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Women, and men too, recognise welcoming a healthy baby not a gift enough

Many women, and men too, recognise that welcoming a healthy baby into the world is a gift enough, but, somehow, an additional reward, known as a push gift, is necessary, write SANDRA WEKESA and FAITH KYOUMUKAMA

Birthing a child into the world, as is well known, is not easy. From carrying the child for nine months, adding weight, experiencing hormonal roller coaster, going through childbirth, sometimes complicated, to enduring sleepless nights.

Women have been doing it for thousands of years, but, these days, an increasing number of men, aware of these challenges, are gifting their partners to say “thank you” for having gone through the entire excruciating process.

Welcome to the concept of push gifts, also known as baby mama gift, push present, or baby bauble. Many women, and men too, appreciate that the child is a gift enough, but, somehow, the idea of an additional reward appears to be essential.

The concept began in the West in recent years, and has caught on across the globe, surprisingly, including in our conservative African setting. It’s safe to say that there is one more gift occasion on top of Valentine’s Day, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries.

The popularity of push gifts, which include expensive jewellery, electronics, cars, houses, sentimental charms and handbags, has been attributed in part to media coverage of celebrities receiving them and the increased involvement of men in pregnancy, making them more informed of the pain and difficulty of pregnancy and labour.

But, if you thought the Beyonces of this world are the only ones getting gifts for giving birth, think again. Actor and Nigerian celebrity Tonto Dike received a diamond worth Sh3 million as a push present the moment she gave birth to her first-born son early last year.

Kenyan scene

Bonfire Adventures CEO Simon Kabu recently created a buzz after he gifted his wife Sarah Kabu a brand new Range Rover on her 39th birthday in the middle of CBD. Turns out it’s norm for the businessman, as he also took his wife for vacation to Seychelles before she gave birth to their second child, now nine months old.

“Gifting shouldn’t be a by the way for a woman you love, it’s something that should come naturally. She has been there for you and will always be, so consider it a priority when the opportunity arises.

I thought cruising in Seychelles would help her relax and keep calm before giving birth. It had been a while since the woman of my dreams had travelled, so I figured out why not?” says Simon. He adds that it shouldn’t be difficult for a man to get a token of appreciation for the woman who carries their baby in her womb for nine months.

“She needs to feel that you are actually there for her as her husband and life partner. The gift cost me Sh1 million. It’s not too much to spend on your loved one. Of course while at Seychelles, I got her a couple of other gifts including bracelets and necklaces. It was so much fun while we were there, I couldn’t ask for more,” added Simon.

Another alternative to a push present is a baby moon. This is a holiday taken before the due date, as Simon and his wife did. Instead of a tangible gift, there are such alternatives where one pays for surprise treats for instance spa and beauty treatments. For Esther Wanjiku, a 25-year-old businesswoman, it was a house in Syokimau worth Sh5 million.

“I didn’t know he would surprise me with such a gift. We were staying in South B when I went to hospital to deliver our first child. On the evening I was discharged from hospital, I expected us to head home, but he drove on along Mombasa Road. When I asked where we were going, he gave excuses, until we arrived at the new house,” recalls Esther.

Extravagant presents

“Upon arrival, our house help was at the entrance ushering me in, and I wondered how she got there. Amidst my confusion, my partner got out of the car saying ‘babe this is for you, for our baby Dylan’.

At first I was astonished, a million questions were running through my mind, I couldn’t understand what was going on, but I soon got the hang of it, and got to unpacking and enjoying my new lavish abode,” she adds.

Model and video vixen Amina Amaru also boasts of a thoughtful post-birth present from her baby daddy, when she delivered her now eight-month-old baby. “Apart from the usual gifts (baby stuff and jewellery), I got capital for my lush hair weave line.

I won’t mention the exact figure, but it was enough to expand the business,” Amaru says, adding that it is the thought that counts. “Women deserve to be pampered, especially after nine months of carrying a baby.

Even if it’s not an extravagant gift, take her for a mani or a pedi, even a massage,” states the model. Three years ago, Nairobi resident Eric Macakiage left tongues wagging when he hired a convoy of Chryslers for his wedding held in Karen.

A short while later, he surprised his wife with a chartered luxury stretch Hummer to ferry her and their newborn from Nairobi Hospital. His reasons for showering her with this exclusive treatment was that his wife needed to be comfortable after the tough but wonderful task of birthing their baby, and they needed to welcome their bundle of joy to the world in style.

Kevin Mulei of Mo Sound is rumoured to have gifted his wife a posh Mercedes Benz fresh from the showroom when she gave birth to their first-born child some years back, and a sleek Range Rover after delivering their second.

Men’s take

Whether this phenomenon is just a thoughtful gesture or an important requirement continues to form the subject of debate on social platforms. Some disapprove of the inherent materialism of push gifts.

“Ladies, try not to expect them, and for the love of God, don’t compare them to your friends’. Every man and every family is different. You know there are ladies out there who get Bentleys and Birkins for giving birth and their husbands are total pieces of ****, while plenty of other mums are happily eating those bowls of celebratory queso with loving husbands and fathers by their sides,” a social media user responded to an Instagram post by tennis star and new mum Serena Williams, who a few days ago asked whether push presents are a thing. Closer home, there are those who also find the whole concept absurd. Eric Otieno, a Nairobi-based lawyer thinks it’s total nonsense. He actually describes it a ‘New York state of mind’.

“I mean, isn’t a bundle of joy enough? We need to be real and stop this Westernisation from eating into our culture,” he comments. And there are others who were unawares of the idea, but upon finding out about it, are open to it. Richard Kagoe, a TV presenter, says he never thought of it, but now that he knows of the existence of push gifts, he has no qualms about it.

“Maybe when you get to appreciate the process that a woman goes through in giving life, it’s important to gift them, just to say thank you,” he says, adding that finding a perfect gift would, however, be a challenge, because gifts are emotional, and one has to put thought into it. Businessman Dennis Nyachoka, 28, says he would definitely buy his spouse a push gift, and ensure it is a surprise.

“An expected gift is less romantic than a surprise gift,” explains Nyachoka. “They say women love surprises, but few ever let men actually surprise them with anything. They drop hints, ask questions, pester, and bother us, until we have no choice, but to let them in on every single secret and surprise we are planning,” he laments.

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