Presents After Childbirth

There’s a tradition springing up of husbands giving wives presents after childbirth.

From this article in the Times:

Okay, I don’t see anything wrong with getting your wife a present because she’s done something difficult. That’s a personal decision. Some of these people quoted just sound so entitled, though.

It just doesn’t seem like it’s a present if you’ve picked it out and are basically henpecking your husband to get it for you.

The whole “straightened him out”–it just screams tacky to me. I just think a gift should be freely given. If you’ve asked for something, why not just get it yourself? It doesn’t exactly mean anything this way.

What do you guys think?

I work in a baby store, and one of our regulars recieved from her husband a GIANT diamond ring for her first child, and a brand new Land Cruiser for her second. She recently had a set twins. Lord knows what he got her for them, but I am thinking a villa in France.

The Princess was born on a Monday afternoon six years ago. That evening, after all our visitors had left, my ex ran out to a Hallmark near the hospital and came back with Doritos and a small porcelain teddy bear labeled “Monday’s Child” for me, which I found charming because it was totally unexpected. All I really wanted at that point was some sleep, but the gift was a nice touch. We didn’t even know this was a tradition.

I don’t think this is exactly new. My father bought my mother an amethyst ring when I was born, and a one carat diamond ring when my younger sister was born. Both these events happened comfortably in the last century. The rather tacky phrase “push present” is one I’ve never heard before, however.

I know of someone who demanded a fur coat if she was going to bear a second child, but that’s a bit different. It was more of a pre-conception negotiation than an expected present. I don’t know anyone who got a gift for getting pregnant, but maybe they just didn’t advertise the fact.

Not quite the same but I often buy gifts for friends who are new mothers, as well as one for the baby, because I know that mums need pampering too.

I think articles like this are along the same lines as car commercials showing people receiving brand new cars for Christmas. Or diamond commercials saying that a proper engagement ring should be worth two months’ salary. There are probably a few people out there in pockets of the country that think their husbands should buy them presents for having a baby. I think the idea wouldn’t even occur to the vast majority of people. Just one more article designed to convince us that we need to buy more stuff in order to be happy. Sometimes I think the “news” is just another huge ad.

I’m just about willing to bet that the article originated in promotional materials from the jewelry industry. A lot of crap journalism starts that way.

Like this promo?


We knew someone who got a diamond name plate (yes, it was the 80’s) when she had their first child. It was presented in the delivery room. My sister and I like to pretend to be the guy to this day, saying in a Brooklyn accent “Hey, babe. Here! Thanks for the havin’ the baby!” and handing each other stuff.

All I got from my husband was roses with no vase so I’d have one other thing to worry about. I love him dearly but he was worse than useless for a few days nearly nine years ago.

It seems to me that I’ve read a fair number of romance novels, particularly historical/regency romances, where the wealthy titled hero gave his wife jewels as a reward for having a baby. Or perhaps I should say, wealthy titled men who weren’t neccessarily heroic gave jewelry to their wives after the wife had a baby–especially a first baby.

But, I’m not wealthy, I’m not likely to be married to anyone rich or titled, and while I’m not opposed to recieving a token of my (theoretical) husband’s affection shortly after the birth of my (hypothetical) first child, expensive jewelry doesn’t appeal to me. And if you have to enlighten your husband as to the existance of this practice, that’s just tacky. And “Push Present” just rubs me the wrong way. Should I ever have a baby, an appropriate token from my husband will be just as desireable should I end up with a C-section (planned or unplanned) as if I deliver vaginally (preferred, if practical for myself and baby).

That’s what I was thinking. Only it was even worse: I envision Henry swooping in to pat Bessie Blount on the head, handing her a ruby, a husband and the deed to a nice country manor, and then waving his hand and having the wet nurse pluck the baby out of her arms.

Note: I don’t actually remember if Henry Fitzroy was raised by his mother or not, but the effect is the same. The “reward” for bearing a child seems to indicate a power imbalance between the parents and the idea that the child somehow belongs to his father, not his mother.

And in reading WhyNot’s post, I realize I made a mistake in typing mine–the jewels were likely a reward for having a BOY, not just a baby. Girls were not worth as much, so it would be less likely that the birth of a girl would result in the gift of extravagent jewelry.

A present that is a commemoration of the child’s birth, such as a mother’s ring with birthstone or something like that, I think is a nice idea, but expecting some kind of reward or compensation for popping out a kid just completely rubs me the wrong way. Ick. I dunno, it just feels to me like it cheapens and degrades the experience of having a baby to turn it into yet another excuse to grub material goods.

What my husband did for me after I had the twins was to stay with me and help take care of me and the babies, and that was exactly what I wanted.

I’m just confused by the asset relationship in the whole thing.

Brainiac4’s birthday was last week and he almost always “pays” for dinner with the credit card (I then pay the credit card bill). The bill came and since it was his birthday, I got out my card and paid.

People who are managing to keep their expenses that seperate with kids amaze me. But I suspect that most people don’t look at their assets like I do - a diamond ring on my finger means that much less in the kid’s college funds or we don’t bother to take a vacation this year - so please don’t give me the ring, 'cause I’d much rather have either money for college or a family vacation.

That’s another good point. Maybe the people who are doing this have a good deal more disposable income, but for us, jeez, we just increased our cash outflow monumentally, skip the expensive jewelry!

I read this story a few days ago and threw up in my mouth a little bit. The idea of women demanding a material reward for having a kid made the whole thing sound like a transaction and it really bothered me. Giving your wife something after she gives birth? Very nice. (Personally, I’d prefer to make or write something - what the hell am I going to find in a store that would express my feelings in that situation better than I could?) Demanding something as a trade? That just doesn’t sit right with me.

Err, what? ‘I wanted the child, and by wanting it also, you’re obliged to give me diamonds?’

This part, at least, made me laugh:

Why do you need pricey rings to symbolize your kids when you already have your kids? :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s the thing - TRADITIONALLY, a gift at the wedding, the ring itself, a gift for childbearing - these are all things that, in The Bad Old Days, meant that a woman - who could not own substantial property or hire a lawyer in the event of divorce or widowhood - would have some little amount saved up that was just hers. If the family fell on hard times, she could sell her wedding band and baby baubles. If her husband died or left her, she would hopefully have enough trinkets to give to the church so they’d take her in as a nun. Today, we have banks for that, and investments and more legal protections in the case of divorce or widowship. Not to mention that women can own land, and can get decent paying jobs.

I have no problems with baby showers or Mother’s or Father’s day gifts. Those are nice and sweet, and usually not expensive. And I actually bought myself a necklace with my son’s birthstone, not long after his birth, and I would have thought it sweet if his father had given it to me (but he didn’t). It’s the idea of rewarding something (and for something that is its own reward) as if they are beneath you, or as if the father is paying off the debt incurred by being given a child, that really rankles me. But perhaps that’s just unfortunate wording on the part of these dunderheaded journalists who think something like this is news. :rolleyes:

Yeah, a friend of mine pointed that out to me after I sent it to him. He said it was an example of a “submarine.” So now I can officially feel good about disliking the article.

After a very long ninth month of pregnancy where I could hardly move my right leg due to a the kidlet resting his noggin on my nerve, I told my husband I wanted a push present. I told him I’d never ask for a single piece of jewelry in my life if he’d give me an hour massage once the little one was out. I even said he could be the one giving it, but I guess he’d rather pay someone else to rub me for an hour than do it himself since I got a gift certificate. That was better than a car or diamond any day. The only thing nicer would have been someone to clean the house once in awhile. But I also got him a New Daddy Gift for putting up with my pregnancy hormones for nine months.