving", "supporting" or "cherishing" my hypothetical wife as much as the guy in the de Beers commercial.

Posted by: aleks | December 10, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

A gift on any occasion, when given with love, is a nice thing to do. However, for those of us who choose not to have children, it becomes quite tedious listening to people constantly complain about the hardships of pregnancy/birth/child-rearing/etc. Special treatment should not be expected for what is essentially a voluntary condition, and the rest of the world should not be expected to bend over backwards once the child is born.

Posted by: anon | December 10, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh I think mothers deserve a ton of consideration and deference. I'm just not sure why it should come in a box from Tiffany's.

Posted by: aleks | December 10, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

MD Mom, your parents rock!
My spouse would never think of buying me jewelry as he knows I would not appreciate it and would in fact be irritated by the expenditure. That said, he bought me a very nice new road bike about 6 weeks after my DD was born. Now THAT is a good present!

Posted by: Olney | December 10, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"I don't think there should be a big deal made out of this issue."

Spoken like someone who received several pieces of jewelry for doing something that trazillions of women have done before. Sensitive much?

Posted by: fake99 | December 10, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

You know, I'm usually the first one to decry mindless materialism, and dig in my heels at something that "everybody does", but if we could have easily afforded a hot tub when my DD was born, I would have bought one for DW, so she could go soak for an hour and de-stress. Instead, we had been planning on replacing a TV anyway, so we got a huge HD RPTV to watch movies while we both stayed home for the first couple of months. If that's something you'd do anyway, go for it, but don't feel pressured by anyone's expectations...except maybe your spouse's!

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | December 10, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

It's making it an official societal expectation that people compete about that ruins it, not the idea itself - much like engagement presents were a much more charming concept before everyone became obsessed with diamond solitaires, the bigger the better.
I, too, instinctively recoil when I hear "push present," but then I remember my favorite necklace - my father bought it for my mother soon after my birth, she passed it on to me when I turned 25, and I recently wore it for my wedding.
EXPECTING a certain dollar-amount gift is awful, as are jewelry industry attempts to designate one particular item as the only appropriate option (diamond solitaire for engagement, now, diamond earrings for baby?), but there's nothing wrong with commemorating any particular milestone of importance to you with a keepsake. If you start caring about the price of the gift, or equating it any kind of "payment", THEN it goes from charming to sad.

Posted by: Grosver | December 10, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

My husband brought me dinner in the hospital from one of my favorite restaurants. He HATES the place (I go with girlfriends) and it was a little drive away from the hospital but he worked it out with them; borrowed a hot cooler (not sure what they are called), ordered my favorite meal (sans wine), and schlepped it over to the hospital. Total cost was maybe $20 but was in fact the nicest thing he could have done. He followed it up with lots of support at home - diapers, fetching me the baby in the middle of the night, etc. We took a trip before #1 was born and we're taking another solo trip before #2. I guess these could be pre-emptive push presents, but I think of it as ways to use up vacation before the end of the year.

Posted by: Anny | December 10, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I got jewelry gifts when my first two were born. Both were "from the baby" and will be their birthday presents on a special-occasion birthday (maybe 18 or 21). I love to wear them and know how they came to be and what they symbolize. I assume no. 3 will have something for me, too.

Posted by: 2with1moreinApril | December 10, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh thank goodness an article on this "push present" that is rational. My wife and I are expecting our first in May and all I have heard from others, not her mind you, is you have to get her a "push present". A couple's budget is already going to be strained with the bundle of joy, don't need to add to it by plucking down a semester's worth of tuition for a bracelet. I would like to know the husband that ruined it for the rest of us! Haha.

Posted by: Jeff S. | December 10, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Where do these 'gifts' come from? Give me a break. Another reason you muthas want to be put up on a pedastal.
"Eat, sleep, poop. That's all I could talk about for months." Gosh, I bet you were a joy to be around. The biggest reason people who don't have kids don't want to be around people with kids --- you're BOOORRRRING.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Wow. So many of you are judgemental! What is the harm if a husband wants to thank his wife/show his appreciation for the months of sacrifice and pain and discomfort that is a pregnancy and delivery? Is it the notion of the expectation of a gift that offends you all? If it's unsolicited and is given out of love and genuine affection, where's the problem?

Posted by: Due any day now | December 10, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Special treatment should not be expected for what is essentially a voluntary condition..."

OK, any man that doesn't offer an obviously pregnant woman his seat on the bus qualifies himself as a selfish jerk in my book.

And any woman recovering from childbirth SHOULD expect special treatment, if not for anything else, it's doctor's orders!

Posted by: DandyLion | December 10, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I can easily see why push presents are appreciated and cherished.

What bothers me is that it's another occasion on which MEN are expected to buy jewelry for WOMEN. Like the engagement ring. Today with many women earning the same or more than their spouses, it seems like a throwback to me.

Posted by: Green Mtns | December 10, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I think this push present phenomenon is limited to the NYC elite money set, frankly. At least in terms of the $$ ones.

Posted by: Dad with Kids from A-Z | December 10, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Green Mtns,
I'm not for push presents BUT it's not a throwback until MEN are able to be pregnant for nine months and push that baby out!

Posted by: julia | December 10, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

This sounds an awful lot like a 'guilt' present. Mothers get jewelry but hookers get cash for doing the same thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Silly me; I thought a healthy child was "gift" enough.

Posted by: Kim | December 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I think this push present phenomenon is limited to the NYC elite money set, frankly. At least in terms of the $$ ones.

Posted by: Dad with Kids from A-Z | December 10, 2007 11:20 AM


In one of my circles of acquaintances, I was the only one who did not get some sort of tangible push present. We live in flyover country. I'd say the HHLD income of these people is around $100K, which is a decent living here. Generally one-income families that got the push present. None of my working friends received one - not sure if that's because they didn't want one, their husbands didn't think of it, they exert more control over hhld money....

Posted by: Anny | December 10, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if you would consider it a "push" present, but my mom received a silver cup with our name on it when each of us were born. I think it was more of a family tradition. We all received our cups when we moved out - still have mine!

Posted by: ME | December 10, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

A gift spontaneously given by a partner or other loved one is a beautiful thing. I know many women who have cherished jewelry that they were surprised with and would never say that was wrong.

In contrast, a gift expected and demanded by a woman who thinks she deserves recompense for giving birth is greedy, materialistic, and utterly tacky. But we've all known for years that a certain set of NYC elite and their followers are materialistic and tacky by nature.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

i absolutely wanted a present when i had my daughter! of course it wasn't necessary, but come on--who doesn't like presents? my husband gave me a bracelet with sapphires for our september baby girl, and then a necklace after our son, but the necklace isn't his birthstone and i never wear it. i didn't expect gifts from anyone but him, and in those first few months, it was definitely the food and company from friends that made the most difference to me. but later, once i was out and about again, i loved wearing the bracelet that reminded me of my daughter's birth, and i look forward to passing it on to her as an heirloom.

Posted by: vikki | December 10, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I think it's more about reassuring the woman that the loss of physical attractiveness resulting from childbirth doesn't diminish her value in the relationship or her husband's love for her. It's a scary time for some women, to feel that they are losing an important source of attractiveness to their partner.

Posted by: z | December 10, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

My GIFT at each birth were my healthy baby boys - 8 lbs., 12-1/2 ounces and 1 lb., 13 ozs. The preemie has grown up to be a fine yound man. I had no doubts -- he was a feisty little thing at birth.

As grown men now, I still look at them as gifts from God.

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 10, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"I'm expecting my first in April and I kind of hope I will get some kind of trinket, jewellery to celebrate the birth. Something that I can hand down to a daughter and son and say I got this when you were born. Maybe this is too materialistic, but I like the idea of having something to commemorate important dates, like having a wedding band. Obviously I don't need a band to remember I'm married and I won't need a piece of jewellery to to remember the birth of my child, but I still think it would be nice.

Posted by: expectant mother | December 10, 2007 07:23 AM"

My Dad gave my Mom a beautiful, gold wedding band when I was born to replace the one he gave her when they got married. He was so happy to get a daughter. My Mom gave it to me on my 30th birthday and it had very special meaning to me.

Posted by: luv2laff11 | December 10, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Baby bling -- every time! And just because she appreciates doesn't make her greedy and doesn't mean she love and appreciates her children any less. That's just how we do it -- and it's not for everyone.

Oh, there was no "loss of physical attractiveness" from having babies -- I found that comment to be somewhat absurd.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 10, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the idea of getting a token is lovely-- I didn't get one for either of my kids and sort of wish I had received something-- but I think it is odd to say the husband buys such and such-- it's HOUSEHOLD income after you are married. It's our money he is spending on the gift not his-- at least he better not have "his" pot of money that I don't know about!

I'd be very upset if money that should go to the mortgage went instead to an overpriced gift that drops half it's value as soon as it is out the door. But if your household can afford it, I advise husband's to do it-- just talk about it first with your wife-- "I'd like to get you some jewelery in celebration of this birth-- something that could be passed down to next generation and that you can enjoy now-- any store or particular item you recommend?" I would have loved that!

Posted by: baby-work | December 10, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Since I have a phobia about talking about baby stuff when pregnant, I never broached this topic with my husband and he never talked about it with me-- so it didn't happen and I'm glad he didn't. I fear it would have attracted the evil eye (yes, i am actually from this country and from this era-- I don't know where this stuff comes to me!).

But maybe I can get a "push" type present when my child is weaned. Breastfeeding has been very difficult for me and I'll be in the mood to really celebrate when it is over. Seems like there is something Bibical about celebrating weaning -- so there is some tradition there.

Posted by: capitol Hill mom | December 10, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't realized so many people see pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding as horrible things that need to be counteracted with gifts!

Then there's the underlying entitlement.

If a man wants to thank you for carrying and bringing his baby into the world with a trinket, so be it, but I'd rather he do it because he's actually thankful, not because he feels pressure. Oh, and he doesn't get to use the bling as an excuse not to help!

Posted by: atb | December 10, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I are expecting our first child in May -- after two years of miscarriages and specialists. We were discussing this article, and a relative's question about where we were spending our "babymoon," and thankfully agree that seeing our new daughter come into this world and into our lives is absolutely the most meaningful blessing, payment or token we could ever expect or hope to receive.

Posted by: John | December 10, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, there was no "loss of physical attractiveness" from having babies -- I found that comment to be somewhat absurd."

Well, maybe it didn't happen in your marriage, but it definitely happens to others. Just because you didn't experience it doesn't mean other couples don't. Lifetime of urinary incontinence, anyone? Huge abdominal scar? Hormonal weight gain and massive sagging? I think it's totally normal and human to feel insecure and vulnerable during childbearing, and the present is totally understandable because it allays those fears. It's not unproblematic, but it makes perfect sense to me as a phenomenon.

Posted by: z | December 10, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"I hadn't realized so many people see pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding as horrible things that need to be counteracted with gifts!"


What exactly does warrant a gift? Is a birthday a good enough reason or not? How about an anniversary? I think to give gifts on momentous occasions it is nice to mark it with a gift of some significance, material or otherwise. My husband and I exchanged wedding gifts on our wedding day that we continue to cherish, but we don't exchange gifts on our anniversary because what we do for each other every day is our gift to each other. Every relationship is different. If a spouse wants to give a gift on the occasion of a birth - what do you care?

Posted by: Moxiemom | December 10, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

physical attractiveness is subjective, and it's more important for a husband to reinforce his wife's beauty than to buy her "bling"

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 10, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The point I'm trying to make, Arlington Dad, is that anxiety about loss of attractiveness underlies the trend. Are you disputing that?

Posted by: z | December 10, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Z - Yes, I am disputing that. Husbands find many ways to comfort their wives and make them feel beautiful. On the flip side, giving a "push present" because it is expected doesn't necesarily make a statement. I'll bet there are plenty of men who give push presents who make no other effort to make their wives feel better about their attractiveness. And if you are trying to be kind to your wife, and you have the means to present her with baby bling, that's just a small part of the "making her feel good" equation.

By the way, she hasn't bought me a darn thing to make me feel better about my ever-growing blad spot.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 10, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Years ago, I helped one of my officemates shop for a birth gift for his wife. She and I were about the same size, so he dragged me into jewelry shops one afternoon to help him pick out a gold rope necklace that was massive but wouldn't overpower her slender neck.

My parents gave me a very nice watch after I gave birth to their first grandchild and are now planning on doing the same when my sister-in-law gave birth. It certainly wasn't something I demanded or expected, but I did appreciate it.

(My husband has no taste in jewelry and isn't allowed to buy stuff for me. . .he gave me a very nice techno toy that is now obsolete.)

Posted by: Herndonmom | December 10, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"I hadn't realized so many people see pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding as horrible things that need to be counteracted with gifts!"

I don't think that's really the point- I think (as others have said) that it's just a way to mark an important occasion with a keepsake. If husbands want to do this for their wives, why not? I think the main thing is that be something done from the heart and not out of a sense of obligation (or fear).

Posted by: reston, va | December 10, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, it doesn't have to be true in every case to be a relevant underlying motivation for the trend as a whole. Anyway, I have to go-- nice chatting with ya.

Posted by: z | December 10, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh! just thought of something- my ILs gave us a video camera when DD was born so we could use it to take movies of her as she grew up. That was a great gift!

Posted by: reston, va | December 10, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I believe the majority of the gifts people have mentioned ARE marking a momentous occassion, like getting married. Then there are people who see pregnancy as something bad that jewelry will distract them from. It's not that they want to mark an occassion. They want a reward. It's not the same thing. And it has nothing to do with "caring." I'm commenting on the need people feel to receive a gift.

Posted by: atb2 | December 10, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I know many people who have had utterly miserable pregnancies for the entire time. I loved being pregnant, but I could see how if you vomited and were hospitalized a little "reward" might be nice.

Posted by: Moxiemom | December 10, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Heaven help me!

A present for having a baby?
Do flowers count?

The baby is the one that gets the presents!

Posted by: RoseG | December 10, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I think I just envision women in recovery asking "Where's my jewelry? BabyCenter says I get diamond studs for this." I think a thoughtful piece of jewelry from your husband is a kind and grateful thing. The expectation, not so much.

Posted by: atb2 | December 10, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, but if you DO expect something, tell your husband! He may not know that's what you want!

Posted by: atb2 | December 10, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

My husband gave me jewelry for each birth. I am not a jewelry person, but I adore both pieces and wear them frequently. He also gave me diamond earrings on our wedding day. So those things, along with my wedding rings, make up my entire collection, with the exception of a watch.

I don't see what the big deal is about what anyone does. (Pretty much about anything, actually.) I never saw baby gifts as anything more than commemorating the event, not as a "Well done, you" kind of gift.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | December 10, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"The baby is the one that gets the presents! "

What exactly does the baby "want" or "need" at that point besides milk and diapers. The baby shower gifts are mostly for the parents as well! Let's be honest.

Posted by: Moxiemom | December 10, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

My husband didn't do this, but I don't condemn the practice. Why does this have to be considered materialistic? People have been giving gifts to commemorate various occasions throughout human history, for crying out loud. No one said it had to be diamonds (though if that's in your budget, have at it!) A token from a husband to a wife on the occasion of the birth of their child? I'm just trying to figure what's so wrong about that? I think it's sweet.

Posted by: mdmom | December 10, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Push gift, huh? So if a husband buys a trinket for the ocasion and the pregnancy ends up in a c-section, should he return the gift? LOL!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

It's all just part of the rampant and increasing consumerism and materialism that devour everything, from the banal to the sacred, in our society. Full commercialization here we come! Why not have an ad on your stomach as you're giving birth? It can be the Taco Bell birth!

Posted by: Ryan | December 10, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to agree with z -- there is a loss of attractiveness during and after. Stretch marks, swollen ankles, vomiting, saggy boobs, yeah, really attractive.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"Why does this have to be considered materialistic?"

Rare gems and metals have no other practical purpose than to flaunt wealth or an image therof, so by definition, ownership of diamonds and gold are materialistic. I don't think anyone can name anything that's a greater symbol of materialism than expensive jewerlery.

Posted by: DandyLion | December 10, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

My present was DD. All 6 pounds of her pink, healthy, and screaming at the top of her little lungs.

I will never forget the day she was born
and it was the best day of mine and DH's
lives.

Posted by: shdd | December 10, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

DandyLion

"I don't think anyone can name anything that's a greater symbol of materialism than expensive jewerlery. "

A trophy wife?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

People should get gifts for NOT giving birth. The population in the US has doubled since 1968. Why don't people think about someone besides themselves, and become a Big Brother, Big Sister, or adopt if you have the time and money?

Too many people are having too many children they're not fully equipped to care for.

Posted by: Alan | December 10, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Rare gems and metals have no other practical purpose than to flaunt wealth or an image therof, so by definition, ownership of diamonds and gold are materialistic. I don't think anyone can name anything that's a greater symbol of materialism than expensive jewerlery.

Posted by: DandyLion | December 10, 2007 01:57 PM

Jewelry and gold have historically been handed down from generation to generation and represent. Other than the crowd that determines the quality of a fiance by the size of the diamond, jewelry has zero to do with wealth flaunting.

Top 5 Greater Symbols of Materialism than Expensive Jewelry:

1. $1200 shoes to go with one outfit for one season;

2. $38,000 cars given to 16 year olds when they obtain their drivers licenses;

3. a $14,000 wood playset in the backyard;

4. Al Gore's and John Edwards' residential palaces; or

5. your 8th residence.

I'm sure that, with time, we could think of another 5 greater symbols of materialism, for the sake of argument. Sure, there are some who use jewelry and everything else, including dressing their babies in $325 outfits, for the purpose of flaunting wealth, but for many couples a pair of diamond studs or gold band doesn't have squat to do with flaunting and has everything to do with love. We do not all express that fine emotion in the same way.

Posted by: coward mom | December 10, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Alan, you could do this world a favor and pick up a smoking habit or something.

Posted by: DandyLion | December 10, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't people think about someone besides themselves, and become a Big Brother, Big Sister, or adopt if you have the time and money?"

I've been ordered to reproduce in order to carry on my superior genes. I've been told that without my contribution the human race will be reduced to a bunch of slobbering, illiterate troglodytes within the next three generations.

Posted by: reston, va | December 10, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Very clever argument, DandyLion. Did you learn such insightful analytical skills in a debate club? I sincerely hope you DON'T have children.

Posted by: Alan | December 10, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"I've been ordered to reproduce in order to carry on my superior genes. I've been told that without my contribution the human race will be reduced to a bunch of slobbering, illiterate troglodytes within the next three generations. "

Mix your offspring with my slacker spawn and the world can be easily dispatched in two generations or less!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 10, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Alan -- do post that comment on this blog every day, no matter what the day's topic?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Nah, I've never posted in this forum before. I occasionally post in the sports forums, but I just saw the outrageous topic and had to see what kind of response this article was getting.

Is there someone else here that posts similar ideas on a regular basis? If so, good for them. I don't have the time.

Posted by: Alan | December 10, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"Alan -- do post that comment on this blog every day, no matter what the day's topic?"

Sounds like a good idea!

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 10, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

yea Alan, you sound like a fulfilled kind of guy.

To answer your question, yea -- a good number of zero-population nuts out there. also, there are the folks who blame global warming on disposable diapers.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

To answer your question, yea -- a good number of zero-population nuts out there. also, there are the folks who blame global warming on disposable diapers.
"

And gooey condoms...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, Alan! I wish more people had the cohones to say what they think instead of buying into the "I'm so terrific I should clone myself" nuts. With a national population of over 300 million, your individual contribution is not needed. Judging from this blog and that other OB claptrap, these people are capable of producing a normal, healthy, full-term kid. Dysfunctionals abound. ADHD, nose-picking, constant masturbation, suicides, runaways, learning disabilities. Yeah, right, we really need more of these defective products.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Dysfunctionals abound. ADHD, nose-picking, constant masturbation, suicides, runaways, learning disabilities."

Whoever you are, thanks for my laugh of the day! Always good to lump masturbation (even constant masturbation) and nose-picking in with suicides!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | December 10, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Alan, you could do this world a favor and pick up a smoking habit or something.

Posted by: DandyLion | December 10, 2007 02:22 PM

Dandy - this is one of your best ever. I shall sleep well tonight knowing Alan's not intending to reproduce.

Posted by: MN | December 10, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"Dysfunctionals abound. ADHD, nose-picking, constant masturbation, suicides, runaways, learning disabilities."

You left out thumb-suckers!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Dysfunctionals abound. ADHD, nose-picking, constant masturbation, suicides, runaways, learning disabilities."

You left out thumb-suckers!!!

Posted by: | December 10, 2007 03:43 PM


You also left out whiners.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | December 10, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Judging from this blog and that other OB claptrap, these people are capable of producing a normal, healthy, full-term kid."

'splain why you are reading these two blogs given your view. Is your life so bleak that you troll through blogs whose denizens you don't like?

Posted by: gcoward | December 10, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, I am fulfilled. I have many brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and the best parents in the world. I'm happily married, make a comfortable salary (my wife doesn't have to work oif she doesn't want to) and we're going to spend Christmas in Maui. My siblings (especially those with kids) seek me out, because I live within my means and can help them when they need it.

Judging by the responses to my comments (primarily the personal attacks), many of you will find yourselves alone--regardless of how many marriages or kids you have--because you're not open to other opinions, and prefer to attack than discuss. In short, you're probably no fun to be around.

Merry Christmas...

Posted by: Alan | December 10, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Alan -- Oh, come on, schmoopy. You got on a board about parenting and started talking (reasonably and politely, I'll give you that) about how having children is bad for the planet and so forth. What reaction did you expect? But don't take all the personal comments to heart. Most of the time, this board's not a bad place to be. And you can always console yourself with a cocktail in Maui (I am so envious) over the holidays and then try posting again.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | December 10, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

gcoward, I don't have to 'splain anything to you. I can read and comment on anything damned thing I feel like. Just exercising my First Amendment rights and surfing to see what my inferiors are whining about.

Alan, can I go with you to Maui? These people reproducing their germ-ridden little pervs are such a bore.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Really, Alan? You really need to brag to anonymous strangers about how much money you have and how many people love you? That's some pretty deep-seated insecurity there. It's clear to me that children (yours or someone else's) do not play an important role in your life, and that's your loss, because kids might have taught you that fulfillment comes in a whole lot of forms, and very few of them require spending Christmas in Maui or proving how superior you are to people you don't and will never know.

Posted by: Wikijen | December 10, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

My gift for having my daughters (born in 1979 and 1986) was watching them turn into beautiful young women, with a clear focus on life, driven with the love of Christ and humanity in their hearts. It has not always been an easy "row to tow" having two daughters, but my true gift has been, the fruit of my labor, so to speak!

Posted by: Sharon | December 10, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

its "row to hoe"

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

My relatives from Europe gave me, not the baby, a gift in honor of becoming a mother.
I admit I liked this concept, and when coworkers gave me a department store gift certificate at my second child's baby shower, I bought myself a beautiful lamp instead of more baby stuff no one needed.

I still have the lamp, and the kids are in college, in part with money not spent buying matching baby furniture and new clothes when hand me downs from friends did fine.

Posted by: kathy | December 10, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

gcoward, I don't have to 'splain anything to you. I can read and comment on anything damned thing I feel like. Just exercising my First Amendment rights and surfing to see what my inferiors are whining about.

Alan, can I go with you to Maui? These people reproducing their germ-ridden little pervs are such a bore.

Posted by: | December 10, 2007 04:31 PM

You sound as though you are forever stuck in second grade. Your inferiors aren't anywhere around here, pal. I can only hope you and Alan go off to an island together with your self-righteous, judgmental, desparately unhappy selves.

Posted by: gcoward | December 10, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

""I don't think anyone can name anything that's a greater symbol of materialism than expensive jewerlery. "

A trophy wife? "

Hey! We have feelings, too, you know!

Posted by: trophy wife | December 10, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

You may not have noticed, Wikijen, but I was responding to a comment directed specifically at me. I don't consider debunking false assumptions to be bragging. Obviously there's a blog war going on here that I wasn't aware of.

So while I find your ill-informed attempt at pop psychotherapy somewhat amusing, I will not attempt to similarly cast aspersions on your character or choices--I merely wish you well.

Likewise, gcoward and DandyLion, we're all entitled to our own opinions. I hope you teach your children not to resort to the sort of name-calling and character assassination you've engaged in here. People can disagree without being disagreeable.

WorkingMomX, I believe you're right. I probably should not have posted my opinion on this blog, it seemed to really take away from actual discussion of the article. Sorry about that!

Posted by: Alan | December 10, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps one of the best gifts someone - especially the new grandparents or close friends - could give is an offer for babysitting. Let the new parents have a night alone with each other.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Well I'm generally all for spoiling someone, but I have to say this feels a lot like a dowry type present and I can just see this being sparkled all over as another version of "one upness" to those without child.

But that's no reason the practice itself is a bad one or can't be done with grace and taste. However I'm betting a lot more moms would prefer other forms of support over time.

Posted by: Liz D | December 11, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I received a nice watch when my daughter was born, it was also the week before Mother's Day, so that played a role in it. It's nice to focus on both mommy and baby during that time. Pregnancy is hard and once the baby is born, all focus shifts. I greatly appreciated the thought.

Posted by: N | December 12, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I got sushi from Whole Foods. That was all that I wanted.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | December 20, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

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