Redditor "danzeswithwolvesz" asked the AITA (Am I the A**hole) subReddit if he was wrong for telling his pregnant wife that she is selfish for "not wanting to gain weight."
"I know this sounds harsh but please hear me out," wrote the Original Poster (OP), adding that he used his post as a "throwaway"—a Reddit term used to indicate a temporary user account to post with increased anonymity.
"I am 33 years old and my wife is 29. We have been married for 6 months and she is 4 months pregnant.
The OP shared his wife's history as a model for context.
"My wife was a fashion model from age 15 to 24. She worked in high fashion and they really stressed the importance of being rail thin. My wife is 5'11 and I don't think she's ever weighed more than 125 pounds her entire life.
For the sake of her pregnancy, the doctor recommended something that would challenge her relationship with food.
"We found out about her pregnancy 2 months ago. The doctor said during the first 3 months of pregnancy she should aim to gain at least 5 pounds, especially since she's underweight (currently 125 pounds)."
"He wants her to gain like 30 pounds at least throughout the whole pregnancy. However she has not followed his advice and continues to eat very little (around 1000 calories a day).
The OP was convinced being a model had lasting affects about the perception of her caloric intake.
"My wife swears she has never had a eating disorder in her life but I think her years as a model really screwed with her head. It's hard for her to wrap her mind around being anything but model-thin."
"I'm legitimately worried about this pregnancy and the health of our child."
It was time for the father-to-be to speak up after much concern for the baby.
"Yesterday I made sure dinner consisted of some of her favourite dishes, to try and get her to eat more, but as usual she just picked at her food and ate very little then proclaimed she was 'full.'"
"I straight up said 'You are being incredibly selfish and putting our baby's health at risk.'"
She left the table crying after his comment.
The OP admitted his words were "harsh" but explained they were out of frustration.
"I try to get her to see a therapist, I even found one that deals especially with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, but she refused to go because she says she is 'perfectly fine.'"
"Am I the a**hole here?"
Anonymous strangers weighed in to determine whether the OP was one of the following:
NTA - Not The A**hole
YTA - You're The A**hole
ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
NAH - No A**holes Here
"NTA. I sympathize with your wife but you're right, she's risking her child's health."
"The first trimester is especially important to eat healthy and eat enough. It can effect the baby's brain and spinal development."
"Your wife truly does need some help but idk how if she refuses. At least you can know your feelings are valid." – Pipipupu3
This Redditor sympathized with the wife and suggested the OP might be confusing quality vs. quantity of foods.
"I feel for the wife because I'm also skinny (100 pounds) and i eat so little, but i eat the right food. I think OP might be confusing quality and quantity of foods."
"It might be hard for the wife to force herself to eat so much all of a sudden because she is used to eat a certain way for sooo long." – slavete
"If she was a fashion model she's probably hyper-aware of calories though."
"Just getting her to eat more calorie dense foods like nuts, avocado, salmon etc isn't necessarily a solution either." – not_cinderella
This person proposed that the wife should seek a nutritionist.
"Since your wife has worked in the industry, doing whatever it takes to reach her goals will be nothing new to her."
"If the nutritionist can set achievable, goals that will improve the babies health and create a plan to eat healthy foods to get there, I'm sure your wife will be on board."
"She probably does not want to gain weight right now because she feels like she is doing something wrong."
"Seeking the help of a professional with clearer goals and a plan to get there may give her the reassurance she needs that she is doing the right thing." – fiishwa
This Redditor implied time was of the essence.
"Three months is very little time to take a small step when two have already gone."
"I have to echo others that the first three months are critical. Not only are they when all the fundamental body parts and nervous system are developing, but we also know that maternal metabolism likely affects baby's life long health risks (see research on maternal deprivation and epigenetic effects on their children)."
"I knew a woman who was likely an exercise anorexic (she had 3 jobs, including aerobics instructor) throughout her pregnancy."
"Lo and behold, at around 7 months pregnancy the doctors were telling her baby was failing to thrive (ie not growing at expected rate)." – Pisum_odoratus
And while this person agreed, they acknowledged she needs mental health treatment, not just physical.
"Yes, this is a time sensitive situation."
"But telling someone who is mentally ill with an eating disorder and/or body dysmorphia to just 'get it together (and eat properly)' is like telling someone a woman who lost her hair to cancer to 'get it together' and grow her hair back because she is getting married in 6 months time, or telling your employee with a freshly broken leg to 'get it together' and be back on their feet next week."
"It just doesn't work that way. Just as you can not snap your fingers and make an ill body co-operate, you can not just snap your fingers and make an ill brain co-operate."
"This woman is ill. She is sick and needs treatment."
"Yes, she needs help quickly. I am not disagreeing with that."
"But screaming 'get it together' isn't going to help someone with an eating disorder and/or body dysmorphia. She has to unlearn years of being conditioned to think that that 'weight gain = very bad' and that will take time because she is mentally ill."
"Telling her to 'get it together' will do nothing but cause her stress. What she needs professional help and treatment, not being shamed to 'get it together.'" – bellamariposa
One Redditor declared ESH.
"The wife is an a**hole because she's denying her problem and refuses to seek treatment, but she does have some justification due to how much pressure the modeling industry puts on young women, especially when she started as a teenager."
"OP is an a**hole because instead of gently suggesting going to a therapist in the FIRST place, he instead decides to call his wife selfish, and THEN suggest a therapist."
"Like, if you already KNEW your wife's long-lasting emotional trauma was haunting her, and you're concerned for her, maybe not blame HER directly for her problems?"
"It's pretty obvious the way she's kept the same weight for approximately the last 14 years since becoming a model, and always insisting on it, that she relies heavily on people's opinions about her. if you called her selfish, when you KNEW she was fighting her demons, she definitely won't want to go to therapy with you."
"From her perspective (i think), if your own HUSBAND, THE PERSON YOU COMMITTED TO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, criticizes you for dealing with an underlying 10+ YEARS problem in a damaging way, then I should CONTINUE to conform to unattainably exaggerated standards of beauty that society has pressured on young women/men alike."
"Advice: read more into this, have a discussion with her and your GP, and just go take a walk and cool your head." – thatbengaliboi
The OP's concern for his wife received further examination to determine what prompted the negative response.
"His feelings of worry are valid, about his baby's health, but isn't it funny that this is only an issue now that 'his baby' is involved, and it was never enough of an issue before?"
"Like he didn't care that she ate so little as long as she was supermodel thin and his wife, i.e. as long as she was attractive it didn't matter, but now that 'his baby' is involved it's suddenly a problem."
"No wonder she's reacting this way, she's finally seeing that all he cared about was that she's hot, up until such time as her duties as an incubator become more important to him." – sedona_shines
This Redditor challenged all those who immediately slammed the OP by making assumptions based on little information.
"Oh straight-up bullsh*t. This is just looking for ways to get offended based on minimal information."
"First of all, he is not her parent so pretending like this all is his responsibility is f'king insane. She's a grown-a** woman and is capable of making her own decisions."
"Especially because he's not the one that got her into that mindset, he said so himself that she was in that world since she was 15. If anything, I'm reading more disapproval from OP's post than anything else."
"Second, how do you know he didn't urge her beforehand to gain weight? You have absolutely no info to go with this train of thought."
"Third, you (and others in this thread) are awfully inclined on going with train of thought that he didn't find it problematic cause he found her hot."
"Have you considered, just for a moment, that maybe he loves her for the person she is and not how she looks, and he supports her right to maker her own decisions on her looks, whether he personally agreed with those decisions or not?"
"Do you even realize how utterly shallow you sound?"
"Fourth, we all f'king know that if he tried forcing her to gain some weight before baby came along there'd be crap ton of people in here calling him a**hole because 'her body her choice.'"
"And finally fifth, even if all you said is true, all of it is completely f'king irrelevant because the point is that baby's health is in no uncertain terms in danger."
"His opinion of her body, her own opinion, previous stances and opinions, all of it is irrelevant."
"If you are unable to adjust your own actions so you aren't bringing your own kid into danger, you are, by default, not ready to be a parent and an a**hole." – DeityGamesJesus
Calling someone in a vulnerable state "selfish" was probably not the best way to handle the situation, but seeking treatment sounds like a good strategy here.
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The book Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is available here.