Push presents, push gifts or baby baubles are all different names for the same concept: The gift that a husband presents to his wife after she "pushes" out their baby (not excluding wives who deliver by C-section, of course). While it's not exactly a new concept that husbands buy their wives postnatal gifts, it is becoming more and more expected that the gift will entail expensive jewelry.
Why? Well, there are at least three factors, the first two of which are probably just two sides of the same coin. First, the rich and famous do it, and do they ever. Mariah Carey received a $12,000 diamond and pink sapphire necklace with her twins' names after delivering. And after Beyoncé gave birth to Blue Ivy Carter, Jay-Z presented her with an appropriately-colored 8-10 carat blue tanzanite ring, estimated at $35,000.
The second reason, which really stems from the first or at least exacerbates it, is that we live in a consumer culture. Keeping-up-with-the-joneses can "push" men with peer pressure, familial pressure or just societal pressure to maintain appearances in the rat-race of who wore/bought what. I call this the "culture of acquiring stuff."
Finally, the third reason is that men in the twenty-first century are possibly more aware and sympathetic to what their wives endure during pregnancy and delivery. This may be due to their participation in childbirth classes or in the delivery room. As Dr. Philippe Girerd, an obstetrician in Richmond, Va., explained in a New York Times article: "I think husbands are more involved with the prenatal process. Women go through back pain, morning sickness, stress and so on. We just sit around and take the credit. I think a lot of 21st century husbands are a little more in touch with that." In light of gifting his wife with a ring and a watch after giving birth to their children, he commented, "I could care less about the jewelry industry. For me, it was acknowledging everything my wife had been through.
And if that's the thought behind giving your wife a push present, then I wholeheartedly support that. Acknowledging a wife's hard work and suffering to grow a baby is a commendable gesture. But, the gift must be both appropriate and affordable.
That the gift should be appropriate seems obvious, but this point is crucial. Hubbies need to know their wives' tastes and personalities well enough to make this call. If a woman is the practical type and likes gifts that are both useful and thoughtful, consider buying her what she would truly appreciate when the baby is born, like a massage, cleaning help, babysitting help, or a new, comfortable, machine-washable, non-maternity outfit.
If, on the other hand, we're talking about a wife who thoroughly enjoys accessories and expects her husband to buy her jewelry, then her husband has a lot less flexibility. Maybe he should consider a charm necklace or bracelet with the baby's name and/or birth date, which he can add to with each subsequent child's birth. How about a customized ring with the baby's finger print? Or a locket in his wife's favorite color with a special message or picture inside.
In addition to being appropriate, the present must also be affordable, which takes on a whole new meaning in light of the cost of having and raising a kid. As if it weren't already enough to budget for all the expensive baby gear and childcare costs, now hubby is expected to save for a diamond bracelet too? As a father of six, I can tell you that your child-rearing expenses will always surprise you on the upside. Why spend money now on expensive jewelry that you'll wish you had foregone in order to save for any number of these real expenses in the not-so-distant future?
As I've said before, don't be fooled by the diamond's industry's clever marketing to make you think that diamonds are forever and are the only gemstones that can represent love and romance. Diamonds are beautiful, yes, but so is your wife's smile when you present her with a less expensive alternative that will still communicate your gratitude and appreciation for her super-heroic entry into motherhood.
So, take a look at your intentions in buying a push present. Are you trying to keep up with the neighbors? Have you been pushed into this purchase? Want to mimic Hollywood actors who have loads of cash that you don't? If the answer is yes to any of these, you have some soul-searching to do.
But if you genuinely want to recognize, thank, and celebrate your wife's hard work to grow and birth a baby, then a push present is a beautiful way to accomplish that. Just keep it appropriate and affordable, and you will both feel happier and less stressed when the big day arrives and junior joins the family tree.