Should Childbirth Earn the Mom Some Bling?

labor gifts

After nine months of discomfort, anticipation and an ever-growing belly, some mothers have come to expect a little bit more than a bundle of joy on the day they give birth.

"Push gifts," a term used to describe a gift given by one partner to another after she gives birth, have grown in popularity, as more and more mothers look forward to receiving some bling for their hard work.

Marty Suttle is one of those mothers, and was happy to receive a matching amethyst necklace and bracelet from her husband when she gave birth to her now 14-month-old son Christopher in January 2008.

"I did get a push present," Suttle, who resides with her family in Raleigh, N.C., told "My husband liked the idea and surprised me."

Suttle estimates that the jewelry cost her husband around $500, and considers it his way of saying "thank you" for a job well done.

Suttle acknowledges that such gifts may be a bit controversial.

"I know a couple of other women who have received gifts after giving birth but I tend to hear a lot of 'the baby is your gift,'" said Suttle. "Which is true, my baby is beautiful and I love him."

"But I'm not going to bemoan getting a gift," added Suttle.

Neither did Beth Avant, a mother of two who bought her own push gift after her husband Jason did not pick up her apparently too subtle hints about how much she'd enjoy receiving a signature Tiffany and Co. blue box along with her newborn.

"I knew he hadn't gotten my hints," said Avant. "I kept saying, 'Oh, a little blue box would be so perfect!'"

So, off Avant went to her local Tiffany's, just a few weeks after she gave birth to her son Lucas in 2004.

"I got a little silver ring with a sapphire in it," she said. "I got a blue one because my baby was a boy."

Avant said the ring cost her around $200, and since she bought it, her other pregnant friends have dropped hints to their own husbands.

"A couple of my friends have gotten them and I know that when they do, their husbands get praised," said Avant.

What Makes the Best Push Gift?

Maria Bailey, founder of BSM Media, a company that researches the best ways to market products toward mothers, said that in an informal survey taken last year, more than half of 2,000 women polled said they had received a push present.

Many Web sites dedicated to baby gear offer sections on push gifts, a trend that Cindy Post Senning, the parenting expert at The Emily Post Institute, says is expanding, but has still not yet become the "norm."

"Push gifts are relatively new," said Senning. "They are gifts that allow a partner or a husband of a woman who has just done a lot of work over the past day or so show appreciation and gratitude and excitement over the new stage in their relationship."

Senning suggests a personal gift -- not one that necessarily will help with the baby -- makes the best push gift.

"This is about showing her direct appreciation," she said. "Give her something that she might be able to use or wear over the next couple of days to help her feel a bit more beautiful -- jewelry or a fun nightgown or a robe."

"It should really relate to the very intense experience that the couple has shared and is a way for the partner to demonstrate his caring and appreciation for labor -- which they call labor for good reason," said Senning.

"It's a lovely gesture," said Senning. "But it would be a shame, I think, if it came to be expected. It might take away from the personal aspect of it."

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