Friday, September 26, 2014

The Maternity Box is NOT a Product

After my post about the Kela Maternity Package on Reddit went viral, a lot of people began contacting me, as well as posting on various Finland-related forums, asking about where they could acquire the box, or how they could assemble their own, for friends and family. I was, and still am, thrilled about all of the positive attention I was able to generate for Finland, and was even happier knowing that I inspired some people to give practical gifts to their pregnant loved ones, as opposed to diaper warmers and fancy clothes the baby will never get the chance to wear. My partner and I even had the idea of reaching out to charity organizations and trying to build and give away a version of the box for mothers in the developing world who seek prenatal care. My "fame", and the majority of the responses to it, made me very proud of both Finland and people in general...until people began to try and commercialize the box.

An Espoo-based company is now trying to sell a version of the box to foreigners, for the delightfully offensive price of $459 a piece. I don't even know where to begin with how wrong I think this is. 

First of all, the box was originally introduced to encourage mothers to seek prenatal care, and to this day, it's only given out of the mother has a certificate from the prenatal clinic stating that she has been going there. So, while part of the idea of the box is to give every Finnish child a fair start, it's also a way to promote responsibility and good health habits during and after pregnancy. 

By creating a box that's mostly clothing, calling it "Finnish", and slapping a $459 price tag on it, this company is completely missing the point. The people outside of Finland who would benefit the most from the box DO NOT HAVE $459 to spend on something that's mostly textiles. So, the only people who would be buying a the box as a product would be people buying it because it's trendy! and Finnish!, and would be turning something that's supposed to promote equality and health intoi a vapid, superficial status symbol. 

The company's website also conveniently leaves out the fact that Kela offers mothers the option of taking €140(around $175) instead of the box. In lower-taxed areas of the EU, and ESPECIALLY in America, where I'm assuming this company is trying to market itself since they're charging in dollars, $175 can take an expectant mother a very, very long way in building a similar box at stores like Target, Kohl's, or Amazon. So, this company is, essentially, taking something valued at $175, and selling it to you for $459.  Don't get me wrong - I think the value of what's inside is more than $175, but still very, very far from $459. 

I think this company and what they're doing is disgusting, harmful, deceptive for foreigners, shallow, and short-sighted. I condemn their misleading and destructive behavior in the strongest possible terms, and encourage all of my readers, friends, and fellow moms to not only boycott this company and the people involved with it. What the Finnish government has set up is a beautiful tradition. What this company is attempting to do is pure bastardization. 

Edit 14:26 - I just made a shopping cart on for almost everything in this box, and with their current -30% sales promotion, was able to come in under $175. It would have been even lower if I'd left out the snowsuit(which isn't even needed, depending on where you live).

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