Push Present

I heard something today that I just had to comment on. I was at the doctor’s office this morning getting an MRI done on my knee and they gave me headphones to listen to the radio station. The station was set to very popular morning talk show personality here in Chicago.

I was laying there relaxing when I heard the term “Push Present” for the first time in my life. The personality was asking another person (female) on the program their thoughts on “push presents”. She responded with “they are a great idea and something that men/husbands should certainly do.” Still trying to figure out what the term meant I turned up the volume.  They now had my undivided attention.

I continued to listen for a little while longer and then realized a “push present” was something that a husband should give to their wife for delivering a newborn baby. Some of the gifts discussed were expensive pursues, rings, earrings, necklace, car., etc. Although I should have been shocked to hear that our society has now found a way to “expect” something materialistic in return for bringing a healthy baby into this world, but I wasn’t surprised. However, I was disgusted by the thought.

I laid there thinking about all of the people that I have met through the Grieving Dads Project and through my book. People that are heartbroken because they can’t conceive a child, continue to have miscarriage after miscarriage or have delivered a still born baby at full term. People that would consider a live, heathy baby a true miracle and the ultimate gift.

Am I off base on this or do others find this to be a disgusting trend for people who obviously have no idea that a child IS the gift?

Here is what I found on Wikipedia regarding the topic:

A push present (also known as a push gift, baby mama gift or baby bauble) is a present a father gives to the mother to mark the occasion of her giving birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room. The giving of push presents has supposedly grown in the United States in recent years.  A push gift is any type of present loved ones give to a woman who has recently given birth to a child. It is considered a nouveau riche practice in Britain.


There is no conclusive evidence that the present was invented by the jewelry industry to sell more goods, and until recently it was passed on largely by word of mouth or peer pressure among both mothers and fathers.  According to Linda Murray, the executive editor of BabyCenter, “It’s an expectation of moms these days that they deserve something for bearing the burden for nine months, getting sick, ruining their body. The guilt really gets piled on.” Other sources trace the development of the present to the increased assertiveness of women, allowing them to ask for a present more directly, or the increased involvement of the men in pregnancy, making them more informed of the pain and difficulty of pregnancy and labor.


A 2007 survey of over 30,000 respondents by BabyCenter found that 38% of new mothers received a push present, and 55% of pregnant mothers wanted one, though fewer thought it was actually expected. About 40% of both groups said the baby itself was already a present and did not wish an additional reward.

The popularity of push presents has been attributed in part to media coverage of celebrities receiving them. Examples include a 10 carat diamond ring given to celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe by her husband Rodger after the 2011 birth of their son, a Bentley given to reality TV star Peggy Tanous of The Real Housewives of Orange County by her husband Micah after the 2007 birth of their daughter, and a diamond and sapphire necklace given to singer Mariah Carey by her husband Nick Cannon after the 2011 birth of their twins.

The trend has generated a backlash, as some couples dislike the implicit materialism of push presents, and would prefer increased help in chores or baby care, or save the money for the child’s education.

According to etiquette expert Pamela Holland, there are no set guidelines for push presents. “The standard is that there is no standard,” she said. “It does make sense to have etiquette around wedding or baby shower gifts because you’re inviting other people into it. But this is far too intimate to have a rule.” In general it is the woman who lets her man know about push presents, not the other way around, although there can be peer pressure from friends to buy one on either the man or the woman.
Photo Credit: Carmen Veronica Abasolo via Compfight cc

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User Comments ( 11 )

  • I had a couple thoughts as I was reading your post. The first was, “A husband is giving his wife a car for delivering a baby? That’s ridiculous.” The baby is the gift. The parents have gifted each other a baby. No other gifts are necessary. But then I thought about how I have a Pandora bracelet, birthstone bracelet and birthstone earrings for my kids, living and not, that are still under construction to add our last two kids (one dead and one living). Would these not be considered push presents by the first statement from Wikipedia? I think most families, at some point buy something commemorative for a child after birth, it’s just that more recently it’s become an expectation that it’s given immediately, rather than having the item be thought out and connected to the child itself.

    • Brianna – I by no means think its a bad thing if a husband or wife wants to give their partner a gift. I think I may have come off a little harsh in my posting. What I am saying it that as a culture when we start EXPECTING a gift or WANT a gift, I find it disturbing and sad for the parents that just want a healthy live child as their gift.

      Thanks for you comment!



      • I think we are agreeing with different language 🙂 If a gift is given that is thought out and meaningful, that’s great, but to expect a gift because a gift is expected to be given, is not really worth having; it doesn’t mean as much.

  • I agree with you. Although over here in the UK it’s slightly different, we don’t have ‘push presents’ but something called an eternity ring, doesn’t have to be expensive but can be, and it is given when the lady falls pregnant with the man’s child. It isn’t supposed to represent a ‘well done you for pushing the baby out’ but more of a token of love that you have given the man a baby. They are given here in the cases of miscarriage, still borns etc.

    It is less common now than it used to be, but still does occur, thankfully we haven’t got to the stage of ‘push presents’ yet, like you I think it’s a ridiculous notion.

    We lost our little boy shortly after his first birthday and he was a miracle after taking 11 years to conceive, due to my own health problems. I was blessed, my partner was blessed, William was the best gift, present whatever anyone wants to call it, I don’t need or require a material item to say ‘cheers, well done’. I actually think it’s quite offensive, because there is nothing in this world that my partner could give me that is materialistic, that would even come close to the gift of my William.

    The world is bonkers.

  • Never heard of the push present fad. The materialism is astounding, but as people are becoming inextricably tied to material objects to feel whole and to relate to others, the intentions aren’t horrible but the forms are more proof that material form will soon overcome the heart. soul, and spirit facets of us humans that help us transcend mind and body notions of self. Root causes? Internal emptiness is primary. All of the sensation seeking humans do is a symptom, not a cause of inner alienation. Let’s face it, mind and body experiences are immediately gratifying to most who live lives filled with little love and love-losses. No judgment here, but awareness required to have the strength to continue on living lives of spirit and soul and spreading that with love.

  • Dan Simon

    I agree with your observation Kelly. Having some more time with my son would indeed be a wonderful gift but it’s not meant to be. I also feel disconnected from anyone who feels that getting a push present is something worthwhile. However as Ivan says above, they’ve never really experienced the grief & hardship that we have endured. I also agree with Mick’s comment that we can’t blame them as that just increases my own frustration with the situation.
    I think earlier on in this journey, I may have been extremely upset at this idea but as we’ve already gone through such agonizing emotional pain, I prefer to look for ways to help others.
    I always find something helpful in your posts. Keep them up!

  • Mick

    Kelly, and others here…you are not wrong
    We tried through IVF to have a baby, our present was his birth..never entered our minds about any push present, if anything my wife was a bit disappointed that she had to have a C rather than natural birth, but we were so happy to have success that was all the present we needed. Needless to say now he has passed the only gift we could possibly have is the impossible.

    Most people just have no clue how lucky they are…BUT, can we blame them, they, thankfully, have no idea what others go through…trying to see it from their side, it may just all be part of the carefree experience that people like us don’t get to enjoy, so I have to say let them enjoy their innocence and lucky lives no matter how materialistic it seems to us now. We wouldn’t wish our pain on anyone

  • John

    Such a strange and selfish concept. They are receiving the greatest gift ever, and expect to be rewarded for their work. Sometimes I wish I could move to another planet….

  • This is the first I have ever heard of such a thing. When our son was born 26 years ago, he was such a awesome gift that there isn’t any material thing that could even come close. In fact that statement in itself is an insult to the miracle of life that a new born child is. It is a sad commentary on our society that people are coming to expect more and more material ‘rewards’ for simply living their lives. If you want to give your wife a present, go ahead. You do not need any reason or excuse for doing so.

  • Kevin C

    Hi Kelly –
    You are spot on – Again. Imagine what a society we are becoming that 38% of the birth mothers received and 55% wanted one – “A Push Present”. As if, as you said having a healthy baby is not good enough we have to materialize that with a gift. I wonder if any of the greeting card companies will jump on board with cards. I am sure all of the grieving dads, moms and families out there would like a gift as well – The gift of more time with our children we have lost. Peace –

  • Ivan

    You’re absolutely right Kelly. To affirm your reaction, you are in no way off base. But then again, these folks haven’t had to endure any real measure of heartbreak or heartache. There’s this detached reality for folks that have never experienced any real hardship or grief. I feel pity for them, because instead of their lives being richer with what they have, their expectations are greater for what they don’t.