How to face the end of days when everything is overwhelmingly terrible
How to face the end of days when everything is overwhelmingly terrible

Jessie Collins

Here are our favourite dog-friendly hotels in Ireland for every budget
Here are our favourite dog-friendly hotels in Ireland for every budget

Megan Burns

A beginner’s guide to: Starlight kayaking on Ireland’s glow-in-the-dark lake
A beginner’s guide to: Starlight kayaking on Ireland’s glow-in-the-dark lake

Geraldine Carton

This house in Myrtleville, Co Cork with spectacular sea views is on the market for €850,000
This house in Myrtleville, Co Cork with spectacular sea views is on the market for...

Megan Burns

Does astrology affect our dreams and other things we’ve always wanted to know
Does astrology affect our dreams and other things we’ve always wanted to know

Sarah Finnan

Life-changing stories: ‘I went from being suicidal to becoming a Samaritans volunteer’
Life-changing stories: ‘I went from being suicidal to becoming a Samaritans volunteer’

Amanda Cassidy

8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this weekend
8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this weekend

Jennifer McShane

Meet the Irish sisters behind the interior selections at Cabü cabins in Cavan
Meet the Irish sisters behind the interior selections at Cabü cabins in Cavan

Amanda Kavanagh

The expert guide to embracing and growing out your grey hair
The expert guide to embracing and growing out your grey hair

Holly O'Neill

Beat the Sunday fear by treating your weekend like a holiday
Beat the Sunday fear by treating your weekend like a holiday

Colette Sexton

Image / Editorial

‘Push presents are completely and utterly ridiculous’


by Rhona Mcauliffe
04th Aug 2019
blank

Rhona McAuliffe explores the concept of ‘push-presents’ – an ad-lib concept of extravagant gifting post-baby-pushing – and she has come to the realisation that she doesn’t want to be a part of the fad.


I used to think ‘push presents’ were generational. Expensive gifts my Mum and her friends received from their husbands on the birth of each new child. In my Mum’s case, a diamond eternity ring for me, floor-length fox fur for my brother and diamond solitaire necklace for my sister.

Growing up, this made sense; my Mum — who has ten siblings — wasn’t really into babies. Her post-birth gift was, by her reckoning, a well-earned war trophy, a mark of her extreme endurance in the face of abject horror — from coal-eating nausea to the final, bloody event. She would sign off on her nine months of misery with a two-week girls holiday, pre-booked within six weeks of our respective due dates. Each new-born was deposited in a central Dublin nursing home where our father would visit us once per week while our mother raged on in Crete. But that was all fair game in the seventies, right?

Push presents today

When I had my own daughter, almost ten years ago, my mother wondered if I had my eye on some post-fight bling. I laughed at the notion and told her it was a medieval tradition, perpetuated by status-obsessed, vacuous women beholden to their men; that a piece of jewellery was irrelevant compared to the touch-and-go delivery of our premature but healthy baby and that I wouldn’t be taking a holiday either. No Grecian escapes or no show rocks; co-parenting was where me and my continent-roving musician husband were headed.

My aggro, self-righteous response surprised me. I figured that it was rooted in feminism and a strong belief that the baby really was the reward but was too sleep-deprived and emotionally wild to think on. I only knew I was uncomfortable with the concept.

As more of my friends — in Ireland and the UK — had kids, it became apparent that most of those who could afford to mark the occasion with a sparkly something, did. It wasn’t announced or thrust at your nostrils, the way an engagement rack might be, but casually referenced amid another eighty half-started conversations (sentences) as the ‘baby present.’

And there were multi-levels of commitment to the practice – some had pinned their prize by their 20-week scan, counted the carats, measured up before the big swell; others chose a chain with the baby’s initials or commemorative charm after the event.

The fact that celebrities are baby gifting on turbo — I’m looking at you, Kim Kardashian West, and your million dollar choker from your bankrupt husband — likely means it will continue to permeate the consciousness of our next-gen mothers. Some will buy into it and some won’t, but it is now undoubtedly a thing — a commercial opportunity for global retailers and additional financial stress and guilt for new cash-strapped parents.

My problem is…

Still, that’s not my issue with the creeping norm of ‘push presents.’

For a time, I put it down to my aversion to diamonds and jewellery in general; and my finger, wrist and neck dysmorphia. Both inter-connected, obvs. My odd attempts experimenting with tiny strands and bands of gold and silver over the years have always ended in me channelling Mr T, or more recently DJ Khaled. Not in a good way.

But that theory expired too. I didn’t want a present at all. I’m not very good at receiving them and am practical to the core. I have no patience for suspense, a disappointing reaction to surprises and covet almost nothing, other than the health and happiness of my nearest and dearest, long-term financial security and an endless supply of CoYo yoghurt. Small things.

Then I figured it out. In the same way, I would never accept a drink from a stranger — to avoid an abusive parting later in the evening when said stranger would likely expect a sleepover in return for a €10 cocktail — a push present essentially neutralises your significant child-bearing efforts and renders you and your partner quits, IMO. I know it’s just a gesture, and a loving, deeply appreciative partner is not attempting to patronise the shell-shocked mother of his or her cherished first born, but still there’s a sense that the gift equals the act.

Which prompted another thought. If the gift really tried to equal the act, what would we be looking at? Maybe your partner could:

  • Donate a kidney — to family, friends, the broader community.
  • Volunteer, when the time is right, to undergo a vasectomy — easy win and star points here.
  • Change their name by deed poll, taking your surname.
  • Go savage and make like a garden spider. Female spiders often eat their smaller mates once they’ve been impregnated to ensure that they have enough nutrients to cook their squillions of babies. The only downer here is, once the female deposits her eggs in a specially woven cocoon she too dies, which is not ideal.

The list got a bit dark then, so I stopped, clapping in my final self-revelation: if we’re getting into a tit for tat, I want blood, not a Cartier bangle. This admission nudges me into a psychopathic territory and out of the worthy feminist zone; which is disappointing. Especially as I had to rummage deep in my subconscious vault to pull it out and my rabid quest for vengeance may never have been exposed.

But growth is good. And, the learning — my learning — is, if you’re not going to eat your partner or subject them to punitive medical procedures, please do enjoy your diamonds.

Oh, and Namaste, Dada.


Read more: The Meghan debate – necessary or not?

Also Read

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Totally allowed but totally shouldn’t: Welcome to the Great Irish Pandemic Paradox’

In a time when cool heads are needed – it’s more than the current heatwave that’s melting minds, writes Amanda...

By Amanda Cassidy

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Why do we keep snatching normality away from our children?’

This summer the government will allow my children into a bar, but not to their gymnastics camp. Amanda Cassidy on...

By Amanda Cassidy

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

blank
premium EDITORIAL
Join The Club to Avail of Your Complimentary Tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington