Becoming a parent is a life-changing decision that, while exciting, can also be incredibly overwhelming...
Pregnant women can often get a bad reputation for being smug, emotionally unhinged and righteous about seemingly unimportant details of motherhood. However, they're also building a future human inside their bodies, enduring a great deal of physical and emotional pain, and dealing with the stress and fear of their identity and relationships changing. While some couples can seamlessly transition into parents, others find the shift in the dynamic of their relationship more difficult.
Preparing a nursery, throwing a baby shower, choosing names, or shopping for clothes and toys are things couples can do together to get excited for their child, but sometimes the parent who isn't pregnant can still feel left out, confused, or helpless in the process. If you don't know what to do while your pregnant wife is hysterically sobbing over which toy giraffe to buy, maybe just make her some tea and buy both? Is the toy giraffe the hill you really want to die on here?
So, when a soon-to-be dad decided to consult the internet's moral compass also known as Reddit's "Am I the As*hole" about his pregnant wife's seemingly unreasonable behavior, people were quick to offer advice.
AITA for telling my wife she's not the only woman in the world to ever have a baby?
As you can probably guess, this is our first child. We're both excited, but I think my wife sometimes goes overboard and beyond what's normal. I hate to use the word pretentious, but a lot of what she does and says seems that way. Sometimes it seems like she thinks she's the only woman ever to have a baby, and that makes this experience a lot less enjoyable. The amount of pressure she puts on us and the significance she attaches to everything sucks the joy out of being an expectant parent. It also makes her hard to be around sometimes because of how demanding she can be and how nothing every seems to be good enough for her.
I did try talking to her about everything I've mentioned, but it did no good. She just didn't understand what I was trying to say. I don't know if she was being willfully ignorant or honestly didn't understand it, but I tried several different ways. I finally told her that she needed to lighten up and learn not to make everything so difficult because it's not rocket science and many woman have had and raised babies successfully without making it this hard.
She didn't like that I told her this, but I think she needed to hear it. Ordinarily I'd listen if she told me I was the a*shole, but lately her judgment has been off so I think she's wrong in this case. AITA (Am I the As*hole)?
Later, he added examples:
Planning the nursery has been awful. She never listens to my suggestions and dismisses my ideas as dumb, yet she can never decide what she wants. I've already painted the nursery twice. I tell her that the color doesn't matter, but she believes it does. She seems to get easily hung up on details like that such as paint color and carpeting.
We did a maternity shoot, and nothing was right. The session was supposed to take 1-2 hours. Instead it took three because of how many re-shoots she had us do.
She never takes advice or input from others. I will send her an article or point out something to her, and she'll dismiss it because "a mother knows."
She says a lot of things which make it clear she doesn't believe I am really doing anything important. I know I have a support role, but she makes it clear exactly how little she thinks I matter in this all. That sort of leads into another issue which is how she tends to make a lot of underhanded insults about how I don't understand anything because I am the dad.
Here's what the jury of internet strangers had to say:
A mix of NAH (Not an As*hole) and ESH (Everyone Sucks Here) based on the examples provided. Your feelings regarding being dismissed and minimized are valid. The stuff about the nursery and the maternity shoot? Maybe a little irritating, but her body is going through a lot, so indulge her a little there.
You both just need more patience and kindness with each other, and she needs to let you in a little more. - Tamika_Olive
This soon to be dad is absof*ckinglutely NTA (Not the As*hole). Is it natural for a first time mother to be nervous and stressed about her first child? Of course. Should he be supportive and go to the nth degree of effort in making sure she feels heard, cared for, loved and safe? Absolutely. Is she experiencing a hormonal cocktail that throws her whole system, including her emotional judgment, out of whack? Undoubtedly. Does that make it okay in any way for her to REPEATEDLY belittle, diminish, insult, patronize and reduce the input, effort, opinions, care and role of her husband, the father of this child? Absolutely not. This is not ok. OP, I'm not sure how your wife's behavior toward you compares to her personality/affect pre-pregnancy, but this is not ok. Be loving, be gentle, talk openly with her about how this is making you feel...but DO NOT accept this as 'new mum' 'first time' 'hormone' normality. It's not. You don't deserve it. - cienfuegos__
Dude - she’s not the first woman to have a baby - but this is the first time SHE’S pregnant, the first time SHE’S giving birth.
You gotta cut some slack and realize that this is a completely different experience for her than it is for you. - pretty_pisces13
YTA (You're the as*hole). As a husband for 20 years and a father of two, I can say after I read your unintentionally hilarious post I think you are LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.
Seriously though, your wife’s body is going crazy and will continue to for a few years after birth. She also is trying to wrap her head around creating a child inside her own body. You will (hopefully) understand this much better after you see your child for the first time. The birth of our first child was the most profound moment in my life so far, it brought me to tears of joy.
I know pregnant women can be unreasonable, mean and self-important but they are so amazing and what is happening is the most beautiful thing this world has to offer. Be extra-understanding and very patient, enjoy how incredible this is for her.
I don’t blame you for feeling the way you do, I felt the same at times, I just never said it directly to my pregnant wife. All dads have been where you are, apologize and tell her you love her! Tell her how excited you are to be a dad. God bless you both and good luck! - ElementsUnknown
YTA (You're the As*hole)
My wife and I have two children (now 15 and 12) and have been married 25 years this month, I've never seen her like she was the times she was pregnant. The hormones and emotions that pregnancy puts women through are immense, like genuinely insane, I'm not sure men could cope with it. It's our job as husbands to love and support our wives in this difficult time, not to be harsh, judgemental and critical as you are doing.
You need to Accept that everyone responds to this new period of life differently, that your wife is probably feeling very emotional at this time and try to be loving, understanding and supportive in this period....which so far you are failing to do, but you can turn it around! - Elcaptain2020
YTA (You're the As*hole), she isn’t the first woman to have a baby but this is her first time having a baby, it’s a huge life changing experience and it sucks that you’re not interested in supporting her through the pregnancy or getting exited about your baby. - expectingrain22
So there you have it!
While this story received mixed opinions, most people agreed that this soon-to-be dad needs to step up his game and accept that while his wife might seem unreasonable, he ultimately needs to be there for her. Of course she is not the first woman in the world to have a baby, but this is a new, scary, and exciting experience for her. Being pregnant doesn't give anyone an excuse to treat their partner badly, but obsessing over photos and paint seems relatively harmless in the grand scheme of their parenting challenges ahead. Good luck, everyone!