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'AITA for being upset that my wife won’t allow me to see the birth of our baby?' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for being upset that my wife won’t allow me to see the birth of our baby?' UPDATED 2X


"AITA for being hurt that my wife won’t allow me to see the birth of our baby and asking for some space?"

My wife is 8 months pregnant with our first kid and she has been finalising her birth plan. She included me in the process and I did my best to research and understand it. I went with her to see various doulas, picked a hospital together, established emergency plans etc. I assumed I would be there for the birth but she told me she didn’t want me to see my daughter being born.

She only wants her mother there and I could only come in once it’s done to see the baby. It hurt like hell because I was obviously very excited about it. I asked why and she just said she’d be more comfortable that way. I said okay, I told her I’ll let her do whatever makes her comfortable and I’ll be on board with it but that I’m very hurt and will need some space for a few days to take it in.

I slept in the guest room and left before she woke up for work and she’s been blowing up my phone with texts about how it’s unfair to punish her for doing what’s best for the baby. She called and she was crying and telling me I’m putting so much stress on a pregnant woman for no reason and that I’m an asshole for that.

I don’t think needing space for a few days is wrong of me and I’m just asking her to let me take in what’s happening. I can’t pretend to be happy about missing the birth of our baby. She’s so angry I’m wondering if I’m being a jerk?

Relevant comments and OP's responses:

Childbearing is scary so she gets to decide, and if he's giving her the silent treatment shame on him.

"I understand that and I’m in no way trying to change her mind. And I’m not trying to hurt her or punish her or give her the silent treatment. I believe space to be minimal communication, and I need that. I don't really want to sit there and do everyday small talk with her while all I’m thinking about is this. I need a few days to move on and then go back to the old routine."

"I’m not doing this to change her mind. I’m doing this to not resent her for her choice. I just want to be on my own and handle my feelings about it on my own, without her seeing me feeling down about it."

People accuse him of being passive aggressive and/or abandoning her:

"I’m not being passive aggressive at all, but I do need a few days of seeing and talking to each other as little as possible. That is what space is to me."

"I truly don’t understand how it is identical to being passive aggressive. I talked about it with her and she said take your time. I told her I wanted to be on my own for a few days just to accept that I won’t get to see my first child being born and then once I accepted it, I’ll be on board with whatever she wants. I just want a few days to myself."

"I understand how it will be hard and put pressure on us but I don’t know what more to talk about. She made up her mind, I told her how I felt about it and she heard me. I don’t want to try to change her mind or anything and I understand how truly vulnerable she will be.

But I don’t want to hide how it feels either? If I sit with her and make us dinner and have regular conversations, it won’t be genuine, it will entirely be an act and knowing myself, I’ll resent her when I truly don’t want that."

"I understand that and I’m in no way trying to change her mind. And I’m not trying to hurt her or punish her or give her the silent treatment. I believe space to be minimal communication, and I need that. I don't really want to sit there and do everyday small talk with her while all I’m thinking about is this. I need a few days to move on and then go back to the old routine."

"I never thought this would count as weaponised feelings. I just don’t understand how she, you, and other people here, expect me to keep my feelings to myself and put on a facade of everything is well and fine."

"Yes this is how I react to anger. If we’re arguing, I refuse to be the couple that yells at each other so if I feel to angry, I take a step back. I go into another room for a bit and cool off and then come back and talk calmly. However this time, she made it clear she doesn’t want to elaborate so all that’s left to do is move on.

To move on, I need space away from her to let go of my feelings. And yes, I want a couple days. My feelings right now matter to me more because I don’t think there is any productive discussion to be had and we all just need to move on."

Apparently some people think he should make her to tell him why:

"I feel like that is mischaracterising what “not pushing her more” is. We can always get to why later bur after asking a couple times why and her not giving me a clear answer, I wasn’t going to sit there and ask why a thousand times. She doesn’t want to talk about it, and that’s okay."

"I guess you and I have different ways of handling things. I don’t believe in forcing communication, she’s entitled to not want to discuss her fears and feelings with me and only do so on her time. If it makes us immature, so be it but I won’t sit there and force my wife to talk about something."

Is he usually emotionally supportive of his wife?

"I generally am, yes. I do my best to be. I have asked myself that but I won’t ask her; not until the baby is born and this is behind us. I am also learning through this post that “space” has a different meaning than I thought. To me, it’s being alone, consequently not being around each other and not talking to each other."

He just needs to suck it up and it doesn't matter if he can't be there:

"I don't agree that wanting to be there is entitled. I respect her decision and she made her choice but wanting to be there for your child’s first breath isn’t entitled. And I do care about her, more than the baby and want to be there in case anything happens and now I have to deal with being outside in the dark about how things are going.

If the worst case scenario of my wife dying happens, I also want to be there. To say goodbye and be there for her. Why are you acting like being alone in death would be better?"

"I accept your judgment but I am absolutely baffled by how many people here don’t understand why I want to be there. It’s our first child and there is so much more to it than the gruesome parts of childbirth."

"It’s not a child, it’s our child. The child we tried for, prepped for, it’s our family. I understand it’s her decision but I don’t want to be there to eat popcorn and watch, I want to be there for her, our baby and to be able to share this moment as a family. Is it that hard to imagine why a dad would want to be there and why it would hurt to be excluded?"

"I just want to clarify that my loss of faith isn’t about not being there for the birth. It’s about how she hasn’t allowed me to react to her decision and like many people here, has flat out told me she expected me to deal with my feelings and process them on my own, hidden from her, while acting like nothing happened when I’m around her or supposed to be around her."

What do you think? AITA?

Two weeks after his original post, OP shared this update:

"Talked to my wife and explained that I understand she’s feeling abandoned but if she kept pushing me to pretend everything is okay before I’m ready without explaining her reasons to me, I’ll resent her and neither of us wants that.

Ensued lots of crying and she did apologise for not telling me her actual reasons. Still didn’t want to tell me. We’re mostly good now, she gets upset when I bring up the subject but we’re doing better. She’s 34 weeks this week, so we’re trying to focus on the last minute things before the birth."

Then, six months later, OP shared these two updates:

Update 1:

My wife had the baby and they’re both healthy. I asked her on her due date if she still didn’t want me to be there and she said she wasn’t sure. She was very stressed during labor and I could tell she was really anxious so I did my best to comfort her and didn’t ask.

She did ask me to leave when it was time to push and I came back when our daughter was born. I didn’t catch her, but I got to cut the cord and I held her first, which I am very grateful for.

Things were okay with my wife for a while until she dismissed how I felt about missing the birth and said I was making a big deal out of a couple minutes. I then found out the reason she excluded me was because she was scared I would stop being attracted to her.

I kinda lost it and I regret it, but I was sleep deprived and told her that I was disappointed in her as a mother and she put her vanity before our kid and before me. My wife then asked for marriage counselling, we’re on a wait list for a first appointment. We’ve been very cold towards one another when we’re alone and we will probably fight soon again.

I know it’s not the best way to be when we have a newborn but I can’t help but blame her for this situation. I will be going back to work soon so I’m hoping the distance work gives me from her will help me calm down and gather the strength to be more mature about it all.

Update 2:

Wife and I separated for a couple months but decided to work on our marriage. Bigger issues rose to the surface in marriage counselling and wife did apologise for keeping me out of the delivery room, although she affirmed in the same sentence that if we have a second child, she’d ask me to stay outside again. She just will not trust me to not lose attraction to her.

I had never realised just how deeply insecure she is about her looks and how it affects every part of her daily life. She’s a pretty woman and she always acted very confident but it was mostly a facade that completely crumbled with the pregnancy. We ran into some issues with breastfeeding related to that where she would eat very little to lose the pregnancy weight and it caused her to produce less milk,

consequently stressing her and the baby out more. I begged her to postpone her diet until our baby is a little older but it was so important for her to lose weight first. I tried supporting her but I was going through my own struggles and I couldn’t understand how she could put that over the health of our baby.

We’re determined to make our marriage work and I’m going to do my best to understand her struggles with self image. I’ve come to accept that seeing the birth of any child I have with her will not be possible.

Relevant comments and OP's responses:

Formula is a thing:

"She wanted to breastfeed."

"We’ve had to supplement her milk with formula and baby is doing good"

Some more comments from OOP about why he is against her dieting now:

"I think it is wrong. I understand she wants to diet again but our baby is not old enough. We had agreed for 6 months of breastfeeding and I’d have understood if her reasons were different but vanity just doesn’t take priority over our child in my eyes. She also didn’t just stop breastfeeding.

She stopped eating and didn’t tell me or supplement her milk until baby was crying nonstop and losing weight. It’s just irresponsible. She’s too little and it’s unfair to put her through this because my wife wants to lose 10lbs."


"I said baby is doing great now. She’s in therapy. I just don’t agree working on her body image issues is worth not breastfeeding 🤷 She also thinks so and I’m not “forcing” her to, she chose to by her own volition."

Why stay in the marriage?

"I want my girl to have a stable family and I don’t think my wife did any of this out of malice, these are the two reasons who keep me in the marriage. We’re trying to work on other things and hopefully find a semblance of a team together."

"She has body image issues, maybe disordered eating issues. She’s not insane or incapable. Sorry but I’m going to start ignoring your comments, you seem to swing from one extreme to another. I don't think depriving my girl of her mother would do any of them any good.

Yes my wife has issues with her body image and made choices I really disapprove of but she doesn’t deserve to have our baby taken from her."

There is a lot of talk about how divorce is often better for the child than parents who don't get along and stay married. OP says he's not there yet, and also talks about his childhood:

"And the divorce of mine (parents) was the worst so I’ll go with my lived experience. It’s obviously not the best but it’s the best of the worst to me."

"I know. (Don't just stay together to stay together.) The goal is to stay together and work together to be “stable”.

People accuse him of playing the victim and it was her decision, and he should just be happy wife and baby are healthy:

"I haven’t been playing “victim”. I’ve been hurt and I’m allowed to be. I’m allowed to think of my girl’s birth as a special moment and a huge life milestone that my wife chose to exclude me of. She had the right to, but I was excluded from it."

"Why are you so bothered by that specific moment meaning a lot to me? It did mean a lot and while I got to participate in some of it, I wasn’t welcomed for what meant the most to me."

"I never blamed her until she dismissed me. I don’t think it’s fair for me to act like it’s no big deal to spare her from feeling bad. It was a big deal enough to still bother me and that isn’t something I can just snap my fingers and change."

"I never made her uncomfortable? I left and followed all her wishes. I guess it was my selfish wish that did, I can’t make that not impact me."

"Sure, and that’s why I left. Nonetheless it hurt me that she couldn’t trust me enough to let me be a part of it. I didn't beg or bother her to change her mind,

I simply asked her to let me be hurt and let me get over it on my own and she never let me feel bad about it, she (like the commenter i replied to) boiled it down to “i made this decision and you have no right to feel hurt by it because it’s my decision” which was very detrimental to my trust in her."

"She’s not evil, this is an exaggeration and I don’t think she did it to hurt me or exclude me intentionally. I was hurt by the lack of trust in me and since the birth I’ve seen her and helped in very unflattering situations so to learn that she thinks birth will traumatise me was just a huge blow for me.

It broke the way I saw our marriage and it just hurt. I know it would have been best if I just sucked it up and pretended it was fine, but I couldn’t."

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