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Serena Williams Asked About Push Presents, and Her Fans Were Furious

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Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time. She’s a champion and a hero, and she has piles of money she earned by being the best in the world at what she does. She’s also a new mother, and she recently posted an adorable photo with her new baby. But in the photo, Serena Williams asked her fans what they thought about “push presents,” and the response was overwhelming.

“Ladies, is a ‘push present’ a thing? If so what did you get if anything?” she asked, by way of starting a conversation.

“Push presents” are a gift for a person who has just given birth. The phrase “push present” is awful, but the name seems to be sticking. Aside from the gross name, the very idea of gifts for people who have just had babies is a contentious issue, with plenty of people arguing that the idea that expecting a gift for giving birth is shallow, ungrateful, and materialistic.

Still, others say that having a baby is a huge life change and a lot of work, and that it’s a pretty darn good time to give a person a present.

Push presents are a controversial subject.

So the debate went down this weekend on Serena Williams’ Instagram page, and according to Buzzfeed, they were not here for it.

“Dear Serena, ‘push presents’ are for trophy wives whose only accomplishment is convincing a wealthy man to marry them. YOU, however, are an accomplished QUEEN. GOAT. LEGEND. ‘Push presents’ are for basics…and definitely not a conversation you should even want to take part in,” said one fan who is deeply passionate about the subject.

“How about just being grateful that you have a healthy beautiful baby?” one commenter said.

“No push presents. They really weren’t a thing 20 years ago,” another said. (This is not strictly true. A lot of people seem to think baby gifts are a new phenomenon, but my mother, aunt, and grandmother all received gifts after each baby. My mother’s were birth stones.)

Several fans said they did get push presents, though. The specific gifts were everything from jewelry and new cars to large bottles of Coke or massages.

A present doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be a new car, or diamonds, or designer diaper bags. Maybe it’s a new book, or a lipstick, or a fancy scented candle, or a new light for their photography studio. But it should be something she really wants, and it can’t be a onesie or a pair of baby shoes.

“I’m a big fan of COKE and couldn’t drink it while pregnant. At the birth of our first child I got a customized “Family” 20 oz. bottle. Still have it as a keepsake,” one fan said.

“At least wheel me into IHOP,” another said.

Another commenter said she wanted a charcuterie platter. That’s another good one! Sushi and runny cheese would also be great.

I was firmly on the “no push presents” side of the debate until I actually had a baby. Now I say yes, you should get a present after that. I hate the words “push present” and think the phrase is twee, and obnoxiously alliterative. But I definitely believe in giving presents to new mothers. How could giving a present to a new mother possibly be a bad thing?

We celebrate most of life’s big steps, changes, achievements, and transformations with gifts. What makes childbirth different?

Nobody blinks at the idea of graduation presents. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say, “Graduation presents are gross. The diploma is  your present.”

A lot of the comments said things like, “What gift could be better than that precious new life?” But it’s not supposed to be better than the baby any more than a graduation present is supposed to be worth more than a degree. But there’s nothing wrong with saying, “Congratulations on this momentous achievement. Here is a bracelet.”

Some fans wanted presents but didn’t get them.

“My present is being chained to my kids until they’re 18. No presents here…” another said.

“I got a baby,” one said with a wink. “I would have loved a little sentimental token, but I got the best gift.”

She seems like a nice lady who loves her baby, and she would have liked some little present but didn’t get it. It’s hard to ask for these things, because there isn’t really a protocol for asking for gifts in a way that does not seem selfish or greedy. There are probably a lot of people hoping to be surprised by a thoughtful gift who wind up being disappointed, so I’m this close to standing in front maternity wards with a megaphone and a big sign that says: “Bring a present!”

What do you think of “push presents”? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: Instagram / @serenawilliams)