Should Childbirth Earn the Mom Some Bling?

Do mothers deserve an extra something special after giving birth?

April 20, 2009 — -- 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."

Some Parents Push Back Against Push Gifts

But not all mothers think push gifts are a good idea; some are appalled at the idea of a mother coming to expect anything more than the love and support of her partner during and after her pregnancy.

Christine Koh, a 35-year-old mother of one, said that her "stomach turned" when she first heard about push gifts.

"I really am of the kind that thinks the baby is the gift," said Koh, the editor and founder of, a site that provides resources to New England-area mothers.

"I do appreciate the idea of a partner showing a woman appreciation for carrying and delivering a baby, but my opinion is that the best push present is the tangible and the necessary -- water, foot and back rubs and a home-cooked dinner," said Koh.

"The materialism of the concept of push presents is very odd to me," she added.

Kirsten Chase, a mother of three in Atlanta, Ga., said that no gift can match what a woman goes through during labor.

"I think push presents are really silly because there is nothing you're going to be able to buy a woman that is going to equal her pushing out a baby," said Chase. "Oh, so you gave her a diamond ring? I'm not sure that's even good enough."

"Just give her a nice present and you don't have to call it anything," suggests Chase, 32, who runs the site, where she says gifts that would fit the bill are available, but not labeled as push gifts.

And what about the people who have now become expected to deliver their wives something to thank them for their baby?

Danny Evans, father of two in Orange County, Calif., said he did not buy into the push gift trend and never gave his wife anything after she gave birth.

"I find the whole idea strange because you get a kid at the end of the pregnancy -- that should be the gift," said Evans, who writes a satirical Daddy blog,

"I can't imagine how a first-time dad would have the wherewithal to think, 'I should go buy my wife an iPhone or something to celebrate this great day' -- there is just too much going on," he said.

"And I think it's ridiculous for the woman to expect it," added Evans. "Just because the dad isn't doing the work doesn't mean he's just twiddling his thumbs.

"He's stressed out and busy putting together strollers and car seats and so on," he said. "There is a time for gifts at anniversaries and birthdays, but having a new baby in the house is just not the right time to go out shopping."