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Daughter hides news of newborn from dad after years of emotional neglect. UPDATED 2X

Daughter hides news of newborn from dad after years of emotional neglect. UPDATED 2X

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"AITA for not telling my father and stepmother about my son's birth?"

thrwaynewmom

My (26F) father (59M) has been dating "Paula" (38F) for 4 years. I never got to know her well, as I was about to move out when we met. My sister (20F) still lives between our parents and likes Paula, but finds her annoying.

Paula has an odd attitude towards pregnancy. It became the most obvious when my cousin announced she was expecting back in 2021. Her daughter would be the first great-grandchild. We hadn't been sure my grandma would be around for that.

And after an emotional announcement in which everyone was overjoyed, Paula commented that she felt it wasn't a big deal, and "didn't get what all the fuss was about". She kept that stance for all 9 months.

But once the baby was born, Paula suddenly became a bit too interested in her, which my cousin was clearly uncomfortable with. My husband (28M) and I announced our pregnancy earlier this year. At first, my father was over the moon. Since this is his first grandchild, I believed that would last.

But as I heard from my sister, Paula was just as condescending as we expected, if not more. Whenever I announced anything about my pregnancy or baby (sex, first kicks, ultrasound pictures, etc.), Paula always reacted with one of 3 phrases: "okay"; "that's not that big a deal"; or "is that all she talks about these days?".

I didn't care about it at first. But after a few weeks, I started to notice my father was also losing any interest he had in my pregnancy. As the months went by, he became increasingly detached and standoffish.

He started to either ignore or not pay attention to most of the updates I made on my baby. He also didn't come to our "name reveal" (we did that instead of a gender reveal; it was literally just a lunch party with a game we made up) or the baby shower because, and I quote, "Paula doesn't think it's worth it".

My son was born on Halloween, and I decided not to tell my father and Paula. After almost nine months of excuses and disinterest, I didn't see any reason to. I was in the hospital for 4 days, during which only mine and my husband's closest friends and family visited us.

The day before we left, I posted a picture of my son on Instagram, and that's when my father found out. He called to ask why I hadn't told him and Paula or invited them to meet my baby. I didn't lie: they didn't make any efforts to get involved (both emotionally and physically) during my pregnancy, so they'd have to wait for baby news like everybody else.

My father and Paula are furious, accusing me of using my son as a pawn and keeping them away out of pettiness. They're saying I'm holding the fact that they "missed a few dumb parties" against them.

My husband and pretty much my whole family agrees with me. My sister, while mostly on my side, still thinks I should have told my father, since this is his first grandchild and he had to find out he was born through social media. She thinks this is all Paula's fault and I should apologize to our dad. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:

1stPerSEANenergy

INFO: Has Paula ever been pregnant/had kids herself? Her disinterest in pregnancy details and then being super into your cousin's baby once they were born seems to me like it's her being jealous that she never went through that.

The OP responded here:

thrwaynewmom

No, but from what I gather, she doesn't want to.

1stPerSEANenergy

And of course there's nothing wrong with that, but this really comes across to me as her having unresolved feelings about her decision to not have kids. Perhaps her feelings are exacerbated by people around her having kids, her getting older, being with a much older man, etc.

She sounds like she's trying to convince herself and everyone else that because she didn't have kids, she has to poopoo on anyone that wants to celebrate those milestones that she didn't ever have. You're NTA.

ThrowRA-pizzarollgal

NTA- your dad made a choice and that choice was to care more about Paula's feelings than yours.

Three weeks later, the OP returned.

"Additional Information"

thrwaynewmom

My AITA post from a few weeks ago was voted "Not enough info" (which seems fair). I tried to reply to whatever comments I could, but I don't think everyone reads those.

So I'm writing this to reply to the most common questions that were asked in my original post, as well as to clarify some things that might have been misunderstood. Some of these are literally copy-pasted from my comments, by the way.

Does Paula have/want/like kids?

She doesn't have children, and from what I gather, she doesn't want to. I know for an absolute fact that my father doesn't want more kids. She has also never been pregnant (she has mentioned that to my sister on some occasions).

Paula does, however, like kids. Especially babies. She was all over my cousin's daughter once she was born, and I have no doubt she'd do the same with my son. It's pregnancy, and the events that surround it, that she seems to have a problem with.

The age gap between my father and Paula.

Paula is actually on the older side - none of the (many) women my father has been with since divorcing my mom have been older than 35 by the time they broke up. I'm genuinely surprised they're still dating, as his relationships don't tend to last more than a couple years. And yes, I do realize that none of these things are good.

As much as I'm bothered by it, it's not my place to say anything. Especially now that I don't live with my father anymore. As long as they're both consenting adults, there's not much I can do or say about it, and that's fine.

Why does my sister find Paula annoying?

According to my sister, Paula's most annoying habits include frequently speaking in a "baby voice" (mostly around my father), interrupting other people while they're talking and criticizing random women on the street (behind their backs).

I don't know Paula well enough to be sure how valid these claims are, but I have witnessed a bit of those first two habits during previous visits. The "baby voice" annoys me too, to be honest. She sometimes sounds like the four-year-olds I used to babysit. But again, it's not my place to complain.

Paula's behavior once my cousin's daughter was born.

Paula would ask for more pictures of the baby than both me and my sister were getting, even though she barely knew my cousin. She made many comments about how she looked nothing like my cousin's husband.

She tried to get my cousin's daughter to say her name when she was 5 months old (Paula isn't her real name; her actual name is longer and harder to pronounce). And every single picture Paula ever took with the baby was turned into an Instagram post, most times without my cousin's approval.

Whenever we visited, Paula asked to hold my cousin's daughter all the time, and hesitated to give her to anyone else. Last Christmas, she wanted my cousin to open her gift for the baby first, and got annoyed that an actual infant wasn't as excited about it as she was. She has also made a few comments about how my cousin "still hasn't bounced back", and has spoken ill of my cousin's husband behind his back.

What "updates" did I make about my pregnancy?

Some people in the comments seemed to mistake "updates" for "social media posts", so I want to stress that I barely posted about my pregnancy on social media. I made maybe two posts while pregnant and another one to announce my son's birth.

Those were only on Instagram (I hate TikTok), and my account is private. Many of my coworkers didn't even know I was pregnant until I showed up one day with snug clothing and a 7 month bump. A few of them didn't find out until I went on maternity leave (I do a large part of my work sitting down).

The updates I'm referring to were made only to my family and close friends. They were mostly about mine and my son's health. And ALL of them were made either in person or by text/phone call. Most of the updates I made to my father were through text, since I work and don't see him in person that much.

Also, my father and I have had problems in the past over me "not telling him anything", and my relatively new habit of updating him on what has been going on in my life is an effort to remedy that.

Seriously, I get where people were coming from, but I find it concerning that we live in a time where someone can't mention updates about their pregnancy without people assuming they're talking about social media.

Did I talk to my father about his or Paula's behavior?

YES. Several times. He said he'd try to be more involved, but never made any attempt to do so. He either didn't remember our conversations or genuinely didn't care. I'm fine with Paula not being interested in my pregnancy or the two events I invited her and my father to.

We don't know each other that well. What I'm not fine with is her rudeness whenever I shared any information with my family, as well as the fact that my dad let himself be dragged down by her behavior.

How many "events" did I invite them to during my pregnancy?

Literally the only two I mentioned. The name reveal lunch and the baby shower.

Why a "name reveal"?

Me and my husband hate gender reveals, but we still wanted a small, lighthearted affair with close friends and family. And calling it a "party" was an exaggeration on my part.

It was a small lunch with a Clue-style game my husband and I created. I talked to my sister about it, and we both think that had I not told my father the lunch was baby related, he and Paula might've come.

Off topic, I'm pretty proud of that game, so here's a small description of what we did (feel free to skip this).

We pretty much made a custom Clue board game! Rather than guessing the suspect, weapon and murder location, the goal was to guess the name (there were 6 options), the first stuffed animal we'd gotten him (also 6 options) and a random room in our apartment (9 options, and we mostly kept that part just to make things harder for the players).

We used a template of the Clue board as a base and added mini versions of the rooms in our apartment. We got miniature animals to stand in for the weapons. And we also made the cards from scratch.

I work with animation and my husband briefly studied graphic design. We had some help from my architect friend and two other friends who got design degrees. It was a little over the top, but we had a lot of fun doing it. It was basically a collective passion project.

"Not everyone cares about your pregnancy"/"Having a baby is a normal thing"/"You're not the main character of everyone's life..."

At no point did I express any of that. Nor did I expect to be treated like Demeter. I am perfectly aware that pregnancy is not an unusual experience, and I'm not special just because I had a baby.

Most of the time, I actually hate being the center of attention. I updated my family about my pregnancy because my son is their family too, and my friends because they asked and worried about me. I never expected any special treatment from any of them. But I do expect to be treated with respect, or at the very least politely.

"You shouldn't cut your dad and his girlfriend out of your son's life just because he didn't care about your pregnancy..."

Again, I never said I would. All I did was not tell them my son was born. I made it clear that they were free to come meet him once we brought him home. And this isn't about them not showing up to parties or not caring about my pregnancy as much as I did. My father missed my graduation.

Not coming to my baby shower doesn't bother me that much. It's the condescending attitude and lack of interest that both my dad and Paula have been displaying my entire pregnancy that made me decide not to tell them.

Did my father know my due date?

I told him about it several times. My son was born the day after my due date. At no point did he try to reach out before or during my hospital stay. My best guess is that he forgot about it.

Who did come to visit us in the hospital?

My mom, my stepdad, my sister, my maternal aunt and two cousins, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and a few of our closest friends. Overall, about 15 people came to meet our son during our 4-day hospital stay. My mother, sister, brother-in-law and two of my best friends (including my baby's godmother) were the only people who came more than once.

I also want to add that besides those people, the only ones who found out about my son's birth prior to my post on Instagram were the ones who asked. My father and Paula were not among those people. I think that's all I wanted to clarify. I do also have an update, I'll try to post it soon.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after this update from the OP:

rudbek-of-rudbek

The thing that sticks out to me about this is the age thing between your father and his GF. like you say if they are both consenting adults it's none of your business, but you also need to let it go instead of just not speaking your mind about it. They are adults. It's their relationship.

The OP responded here:

thrwaynewmom

That's... literally my whole point. They're both grown adults, their relationship is none of my business. But I won't lie and say that I'm not bothered by the fact that my father's girlfriend was in middle school when I was being born. I don't have to care about it to be grossed out.

jahubb062

It does say something about someone though if they consistently date people 20 or more years younger than they are. Yeah, it’s their relationship, but IMO it speaks to her dad’s maturity and personality that someone 21 years younger is on the older side of women he’s dated.

The next day, the OP returned with another update.

"(UPDATE) I didn't tell my father and stepmother about my son's birth"

thrwaynewmom

My final conclusion was: be rude to me through a hard time in my life? Fine. Have fun in the peanut gallery. I decided that I wasn't exactly comfortable with the idea of Paula holding and cooing over my newborn after almost nine months of rudeness and lack of acknowledgment.

So I told my father that while he was free to come to my apartment and meet his grandson for the first time, I didn't want Paula to tag along. My intentions weren't to ban her forever, but rather to just wait a month or two (or, in a perfect world, until she apologized).

We had a small fight over it, but my dad agreed and came to meet him without Paula. He visited us a couple more times that week. During these visits, he was cold and short with me and my husband, and I ended up being cold in return. This was, admittedly, not my proudest moment, but I was too tired and angry to care at the time.

A little under two weeks ago, my paternal aunt and two cousins (including the one I mentioned in my previous post) came from out of state. My cousins stayed at my apartment, while my aunt stayed at my father's.

During her stay, my aunt caught several instances of Paula openly badmouthing me and my "unfair treatment of her", but didn't comment on it at first. And then, the day before she left, she watched my father not only agree with Paula, but call me "childish" and "ungrateful" as well.

Like most of my family, my aunt knew the whole story. She told them both off for how they'd treated me during my pregnancy. My sister was there, and eventually joined in.

The result was, apparently, a huge fight between all four of them. Eventually, my sister started crying. She drove to my place and told me everything before falling asleep on my couch.

My father called me and we fought. It lasted about 40 minutes. And after countless attempts on his part to play the "but I'm your father" card, I managed to make it clear that I owed Paula nothing, least of all my time and attention.

The next day, my aunt came over for lunch. She told us that after our argument, there was another massive fight, this time between my dad and Paula. She didn't pick up on specific words, only screaming.

A few days later, my dad called me again. He apologized and promised to try to be more involved. I'm not sure how sincere he was. I accepted the apology, but told him he's on thin ice.

I will help him be a part of our lives, but I refuse to be the only one making that effort. It's not my job to try to engage him in things he shows no interest in. And if he doesn't get invested in something, he can't expect to be treated the same as the people who do.

My sister went back to his place a few days later. Paula wasn't there. Apparently, she's staying with her mother for a while. Neither of us know anything else about that. If this turns out to be an actual breakup, my father will probably wait a while to confirm it. I never wished ill on her, but I'd be lying if I said I had faith in their relationship (or any of my father's, for that matter).

Countless fights and a cluster feeding newborn later, I'm exhausted. I'm glad this is over. My relationship with my father is still very strained, and I'm not particularly proud of how things turned out. But my main focus now is my son, and it warms my soul to witness how loved he already is. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

Here were the top rated comments from readers who followed along:

dutchie1966

It seems to me your father has started making efforts before the (possible) breakup. Him visiting a couple of times looks like a step in the direction of paying attention. Hoping for you your relationship will improve and becoming a positive part of your (and your son’s) life.

peter095837

I can't really say much since I don't know much of the background but all I can say is, what a mess. OP's father really is a mess cause he is letting Paula's behavior influence him and he is lucky that OP is still willing to give him second chances.

Paula sounds like a big mess honestly cause her attitude and comments makes me feel like she is jealous or so. Don't know what will happen but hope things for OP and others go well.

Zhoutopia

I can’t believe the comments that said that she’s not entitled to her dad caring about her pregnancy or baby related events. She is his daughter and she should be a main character in his life. If he can’t even put any effort into a major life event for her, why in the world should he be entitled to a relationship with her?

Amelora

I noticed this trend of "no one owes you anything" start a while back. I see it most often when someone asks if they are wrong for wanting the amount of effort they put into a relationship returned.

I think the worst one I've seen is when a woman was upset that her husband wasn't there for her while she was having a miscarriage and there were people in the comments telling her that her husband doesn't owe her anything.

Honestly how do these people live their lives? The idea of affection being transactional is horrible enough, but this idea that desiring any interaction more pleasant than a kick in the ass is selfish and makes you a villain is just bizarre. Is "I'm so low maintenance I don't expect anything from from anyone ever" the new "not like other girls"?

So, do you think the OP is being too harsh in regards to her feelings about Paula or is she justified?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit,Reddit
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