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Postpartum wife's monthlong European escape plan sparks accusations from husband. + Update

Postpartum wife's monthlong European escape plan sparks accusations from husband. + Update


"My Postpartum Wife Wants to Leave Our Baby to Go on a Vacation to Europe for a Month and I Don’t Agree with Her"


My wife (30F) and I (32M) have been together for 4 years, and currently have a 16 month old daughter. We both split work 50:50, and despite this, I acknowledge how it is more physically challenging for her with the postpartum phase and constant (regressive now) breastfeeding (our daughter cluster feeds and doesn't like the bottle very much so that's that.)

I am also very pro-therapy, so regardless of any evaluations, I encouraged her to attend a few sessions and she and her therapist both agree that she does not have PPD. I am letting everyone know this because I really want to be able to find a way to talk sense into her without putting all of it on depression.

Anyway, my wife and I have had a huge fight over something. She says that she is tired from feeling like a mom and wants to take a vacation for 4 weeks with her friend who is based in Europe.

Her reasoning for going for 4 weeks is that she gets to "earn" it after childbirth and 1.5 years of being a mom. She also says she has her own savings and how she always dreamed of exploring Europe so this is her chance and she wants her identity back.

I disagreed with her and told her that priorities are bound to change and she cannot expect to have a single life back. I would happily step up and take on her share of childcare if she wanted to do a weekend trip or a spa day and would fully support that.

Apparently that's not enough for her. I told her if she wants to really do something about her savings, it would be great if WE could do something maybe as a couple or a family TOGETHER because I also deserve a break as much as she does.

I told her how it's selfish she is choosing to spend her savings entirely on herself when I nearly exhausted all MY personal savings on a large family expense.

I told her I cannot fathom the idea of a mom wanting to be away from her toddler for nearly a month and almost shamed her for it (may make me an AH but emotions were high and I was angry), and it was making things difficult for me because I realistically would have to exhaust my PTO AND be both Mom and Dad to our baby.

I told her I cannot stay in a relationship with someone who cannot compromise with me on this. She started crying and told me she wants to feel like herself again, and I told her she definitely can do something this weekend as well but her propositions are highly unrealistic.

It seems that she does not want to accept things as they are. I suggested maybe she could get therapy and got told "I won't accept the unacceptable" and how I was condescending her into therapy. Can someone please share what I should say to her?

EDIT: Just to clarify my stance on trips. I fully support it if she wants to take a trip over the weekend with her sisters/friends. Spouses/parents should be able to do that. Personally, for me, a good cut off would be 4-5 days. Everyone is entitled to their own preferences and I sure knew where my wife and I stood when we got married.

I do not think it is appropriate for a married person, (and now a parent) to leave the household to be away from your family for more than that time. I thought my wife agreed with me because she held the same views as well.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:


4 weeks is too much and I say this as a SAHM who knows exactly how it feels to feel like you’re losing your identity to solely being a mother. A 1 week get away is another story.

She needs to find a compromise that doesn’t involve pinning all the duties on you for a whole month. I’d be absolutely livid and absolutely questioning my marriage if my husband told me he was going on a month long vacation and leaving me to deal with everything.


Also a first time SAHM and understand the fantasy of exploring Europe for a months “escape” but know that it’s completely unrealistic….. and completely unfair on not only partner Bub also child……and the fact that she wants to go on her own without her husband…. Feel like it’s red flag city….


She should stop breast feeding. The baby is plenty old enough and it sounds like she needs to have a little of her autonomy back rather than trying to run from her whole life.


Woof it's not about Europe. It's about burnout. She sounds at the end of her rope. 9 months of pregnancy and 16 months and counting of breastfeeding and now a toddler who wants to clusterfeed on a diminishing supply...she must feel like she'll never get her body back.

She has the patience of a saint, I would've shut down the milk bar. Four weeks in Europe is just a fixation, not the real issue. Even if she were to go, the stressors that drove her away would be waiting. It's probably time to make some quality of life decisions at to get her more help, start weaning, etc. And plan a shorter trip away to recharge.

Just 6 hours later, the OP returned with an update.

"UPDATE: My Post-Partum Wife Wants to Leave Our Baby to Go on a Vacation to Europe for a Month and I Don't Agree with Her"


My wife had I had been pretty much awake and talking. I initiated a conversation, basically. And it was, for the most part, quickly resolved. When I made the above post, I had already began planning how I would’ve liked to approach this situation. I thought I might be crazy or being an awful partner to her by disagreeing with her choices.

Thank you to everyone who reassured me that her expectations indeed sounded unrealistic, and I was able to register a lot of good advice, particularly poppypie77 who helped me articulate my thoughts as to not sound like an ultimatum.

I sat my wife down and told her that I again, do not feel comfortable with her being in a different continent for such a long period of time. I feel this would not be good for our daughter and our marriage.

I do not make decisions for her, but I would also take steps to ensure that there are going to be consequences if she doesn’t take my opinions in consideration. After all, this decision to spend so much money and be away from the household, me stepping up entirely and exhausting my PTO needs two yeses.

If she chooses to go, she may come home to a daughter, but not a welcoming husband. That it will permanently change our relationship and I might not be interested in continuing a relationship with someone who can so easily abandon her family. And for that wound, she would be the only one responsible.

Before anyone scolds me again for being harsh, let me tell you, I tried my best to be empathetic to her situation and offered compromises, but she just wouldn’t listen. Even rejected therapy many times.

At this point, she was growing very anxious to the point she started crying. I calmed her down and told her that we need to fix whatever issues we have, and it is glaringly obvious she needs a break too. For that, first, she is going to cut off our toddler from her breasts, to give her that first step in feeling like herself.

Secondly, she would have to agree to travel domestically, and compromise on traveling for no more than 12-14 days, with the condition that I get to have a similar break too at a later time, and I won’t use my own funds. I hadn’t mentioned what purchase I made with my savings in my OP, but it was a van for our family.

Lastly, she needs to get into therapy for a more comprehensive evaluation for PPD, because I do not feel comfortable with her mental state right now whatever it may be. She wasn’t just fantasizing about the Europe trip, but had actually began drawing up plans that time.

I let her know that this has dented my trust in her as a parent and a partner and she would need to introspect and make improvements accordingly. If I still feel weird about this, we may need couple’s counseling too, to re-establish the trust.

After all, asking me to sacrifice my PTO, step up for a month, and have funds that family has the first right over, was a big ask. I still don’t feel comfortable with how easily she was willing to give up on her duties and I need time to process things myself.

Thanks to everyone who shared their perspective, I may update in case there are any major events. Hopefully, we will be able to resolve this.

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


What did she say?

The OP responded here:


She agreed with the second option.


I can recognize that everyone parents differently but I am suddenly deeply appreciative that my 5 month old will take a bottle, has interest in solid food, and is on a schedule. OPs wife should be wary that stopping breastfeeding can also cause some real hormone shifts.


Absolutely this. When I weaned, I ended up being diagnosed with late onset PPA. I had no idea weaning could cause such havoc.


I hope it works out for you but once she’s back she’ll probably be stressed again after a while. You guys need to come up with a more everyday plan. Shes going to need a break every week at least. You’ll need to step up somehow.

The OP again responded here:


Absolutely. Her uni friends are mostly in different cities and she feels lonely. We are trying to see if she can be open to some hobby classes. I suggested Mixology to her and she was pleased by it.


I'm not a parent nor a married person, but I found his approach very sensible. I know that motherhood takes a high toll, but it is really strange to unilaterally make a decision that will put such a huge responsibility in your partner.

I was thinking what he should do if he falls sick. For example; does he have anyone near able to help? I know that lots of single parents face this every day, but it's odd to submit yourself to such stress when you do have a partner.

So, does it sound like they settled this argument appropriately? Would you have done things differently? Any mom's have similar feelings when dealing with postpartum symptoms?

Sources: Reddit
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