I’ll admit it, I was the one saying ‘Huh’ earlier yesterday morning. I had no idea what a “Push Gift” even was when Jessica asked me our Quick Question Thursday question at the Wishpot Baby Blog. Now I know what it means, and I have to be honest here, I’m kind of appalled at what the idea has been spun into nowadays. Not so much the thought, I think if a man decided to give his wife a gift of appreciation for the birth of his child of his own accord, that’s his right, and absolutely fine, but from what I’m reading, the more I Google “Push Gift” or “Push Present”, the more ill I become in reading what it’s become as of late. The part that makes me the most ill is the expectation that a man is supposed to give his wife some big extravagant gift. The must-purchase, requirement aspect of it is what is sickening to me. And from what I’m reading, that’s exactly what it has become.
In one article I found, a woman reacted feeling like ‘on cloud nine’ when she received her pair of diamond earrings from her husband after hours of labor. She later added that she wondered what labor would get her next time.
What? Did she seriously say that? Tell me that she isn’t going to have another child just to see what big extravagant gift her husband will give her for that child. That makes me ill. At least, her perception of his gesture made me ill.
Despite finding that sickening statement and making the assumption that the whole idea of a “Push Gift” was some attempt at women to cash in on the birth of their children, I was very surprised to learn where “Push Gifts” came from, coming from these two commenters who said:
As an American living in Europe, when I gave birth to my first child in Germany I was totally surprised when everyone asked me what gift my husband had given me. I discovered that a husband giving his wife a gift (always jewelry) for the birth of a child was a long standing European tradition. When I said “nothing” they thought he was a terrible cheapskate and ungrateful husband, even after I explained that it wasn’t a tradition where we came from.
European women look at the baby gift as a sign of love and appreciation for the new life they’ve created and not as some kind of nasty “you’ve got yours (IE. the baby) now I want mine” transaction. They tend to really cherish that jewelry. It’s a lovely tradition over here and it’s a shame to see Americans transform something very romantic and sweet into something as crass and commercialized as a “push present.” What a terrible expression.
I hate the way this custom has been presented as a materialistic “you’ve got yours now I want mine.”
My husband and I attended a wedding of a long-time couple (12 years, they finally married for the health insurance). The bride’s mother gave her the pearls her father had given her mother upon her birth. The little speech her mother gave about the pearls was quite touching. The pearls were a token, a physical reminder of that special day when their daughter came into their lives. Every time the mother wore them both parents remembered the joy from the birth of their daughter. They were not a “thank you for the discomfort” nor a reward nor payment for giving birth.
We were living in Europe at the time, so perhaps someone gave my husband the idea, but he had just presented me with a bracelet upon the birth of our son. Every time I wear it I think of the love my husband and I share, and the physical representation of our love (our son) and see this gift as symbolizing both.
As for jewelry, it can be passed on to the next generation with a letter telling the meaning of the gift to the original recipient. Will a diaper bag be passed on to the child? Or maid service? No, those are more fitting as “push presents.” Jewelry as a reminder of the child’s birth is no more crass than a wedding ring. Symbolism is priceless.
— Washington DC
Now, after reading those statements, I think the idea of a man giving his wife a gift of remembrance to be treasured and passed down (and I’m a HUGE sentimental buff like that), especially say, passed down to the child you gave birth to, I think that’s a gorgeous sentiment. Unfortunately, considering it’s original intention, it seems it’s been spun into something else. In a time where we as a society are more in debt than ever and materialism and the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ attitude are on the rise, is this something that we need to instill as a requirement? Putting this gesture out there is one thing. Getting to the point of a wife practically laser pointer-ing what she wants out to her husband, expecting the gift, is another.
In some articles, I viewed comments from readers on both sides of the fence. Some who are aware of where the origin of such a custom came from. Others who feel the same, that the expectation of such a present shows how materialistic some have become today.
In another article I came across, not only did I read about a man who’s wife literally told him what she wanted to receive with each child, he admitted to the reporter he was ‘keeping momma happy’, how she proved her case to him as to why she should get these gifts, being a ‘good soldier’. Another man in another article said how he didn’t even consider what was bought for his wife (worth $1000) from him at all. ‘She picked it out’ he said. ‘She bought it. I wasn’t given a choice.’ Her response? ‘My husband doesn’t believe in jewelry, so I saw it as the perfect opportunity to cash in on the whole societal pressure thing.”
Ew. That is just gross. Children are not a bargaining chip with which to birth in expectation of lavish presents. Even worse? Some companies have developed “Push Present Registries” for wives to use similar to a wedding or baby registry. Ugh. That is taking this entirely way too far.
So, what are your thoughts? Have you ever heard of a “Push Gift”? Have you received one from your husband? If so, what was it? How do you feel about this and it’s connotation?