Monthly Parenting Magazine

Why are ‘push presents’ so divisive?

Why are ‘push presents’ so divisive?

Push Presents

Absolutely Mama Editor Carly Glendinning on why the seemingly ever-popular tradition of ‘push presents’ often divides opinion

‘Push presents’ often get bad rap and not without good reason. Firstly, the name is pretty awful. It feels offensive to all birthing people, not least those delivering their babies via caesarean or surrogate (and not doing any literal pushing). 

Secondly, ‘push presents’ are usually connected to the wildly privileged – celebrities like Kim Kardarshian, who hinted to Kayne West that she would “really like” a diamond choker before she gave birth to their son Saint. The choker in question was, unsurprisingly, worth $1,000,000.  

When we read stories like this in the media, it’s easy to think that ‘push presents’ are the sole preserve of those who don’t quite have their priorities in order. Shouldn’t the baby be enough of a ‘gift’? 

However, Kim Kardashian might have had a point when she said: “I like the idea of a push present—after nine months of pregnancy it’s a sweet and well-deserved thank you”. Whether you carried the baby, ‘pushed’ it into the world – or not, there’s no denying that the journey into parenthood can be a pretty tough time. 

‘Push presents’ gained traction in the early 1990s, but the tradition may have been around for hundreds of years. The idea is thought to be inspired by an Indian ritual called ‘Godh Bharai’. A little bit like a baby shower, the ceremony honours new mothers with an abundance of gifts. 

Hideous name aside (and if we step away from the idea that a ‘push present’ has to be something hugely expensive) marking the passage into parenthood with a meaningful gift is actually quite a nice idea. After all, most other big events in life come with gifts: such as birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. 

Non-vulgar ideas for presents include birthstone jewellery, or something pampering. If baby showers focus on gifting cute baby outfits (and, of course, the long list of baby essentials), then it has to be something that’s truly all about the new parent(s).   

For mothers recovering from birth, I love the idea of ‘Golden Month’. Around the world in many cultures, the first 4-6 weeks postpartum are a time when new mums are really taken care of, and helped to heal with rest, nourishment, support, and treatments. I don’t think any frazzled new mum would object to a spa trip, or a visit from a masseuse.

In the west, ‘The Fourth Trimester’ has become a popular buzz term on social media. But whilst birthing women are still relentlessly being pushed content that encourages them to ‘snap-back’ after delivering their babies, I don’t think the message has really sunk in. 

If we connect ‘push presents’ to the sentiment that new parents should be celebrated, looked after, and supported, though – then that’s definitely something that I can get on board with. We might just need to rethink the name.