Dad-to-Be Backed for Reaction to Pregnant Wife’s Birth Plan: ‘Hit Me Hard’

A post about a pregnant woman who said her husband was getting on her nerves for wanting to be at the birth of their son has gone viral on Reddit, where it received over 18,000 upvotes at the time of writing.

In a post shared on Reddit’s Am I The A****** (AITA) subforum under the username Dzear_Fox_5010, the 28-year-old said his 26-year-old wife Emily was eight months pregnant. The couple, who have been together for seven years and married for two, “have always talked about having kids, and I’ve always wanted to be there when they were born,” he said.

But Emily has been “very adamant that I not be in the room, natural or C[-section], no matter what.”

According to the poster, his wife said he had this “beaten puppy dog” look on his face, and that it’s “pissing her off.” She later allegedly started “scolding” him, asking why it mattered so much and whether he was going to “act this weak” in front of their son.

The husband said: “She told me I needed to just be a f****** man and ‘get the f*** over it.'”

Nurses showing newborn to couple.
A stock image of a woman lying on a hospital bed, while a man holds her hand, as nurses hold up their newborn child. A post about a woman who called her husband “weak” after he asked to be at the birth of their son has sparked fury on Reddit.
iStock / Getty Images Plus

Robin Carlock, a licensed clinical social worker, told Newsweek that as “aggressive” as the communication from the wife may be, the best way forward in this situation is to try to gain “a deeper understanding” of why the wife does not want her husband at the birth.

The poster’s strong desire to be involved in the birth is not surprising and could also be down to hormones. An April 2017 study in the peer-reviewed journal Hormones and Behavior stated: “The transition to parenthood has been associated with declines in testosterone among partnered fathers, which may reflect males’ motivation to invest in the family.”

The study’s findings suggested that “changes in paternal testosterone across pregnancy, and hormonal linkage with the pregnant partner, may underlie fathers’ dedication to the partner relationship across the transition to parenthood.”

A July 2018 systematic review of 31 studies looking at fathers’ involvement during pregnancy and childbirth, published in the Midwifery journal, said: “While fathers desired to be actively involved in the antenatal [during pregnancy] and intrapartum [during labor] periods, they cited several barriers that impeded their involvement.”

The factors influencing their levels of involvement included “levels of informational support, attitudes towards involvement, qualities of marital relationship, relationships with their own parents, and sociodemographic factors,” the study said.

The father-to-be in the latest Reddit post said it has been “a pretty difficult pregnancy” for the couple, especially for his wife. “She’s had a few miscarriages in the past, and I’ve just been praying to God for both of them to make it through safely.”

The poster said he realizes “all that matters is that they’re both healthy” and he’s been trying to come to terms with this. But his wife has been “so condescending.”

He noted: “I know that she’s just stressed out and scared, so she doesn’t mean it, but I feel like I deserve to process this at least for a few days.

“I feel like crying, but I don’t want her to know, and get mad at me again, so I told her I was going out to get groceries, and am writing this [Reddit post] in the car to try and calm myself down. I love her so much, but what she said really hit me hard. I just want them both to be healthy and safe, but I also wanted to be there,” the poster said.

Why Does the Wife Not Want Her Husband at the Birth?

Carlock, who works at Thriveworks, a company offering therapy and psychiatry services in person and online, said it sounds like the husband is coming from “a genuine place with good intentions” and feels his wife is “being unfair and in his words ‘condescending.'”

“His wife is using aggressive communication techniques evidenced by the cursing and using ‘put downs’ in her responses,” Carlock said.

Carlock advised that “the best solution” in this case is to “get a deeper understanding of why his wife does not want him in the room when their baby is being born.”

A ‘Safe Space’ is Needed for Healthy Communication

Carlock explained: “When facilitating couples counseling, the most important aspect is finding a safe space to practice healthy communication. I believe within marriage there are sacrifices and compromises but most importantly healthy communication. If the husband cannot truly express himself in a safe space, this may cause additional stress on the husband in future situations.”

She suggested having a mediator in this conversation, allowing both partners to express themselves uninterrupted.

Couple doting over a newborn in hospital.
A stock image of a woman holding a newborn in a hospital bed, while a man kisses the forehead of the baby. A post about a husband whose wife banned him from being in the delivery room for the birth of their son has gone viral on Reddit.
iStock / Getty Images Plus

‘Toxic Masculinity’

The latest post has sparked fury among users on Reddit who criticized the wife for her “toxic” behavior.

User wtfaidhfr asked: “Is she always this cruel?…NTA [not the a******],” in a comment that got 41,300 upvotes.

In a comment that got 23,400 upvotes, user iNeedToLaughAtThis said the wife is “straight up obsessed with toxic masculinity. Men are weak if they cry or care about seeing their child’s first moments? Hell no this woman has very toxic views and op [original poster] really needs to take a look if this is the kind of mindset he wants his child to be raised with.”

In a comment that got 1,100 upvotes, user numbersthen0987431 added: “What REALLY pisses me off about OP’s wife is that she doesn’t want him to be some ‘weak man,’ but she wants him to ‘toughen up.’ It’s like she wants the toxic masculinity role, but hasn’t really thought it through of what she wants…”

ZeldaMayCry said. “OP sounds beaten down (emotionally) and sad…Your partner should never diminish or invalidate your feelings, ever. OP, NTA. I’m sorry, please stand up for yourself & assure your son that it’s okay as a man to express feelings.”

User cikanman said “this is actually toxic femininity not toxic masculinity though. It’s the start of their family. He should be there for those first moments AND the person that should make her feel safe should not be mommy but should be her husband.”

Newsweek has contacted the poster for comment via the Reddit messaging system.

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