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December 09, 2007

OK, now it's OUR turn to throw up

Mrs. Attila and I were laughing but also feeling a little ill when she read me this article in the Thursday New York Times called "A Bundle of Joy Isn’t Enough?"

In a more innocent age, new mothers generally considered their babies to be the greatest gift imaginable. Today, they are likely to want some sort of tangible bonus as well.

This bonus goes by various names. Some call it the “baby mama gift.” Others refer to it as the “baby bauble.” But it’s most popularly known as the “push present.”

That’s “push” as in, “I the mother, having been through the wringer and pushed out this blessed event, hereby claim my reward.” Or “push” as in, “I’ve delivered something special and now I’m pushing you, my husband/boyfriend, to follow suit.”
What kind of gift? Well, anything peculiarly expensive, for starters. The guy in the photo gave his wife a sculpture. The guy at the beginning of the article gave his wife a pair of diamond earrings. Which is probably more of a hit with the woman than a sculpture. In fact, the jewelry industry has leapt into this on all fours: "In 2005 the Southeast-based jewelry chain Mayors marketed diamond earrings with the tag line, 'She delivered your first born; now give her twins.'"

Are you throwing up yet?

Well, at least there's one sensible person:
“This isn’t the time to give a $200 piece of jewelry,” said Rhonda Grote, president of, an online gift consulting company in Bradenton, Fla. “I do not think that because a woman has had a baby she requires a Tiffany & Company item. She requires help, love and emotional support.”

Ms. Grote suggested that new fathers should instead consider performing domestic chores, hiring a cleaning service, or otherwise provide extra assistance for the new mother.
Either the husband is attuned to his wife's needs when she's pregnant, or he's not. If he isn't, an expensive present is insulting, because he's just buying her off to leave him alone.

As Ms. Grote says, the husband has to step in take the burden off his wife during her pregnancy and for some time afterwards. He's also got to show appreciation. But this is truly gross: "Michael Toback, a jewelry supplier in Manhattan’s diamond district, traces the practice to a new posture of assertiveness by women. 'You know, "Honey, you wanted this child as much as I did. So I want this,"' he said."