A small gift with a world of meaning
Of course, the baby is enough of a gift in itself. That’s obvious. Even so, receiving a mum-to-be gift or a push present is a wonderful acknowledgement of the experience of pregnancy and giving birth. Here goldsmith Charlotte Lynggaard provides a guide to the best gifts for the new mother.
When Charlotte Lynggaard, goldsmith, jewellery designer and creative director at Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen, had her first child, she was given a small diamond heart by her husband. She herself made the heart into a necklace, and it has also formed part of an earring and a ring. It has been around a bit, as she says, but its symbolism has stayed the same:
“Having your first baby is a very big event – and for me the heart symbolises that story. It’s closely associated with that time and that experience,” she says.
Maternity gifts or ‘push presents’, as the Americans call them, are gifts given to the new mother by her partner. In essence, it is a little, big declaration of love, a special memento of one of the biggest experiences life has to offer. Birth. Bringing a new life into the world.
Critics will ask whether the child is not a gift enough in itself? Yes, of course, it is. Without a doubt. But: going through pregnancy where your feet swell to double their size, your pelvis threatens to collapse and nausea continues far beyond the morning to give birth to a small human being – regardless of how the birth itself turns out – is a feat of strength. It deserves all the high fives in the world. Although the tradition is to buy flowers or put a handful of oven-ready lasagnes in the freezer for the new family, there is something very special about a gift that stays with you long after the flowers have wilted. A gift from your partner – something that testifies to a life-changing experience shared by two people (and probably quite a lot of health professionals).
“Of course, the main gift is first and foremost the child itself. That goes without saying. But it’s important that the new mother is given a small item that tells the story about the new arrival. Later in life, the child will find it exciting to hear about the gift – and in that sense the gift follows the child. It also means a lot to a woman that your husband has thought of something,” says Charlotte Lynggaard.
Best and worst presents
When children are born in Hollywood, the push presents of the stars climb to new and more extravagant levels year by year. When Jennifer Lopez had her and Marc Anthony’s, her ex-husband’s, twins, she was given a beautiful, yellow diamond ring and a pair of matching earrings costing the discreet sum of DKK 15 million. When Kylie Jenner, one of the Kardashian sisters, had Baby Stormi, her boyfriend gave her a black Ferrari (which bears a certain likeness to the Batmobile). Customised Chanel bags, cars and watches are displayed on all social media when a star’s baby is born.
But according to Charlotte Lynggaard, going to those kinds of extremes is really not necessary.
“It really isn’t about the price of the present. It’s about the thought and about the present being a memory for life.”
It may still seem like something of an impossible present. How do you find something that will first and foremost make the new mother happy, that can become an heirloom, that is the perfect symbol and represents gratitude and appreciation?
Charlotte Lynggaard advises level-headedness:
“You shouldn’t feel this enormous pressure to go out and find a gift because there are so many other important things going on at that time – you’re building a home and preparing for the arrival of the new baby. So it’s important to find a small love token without the present becoming a huge thing that takes up too much time and effort.”
So what do you choose? Something for the home? A pet? A bicycle? If you look at push presents on social media, the tendency is very clear: jewellery is by far the most popular.
“Jewellery is a good maternity present because it’s timeless. When you take out a piece of jewellery in one or two generations’ time, it’ll still mean something. Jewellery is fantastic because it often involves a very personal story, and it’s given to commemorate a very special occasion,” says Charlotte Lynggaard.
“I see that younger generations are also keeping hold of these things that indicate where we come from. We don’t want to forget the past – we seek it out, remember it, celebrate it. History is carried forward in a piece of jewellery.”
Finding just the right piece of jewellery
If you are reading this as a father or co-parent and are thinking: ‘But there are thousands of pieces of jewellery out there – what do I choose?’, here are a few useful pointers:
You can never go wrong with a necklace or a pair of earrings. They always fit regardless of their size, and they are easy to wear when you have a new-born – whereas, with a baby on your arm, a bracelet may get in the way. A ring is, of course, always a wonderful present, but the size may be wrong (especially on those post-pregnancy fingers), and other romantic associations come with that particular item of jewellery.
Charlotte Lynggaard advises looking for a jeweller’s you trust, somewhere you feel you can tell the staff about the expectant mother’s personality and style and they can help to guide you towards the right present.
“It should be something you can always wear. Something timeless and personal. And it’s a good idea to have the date or something similar engraved. Giving something that can be built on if you happen to have more children in the future can also be a great idea. For example, a small charm on a gold chain where another charm can be added for each child. Materials and price are, of course, up to the individual, but for everyone it’s the thought that counts.”
Charlotte Lynggaard has herself had three children. Giving a jewellery designer jewellery is difficult, and her husband has always been very good at giving her little gifts here and there over the years, she says. But the diamond heart from the birth of her oldest daughter is nearly always with her – in one way or another – and it shines just as brightly as it did when she was given it 24 years ago with a new-born in her arms.
Text Liv Collatz
OLE LYNGGAARD COPENHAGEN is a world of unique jewellery design and exquisite craftsmanship founded in 1963. At the heart of this Purveyor to the Royal Danish Court sits an energetic and loving family that lives for creativity. The Lynggaard family represents the passion, playfulness and sense of quality that characterises our Scandinavian lifestyle.