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Woman horrified at husband's behavior while she gives birth; he claims, 'I did that to stay calm.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATE.

Woman horrified at husband's behavior while she gives birth; he claims, 'I did that to stay calm.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATE.


When this mom is upset with her husband for not being supportive enough during her labor with their first child, she asks Reddit:

"Am I wrong for being upset with my husband's weird behavior while i I was giving birth?"

I recently gave birth and to our daughter. My water broke and I was induced the next day due to infection risk. Inductions can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, so I’m not expecting my husband to put his phone away and stare at me the whole time.

Everything was going quite smoothly at first. I got the epidural, was comfortable, baby was tolerating contractions well and labour was progressing nicely. I have no issue with my husband being on his phone here.

The midwife was monitoring baby’s heart rate, and about 14 hours into the induction, the baby’s heart rate dropped and she quickly repositioned me. This happens again and she repositioned me again.

My husband was just playing on his phone through this. While the baby’s heart rate was dropping the medicine in the epidural ran out. The midwife understandably wanted to wait until the baby’s heart rate was stable for a while before she left the room to get more of the medicine for the epidural.

During this time, contractions were frequent and painful (baby was sunny side up). I was breathing loudly trying to get through them and it was obvious I was in pain.

During all of this, my husband was sitting in the corner, head down, on his phone. I would have really appreciated him walking over to the bed and showing concern or offering me comfort at this time, however he didn’t even look over at me.

I was upset about this and on the way back from the hospital I told him as much. At first he tried to tell me that he wasn’t on his phone while this was happening. He then revised his version of events to tell me he was paying attention despite being on his phone when the midwife said the baby’s heart rate was dropping.

It upsets me because his attention was divided here. I dropped the conversation here because I didn’t want to start a big fight while also trying to figure out how to care for a day old baby.

This still was upsetting me and a few weeks later and I brought it up with my husband again. He said he didn’t want to get up and come to my bedside because it would make me panic and freak out, so that’s why he continued to sit in the corner on his phone.

He also said there was nothing he could’ve done when I was in pain since he’s not a doctor. He said he loves me the most and that I should’ve communicated to him that I needed him in that moment.

In my mind it’s pretty obvious that during birth your partner should pay attention and comfort you as needed. His actions and explanations don’t make much sense to me and I’m still upset about this scenario. Am I wrong to be upset?

Before we give you OP's major update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

manju7 writes:

I don't think you're wrong to be upset. Yes, in normal day to day life it is your responsibility to say what you need or want to your partner. This was not normal day to day life - you were in labour, seemingly with some extra stressful things happening too.

Even if your partner really thought it would make you stressed out if he came to your side - that's an assumption he made.

He could've checked with you and just asked "hey, would you like me to come be closer to you or would you prefer me to stay here?". Just whatever he was thinking/feeling/fearing, he could've voiced, or checked with you if it was a good time to voice it.

mossylungs writes:

What you said is absolutely true and he could very well have made better choices such as you described.. But I want to add one thing...

Why didn't he want to do these things? That's what I don't get. My partners in pain, there's a "situation" with our baby that is stressing my partner out.. well, it would also be stressing me out?! My partners in pain?? Yeah I'm not playing on my fking phone. No fking way.

What you gave OP was insight into how he could've/should've been more considerate and comforting, which is absolutely great insight.

I just can't imagine not wanting to be involved and stressing trying to make my partner feel better and just being involved in general? Do men like this really not WANT to try and help, to be a partner involved in your own life? This is your baby this is your wife??

I must be missing something here. I understand making the wrong choice, absolutely, it happens and it can be understood and explained, but to make no choices and no effort makes zero sense to me.

I don't think even if my partner explicitly said "please sit and stare at your phone and ignore everything going on with me PLEASE!" that I would be able to do that, it's my partner (I don't own them obviously), it's my child so I will be involved and I will be putting in whatever effort I can where I can. PERIOD.

Men/husbands/partners not doing anything and not being helpful is beyond shitty, but men/husbands/partners not WANTING to do anything and not WANTING to be helpful is what is the biggest issue as it shows who that person is deep down underneath the mistakes, accidents, bad choices.

I'd rather a man make the wrong choice (reasonably ofc) in how to help me, than them not even wanting to help me.

mrajaa writes:

I will try to put myself in your husband shoes: He's been on watch with you for 14h, not active but still present and alert. Suddenly, the heart rate of his baby who's about to be delivered drops, once, twice; his wife is groaning and heaving.

He has no idea of what is happening, what is normal, bad or possibly really bad. The last thing he wants is to be in the way or worse, become a liability -how many people panic and/or faint during their partner's delivery?-

so the safest bet is to do nothing, calm himself and wait to be asked. It would make sense he was just caught like a deer in a headlight, tired and overwhelmed, and just froze internally.

He might indeed not been paying full attention, but after sitting on the bench for 14h, it can be difficult to realize it's your time to jump in, especially if you're already in the mindset that even just chiming in at the wrong time could make things worse.

I think you just missed each other there, and you were both reasonable in your expectation that the other would take the initiative and reach out (obviously not saying your respective positions where nowhere the same, just that it was a high stress environment and you might have both made decisions that were reasonable to you, but resulted in miscommunication nonetheless).

I'm not sure anything good would come to determine a side that is right and one that is wrong, and focus more on making sure similar situations don't occur in the future while you're taking care of your newborn.

He can't expect you to take all the mental load and tell him what to do all the time, and you can't expect him to read your mind when you need something.

noavocado7 writes:

You can be mad at him, or you can try to understand things from his point of view. He was scared sh**less and didn't know what to do. What man is going to admit this to his wife, not many.

Everyone deals with stress differently, he told you in his own little way that he didn't want to freak you out, in other words, he was freaking out and he didn't think he could do much comforting in that moment.

Men respond in so many different ways to seeing their babies being born. But it's never like it is on TV, it's traumatic to a man. He cared in the best way he could, by staying out of your way.

Something else to concidered is how we respond to labor, we're screaming, yelling, cussing and sometimes just angry. Men don't know what to do in that momwnt, so the smart ones stay out of the way until we scream for them or the doctor calls them over.

They are helpless to help or do anything, that makes them feel lost and vulnerable. So yea, you can be mad at him, or you can realize how vulnerable he felt and enjoy your new baby together. At the end of the day you need each other more than ever right now, so be there for each other now.

We expect our spouse to read our minds and be there for us when we need them. So we never learn to communicate our needs to our spouse, however, it is important that we learn that we have to ask for help, support or comfort at times.

They aren't mind readers, it dosent make them a bad spouse if we have to ask them for their time or to comfort us. It's just a part of being married, and it makes things so much easier since you can actually get what you need in the end.

cyclebreaker writes:

You’re not wrong and I’ve had 3 labours, so I know how they can change quickly. My husband was oblivious during our last baby, but he was talking on the phone to our real estate agent (we had just sold/bought a house 1 week before). He didn’t notice the change in the room, but my mom did and was right there with me.

I wasn’t upset with him though, because in the 2 previous labours he was there when I needed him and I didn’t have to ask, he just was. He was on his phone a lot, but labour can be boring as hell at times, but he was fully there with me when things weren’t so boring.

You have a right to be upset with him, you shouldn’t of had to ask, he should have been checking in with you.

Then, OP provides this MAJOR UPDATE:

UPDATE To answer a few questions: Prior to labor, my husband and I did attend a prenatal class that described labour and delivery in detail and the partners role in it. In addition, I did tell him that I would want him to hold my hand, or stroke my arm or rub my back when things were difficult.

I told him he didn’t need to him say anything or solve any problems. I told him I’d like him to be present, and not on his phone. In addition, I asked him to read some articles about being a supportive partner.

I then decided to read some to him since I didn’t think he would actually read them on his own (I told him that during pregnancy what would make me feel supported is if he read those five minute articles about the babies development and what’s going on in my body each week.

I asked multiple times, he agreed he would but didn’t until the last 3 weeks of pregnancy after a big argument). I even read some funny, what not to do as a birthing partner articles to him, which said things like don’t check the score.

I reminded him of this after and he said he wasn’t checking the score on his phone. So while I didn’t say getting off your f-g phone to him in that moment (I should have), I also wasn’t asking him to read my mind.

I was really worried about him not being supportive during labour. I was especially c oncerned after how he behaved during a prior miscarriage (I was lightly bleeding until I woke up for work before my husband one morning, went to the bathroom and realized I was bleeding more heavily.

I was reasonably sure I was having a miscarriage at this moment (I was) and was crying at the kitchen table when my husband walked by on the way back from the bathroom I told him “I’m bleeding more heavily and scared I’m having a miscarriage”.

He said “don’t worry” as he walked away and went back to bed. After I did indeed miscarry, I told him how this upset me. He first tried to tell me I told him while he was in bed half asleep (not true).

Then he tried to tell me he was just going pee and not awake and if I told him at a different hour he would’ve comforted me. Then he told me he didn’t actually actually think I could be having a miscarriage and he couldn’t do anything if I was.

He then told me that I should’ve “shaken him awake” and told him I wanted support. So, I definitely did try to take care to tell him what I wanted from him during labour before because he is not very emotionally intelligent.

Many have suggested he was just really scared and didn’t know what to do. I think the opposite was true. He is ever the optimist and never really worries. I think he felt the situation was under control and he wasn’t worried.

I believe he has a difficult time with empathy, and if he’s not worried and can’t understand the pain of contractions he thinks all is well. If he just was accountable and offered a sincere apology, I would not still be thinking about this.

I don’t think he’s capable of sincerely apologizing and I’ve built up a lot of resentment over the years because of it.

I know that if I’m upset and try to talk with him about it he’s first going to tell me it didn’t happen, then he’s going provide multiple excuses and say that he loves me and would never hurt me and then he’s going to tell me it’s actually my fault.

This is a pattern. I’m sick of it. Most of the time we are on the same page and don’t have many disagreements, but when we do, they always feel unresolved to me. Our day to day relationship is actually pretty good.

He is not a dead beat Dad. At first I felt like all the cleaning was on me, but after a talk things got better. My daughter would not latch, and I exclusively pump. I did have to explained to him how much work and effort this was (which was something I thought was obvious). I am happy with where we are now parent responsibility wise.

Some have suggested that I should go through his phone as he must be having an affair. This is not the case.​​​​​​

Looks like OP is NTA here. What would you have done in this situation? Should she have any sympathy for her husband?

Sources: Reddit
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