Should moms get a birth gift?

Some new moms get push gifts after giving birth.  (Photo: Getty)

Some new moms get push gifts after giving birth. (Photo: Getty)

No matter how you slice it — pun intended — being pregnant and giving birth is difficult and sometimes traumatic. There’s tiredness, nausea, joint pain, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, a million blood draws, the constant anxiety, not to mention the actual act of delivering a baby vaginally or having a C-section, and the pain and the resulting recovery.

It’s a big problem. But does it deserve a gift?

“Push gifts” are what these postpartum gifts are called in the popular vernacular, and it’s a pretty polarizing practice. Some say that the child you have brought into the world is gift enough. Others say that parents who give birth should give themselves whatever they want as a reward for going through all of this.

The idea behind push gifts actually comes from India and is centuries old. The concept is modeled on the ritual called god bharai, which is like a baby shower where a mom-to-be is bestowed with gifts or cash. In Hindi, god bharai it means “to fill the womb” and the celebration takes place in the last trimester of pregnancy to encourage the pregnant woman to rest, avoid chores and errands.

While “push gifts” 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 a push gift from then-husband Marc Anthony when she gave birth to their twins. Kim Kardashian received a million dollar choker necklace, while Kylie Jenner’s gift was a $1.4 million Ferrari.

“I think push gifts should be a requirement,” says Baltimore’s Catie McBride, whose husband gave her a remote starter for her car after giving birth. “It’s a nice gesture for your partner to show you how much they appreciate you, especially by sacrificing so much to bring new life into this world.”

In some cases, the new mother does the shopping. On my first real outing with my 5-week-old daughter, we strolled 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’d normally buy for myself, so they became my push gift — or as my husband called it, an “open gift,” since I was having a C-section.

“I bought myself a Kate Spade diaper bag as my personal gift,” says Mikayla Stewart of Binghamton, NY “I think childbirth is hard no matter what and moms deserve to treat themselves if they want to.”

There’s a huge range of options for push gifts. Some parents who give birth prefer luxury items like bags and shoes, while others opt for a birthstone ring or necklace to commemorate their baby’s birth month.

“My husband gave me a necklace and earring with our baby’s birthstone,” says Alex Trusk of Jefferson City, Mo. “My friend encouraged him to give me a push gift, but I wouldn’t be upset if I don’t get one.

Having a baby, getting a new pair of earrings?  For some moms, that's the way it is.  (Photo: Getty)

Having a baby, getting a new pair of earrings? For some moms it is. (Photo: Getty)

Krista Nigro of Portland, Oregon had the future in mind when choosing her push gift. “We struggled with infertility for years, conceived via IUI and then had a difficult pregnancy,” she says. “For my gift, I requested a beautiful pearl necklace with the intention of giving it to our daughter to wear on her wedding day. I thought it would make a good story for a family heirloom.

Not all moms see the need to be showered with gifts; Jessy Stoneroad of Halifax, Pennsylvania notes the impracticality of buying jewelry or the like since “we’re going to spend so much on the baby.”

“Just having my baby was reward enough for me,” agrees Lana Wyatt of Suffolk, Virginia.

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 just flipping.

“I could see myself happy for a sentimental gift of some kind,” says Isabell Nelson of The Colony, Texas. “But in all honesty, I enjoyed cooking, cleaning and baby care far more than an expensive gift. The best booster gift was having my husband there to support me through labor. That wasn’t an easy job either!

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