'Push Presents' for Moms: When New Baby's Not Enough of a Gift

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When 34-year-old Viki Steinberg gave birth to her first child four years ago after hours of labor, she showed off more than her newborn son to family and friends.

There was also a diamond tennis bracelet Steinberg wore on her wrist, a $7,000 gift from husband Ira that garnered just as many ooh's and aah's as the couple's tiniest new addition.

"The birthing process isn't an easy process," Ira Steinberg said of why his wife deserved a gift of diamonds for a baby. "There's nine months of lots of sickness and sleepless nights. It's a reward for going through that process."

Gone are the hugs, kisses and maybe a simple bouquet of flowers that a woman used to receive for bringing new life into the world.

In demand now are fancy jewels, a luxury car or the promise of an exotic trip to reward new mothers for all the pushing done in the delivery room, and the nine months before.

"It has been very popular and continues to be," Tom Burstein, vice president of U.S. retail and estate jewelry for jeweler-to-the-stars Harry Winston, said of the gifting trend. "It marks one of the most significant milestones in couples' lives."

Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe received one of these "push presents" to mark the birth of her baby boy in March. To celebrate, husband Rodger Berman gave her a Neil Lane 10-carat diamond ring that cost $250,000.

Mariah Carey got a push present, too; a $12,000 pink diamond and sapphire necklace from husband, entertainer Nick Cannon when she gave birth to their twins, Moroccan and Monroe, in April.

"There's symbolism in terms of color," Burstein said of the kind of baby bling demand he sees in Winston's U.S. stores. "Often if it's a baby girl, it'll be a pink stone or, if it's a baby boy, maybe a traditional sapphire of blue."

The importance of marking such a monumental event is what drove Viki Steinberg to want something more than just a pat-on-the-back, something that she could hold on to and remember her son's delivery by.

"It's a timeless life-cycle event," she said. "It is a gift you receive and you pass it on.

"It just enhances the entire experience of giving birth and creating a family>"

As the concept of a "push present" has expanded beyond the realm of Hollywood to become de rigueur in even the most suburban of suburbs, the gift giving has also turned into a case of "keeping up with the Joneses."

"I was probably the last one to have my first child," Steinberg said, referring to her social circle of friends. "So by that point I'd already heard it being passed around. I'd already seen the evidence of my friends' push presents."

While lots of everyday moms such as Steinberg and A-list stars enjoy these perks of childbirth, others find the thought of a "push gift" more materialistic than maternal.

"The problem with push presents sort of implies that the woman is doing all of the work and that the man just pops in and says good job honey, gives a material item and then leaves again," argues Sasha Brown-Worsham, a mother-of-two and blogger with CafeMom. "There's an equality that's missing. A man doesn't get a present for doing his part of the baby making."

Even Steinberg's husband, Ira, wasn't sure what to think when his wife first hinted that she would want more than just flowers after she gave birth to their son.

"I didn't really know what she was talking about," he said. "To be honest, I'd kind of heard about it but I wasn't really sure."

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