Sunday, September 11, 2005

Push Presents

Today's blog entry is not for those who are put off with opinions. In the Raleigh News & Observer, there was an article on a fad reportedly to be popularized by the yuppie generation. You need to read the whole article to get the gist of this trend, but here is a short explanation.

It seems that birthing mothers are receiving push presents which are gifts of gratitude given by the father after a baby is born for the mother's effort in "pushing" the baby out into the world. It just so happens that there is a status symbol attached to these presents based on how many dollars that the present cost.

I could not help but imagine a great Signe Wilkinson cartoon that she could draw of a mother in the hospital bed and husband sitting beside her. A friend enters her hospital room for congratulations on the birth of the baby, but the mother has her hand outstretched showing the hunk of rock worth $7,000---her push present on her finger. When the friend asks to see the baby, the mother points to the baby displayed on a shelf just as she displays her ring. Everything for show.

I can easily understand a mother receiving a very personal gift after the birth of a child, but for it to have become something to this magnitude IMHO diminishes motherhood and womanhood. It is as if the mother is being "bought". I am all for rituals including the giving of meaningful gifts that contribute to the bonding of family members. In fact throughout history in some countries, a commemorative gift for the birthing mother is common. It seems that if the birth of a child is such an important event, it would be better to put any large sum of money into an education fund for the child, pay off some of that $500,000 mortgage on the house that is a roof over the kid's head, or put it aside for the family to take a much needed vacation after the parents have worked double shifts to live the lifestyle they are accustomed.

I must consider the fact that many people have more money than they can use wisely. So if a father wants to present a high dollar "push present" to the mother, then I suppose it is just good the money is spread out into the economy so it can be used by someone who really needs it.

A few months ago I made a painting where the humans have turned into robots and chasing the $. I adapted the slogan from WWII of "The people and the war are becoming one." and it became "The people and the dollar are becoming one." Here is a photo of the piece. This article on push presents is a perfect example of the message that my artwork was addressing.

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At 9/18/2005 12:38 PM, Blogger Samantha said...

Jeanne! You updated and I'm so glad because I love "The people and the dollar are becoming one." It represents so many truths! As far as the "push presents" are concerned, doesn't that sort of defeat the entire experience of giving birth? I find the practice despicable.

However ... HAHAHA! You had to turn on the Spam Killer too. They gotcha, huh? Glad I'm not the only one!

At 9/18/2005 12:43 PM, Blogger Samantha said...

I finally figured out how to link you! You wouldn't believe how many hits on my site you alone have generated. Alas, they just hit me once, hate my blog and never come back. *lol*

At 9/19/2005 4:49 PM, Blogger Jeanne Rhea said...

At least it is a comment! ;) At first I was going to ignore the spam---but after the same post two times, I decided to do something about it. I think it must work.

At 9/24/2005 8:08 PM, Blogger Samantha said...


People don't much care for the spam blocker and half the time it doesn't even accept my entries of letters but really, it's worth it. Everyone I know who has a blog has to use this now. Isn't that pathetic? Spammers get us one way or the other.

At 10/24/2005 8:01 AM, Blogger Davetoon said...

I figured it was called a "push" present because it was a reward for enduring a normal delivery instead of a C-section. There was no distinction in the article, so I assume it doesn't matter. So it's slightly sicker than I thought.

It also said other cultures have already been doing this. I'm thinking it's more of a shared thing among the whole family and friends. We already have that: the baby shower! But this is a culture that will tolerate Sweetest Day, an artificial copy of Valentine's Day, because some drone at Hallmark thought it was a good idea.

I'm glad you women feel this way. So many cultural gift obligations benefit women, who will gladly accept them and then scream for equal pay. I thought that's why women are more often showered with gifts: they don't have the spending power of men. I'd rather have women get equal pay and forget the constant gifting.

Think about this: is that diamond ring going to help you through the sleepless nights and the other headaches of newborns? And toddlers? And leeching college students?

At 10/25/2005 7:57 AM, Blogger Jeanne Rhea said...

Thanks for comments! I often wonder how males look at some of these kinds of things. Guess it is the same way some females look at them.

I bet a lot of females had rather get paid the same as males and buy their own "gifts" for themselves, too.

By the way, my husband is very sensible, but he did not see why I was harping on this push present thing. His whole way of looking at this is---if a person has the money, it makes him happy, and it does not take from another, then it should not matter to anyone not directly involved. Of course, I see the welfare of the child as being directly involved.

I look at it from more of a practical viewpoint and with a sense of responsibility to ourselves and to those we bring into this world. I tend toward being Libertarian and believe that we should have freedom but some responsibilties come with this freedom.
I think that the same parents who give high dollar "Push presents" are the same types of people who also promote other kinds of behavior that are not the best for raising children.

I admit that if I had a friend who received a high dollar push present, I would probably not say anything judgmental. It would be too late at that point. But I would also be thinking how I would spend the same money for a better life for the child.

At 12/22/2005 1:05 PM, Blogger EC (Lisa) Stewart said...

What? We get paid for birthing humans now? Sheesh! I didn't know! I may just reconsider.

At 1/09/2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Jeanne Rhea said...

Well, well---better make decisions fast! ;) I think I would stick with the kitties---no saving for the college fund, the private school, etc. With those savings, you don't need any push presents!


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