Being a new parent is hard even in the most ideal circumstances.
None of us will get to be a parent in a perfect scenario—that's just not how the world works.
Typically, we expect our biggest issues as new parents to be things like lack of sleep, inability to "read" your baby yet, getting the hang of the new daily routine, etc.... But what do you do when your biggest issue as a parent is the child's other parent?
For most of you, your minds immediately went to the idea of a woman having issues with her baby's father.
That is not this.
In a not-uncommon-but-rarely-portrayed plot twist, it's the infant's father who reached out to Reddit for some opinions. The infant's mother is his biggest "issue" when it comes to parenting.
Namely, she refuses to let him parent or participate.
Excuse Me Reaction GIF by Mashable Giphy
Redditor belugacup turned to the AITA (Am I The A$$hole?) subReddit for some outside perspective.
Here's his post:
"AITA for not giving my child to my wife? She refuses to let me hold him."
"It is quite troubling that my son has been home for almost a month now and I can count on one hand the number of times that I have been allowed to hold him, and a lot of that was in the hospital. It is very very strange, she seems normal other than this but I can't take it anymore because she's denying me opportunities to bond with my baby and acting like it's hers."
"So - I sat down with her and tried to articulate this and I was surprised when she admitted she was doing it consciously. When I pressed her for her reasoning she says that I'm not to be trusted because I 'drop things' which is BS."
"I asked her when was the last time I dropped anything and she mentioned a couple days before she gave birth I dropped a glass and broke it by accident; which I 100% admit to, but it's not as if I have a habit of doing this. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while."
"I asked if she could name any other time I dropped stuff and she stuttered and tried to make up something. I kinda rolled my eyes and said that she can trust me with him. She just shrugged her shoulders and didn't say anything and I thought we moved on."
"Not gonna lie, I spent the entire night after that conversation awake just waiting for him to cry so I would get to hold him. Around 6am today he started wailing so I jumped up from bed and got to him first and started to rock him back & forth."
"She was a few minutes behind me and said that he needed feeding. I said ok give me the bottle and I got it."
"She said 'no give him to me'. I asked why and she said because it was better if she fed him. I refused, stood my ground, and with baby in tow I went to the fridge to get out the bottle."
"She basically started screeching in my ear. I ignored her and fed the baby. For my first time it didn't go too badly! lol It's just like the YouTube videos."
"But after I placed him back in his crib she's spent all day in his nursery only coming out to shower and make some food. She's refused to speak to me except to tell me that she can't trust me with the baby anymore which I think is a) unfounded and b) an overreaction. I don't think I was in the wrong for wanting to spend some time with my own child."
"Edit : Some people have asked me to put this in the post as they thought it was important. Many years ago when I was 17 and she was 16 she got pregnant and we MUTUALLY made the very difficult decision to give the child up for adoption. We've had many chances for closure now, and we have moved past it both mentally and emotionally."
Before we get into people's responses, we need to explain how the AITA works. The Original Poster (OP) explains their story and asks whether or not they were the a$$hole for what they did.
People respond by voting—and explaining their vote—with this system of abbreviations.
NTA - Not The A$$hole
NAH - No A$$holes Here
ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
YTA - You're The A$$hole
You got all that? If so, let's continue.
are you ready GIF Giphy
So, the question on the table was whether or not he was the a$$hole for not giving the baby back to his wife when she asked. Or at least that's what he intended.
Reddit was quick to agree that something seems wrong here, but not in the way he may have initially thought.
"Your wife needs professional help. Maybe post-natal depression is manifesting itself this way. Do you have a health worker visit? Or check-ups with a medical professional? Perhaps an opportunity to get her some help here." - felicitybean82
"Maybe Post Partum Anxiety. Its different than Post Partum Depression and not screened for as often. Just like PPD can be dismissed as 'baby blues', PPA is often dismissed as 'nervous new mom'." - WildFeralFun
"Your wife has post-partum depression and/or anxiety, my dude. You're NTA for wanting to hold and bond with your kid, obviously, but it's also not going to help your wife's anxiety. Her brain is telling her it's an absolute fact that you are going to drop the kid. It doesn't matter that you're not, that's her reality right now. She needs to speak with her doctor about care and treatment, and probably a therapist. Good luck!" - EastLeastCoast
"NAH I'm not a parent or doctor, but I feel like that's not 100% normal man. Like, maybe she is experiencing some form of postpartum depression or anxiety. You can't call someone who's going through a mental episode an a$hole, and obviously you aren't an a$hole, but your description of her reaction and what she did afterward reads like someone who's describing a stranger in their house." - Maniel
Mothers who had struggled with their postpartum mental health saw a lot of themselves in this man's wife.
"NAH - a couple things. This will be a little long, but I'm hoping some of this info might be helpful. I have a (now 2 year old) son. I'm a person with some anxiety in general, and I remember clearly that the first 2-3 months I was always edgy if someone else were holding him."
"While I knew in my logical brain everything was fine, my "reptile" brain was telling me he's mine to protect, and he would only be safe if I were holding him. Again, not logical - but postpartum anxiety can be a very real thing."
"I had some coping skills having anxiety pre-pregnancy, but if she hasn't then she probably really doesn't know why she's acting this way, and it's really scary for her. I hope that she isn't actively trying to push you out - but she may be instinctively removing as many variables as possible for safety (again, primal instinct, not a personal affront to you)."
"Secondly, this child just came out of her body less than a month ago! I know it's strange, but she lost something (but gained a whole lot more, of course!) when they became two people in two bodies. I hated being pregnant, but I missed it too once it was over?"
"Third, the first 3 months post partum are called the fourth trimester for a reason - your body is still super hormonal, and there are a lot of big changes happening again after months of big changes."
"YOU'RE NOT WRONG. But I think your approach might be. She may have legitimately been afraid (without cause) that you taking the baby meant she wouldn't get him back - so kind of ignoring her and walking away wasn't going to de-escalate things. And I think there's evidence of that since she's essentially been standing guard since this happened."
"So a few things you can try. You can bring up the subject of post partum depression/anxiety. Have a calm discussion where you talk about a 'schedule' - slot yourself into half hour time frames throughout the day. That way she'll have time to mentally prepare, and you will have the comfort of knowing that you'll get some hands-on time at x number of times per day. (This won't last, it's merely a stop-gap measure)"
"I agree, you're missing some quality bonding time and that's an urgent issue. Confronting someone with a mental health issue is challenging, and since you just had a pretty big incident, I'm concerned that she won't be in a place to hear you and it may blow things up even more, as many women try to hide it because they feel they're failing in some way. It's a rough situation for sure"
"It's weird when you make a new human! Everyone's still adjusting, physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out - I've been managing my anxiety for a long time, and I vividly remember those feelings, even though logically I knew it was irrational. Congratulations and best wishes!" - Nova101010
"I've always been an anxious person so I had some strategies and was somewhat prepared for the postpartum anxiety I developed. Mine was pretty manageable and faded by three months but I was just completely unable to control my fears during that stretch."
"Mine was that something would happen to the baby or my husband in equal parts. My husband went to help a neighbor with something and was gone maybe ten minutes. I was sobbing uncontrollably when he got back and convinced something terrible had happened to him and had been trying to figure out how much longer I should wait before calling the police. That was when I realized that things were out of control and not just normal levels of new mom hormones."
"I hope his wife can talk to her dr and get some help with this. If she hasn't processed that this is out of control yet it might take a bit to talk her into seeking help." - rainydaycat08
"Please, please, please get your wife help. This isn't normal. Paranoia is a big symptom of postpartum depression. With my first kid I was scared to have him near a window - windows which were always shut since it was winter, mind you - because I was convinced I would drop him out of the window. The closed window."
"I also thought that everyone wanted to take him from me. It was hell."
"Her hormones are out of control right now, she needs help, this is a medical issue." - dustirc
"NAH which I only say because she's very obviously experiencing PPD / PPA. She needs to speak to a Dr about this, it will only get worse. The sleep deprivation and constant stress of being 'at work' 24/7 with a newborn, who you refuse to accept help taking care of, screws with your emotions so badly."
"I've dealt with depression for most of my life, and it still took me until my son was 5 months old to realize I had PPD because my symptoms weren't 'textbook'. I had fully convinced myself that I was fine, everything was normal, and it very much wasn't. My marriage was really suffering because of how I acted, and I 100% thought it was all my husbands fault."
"It's been 2 months since I started on anti-depressants and things are going much better, but it's still a struggle. There are still times where I cannot leave the room if someone else is holding my baby because my brain is convinced that only I can keep him safe. I know it's not logical, I know his father is great at taking care of him, but PPD seriously f**ks with your head."
"Please, do whatever you need to get your wife to speak with a doctor." - redriggs
OP provided everyone with an update:
"We had a discussion again several hours ago. We talked about the adoption again, just to make sure that that we are still on the same page there. We are."
"She also apologized for how she was treating me. I accepted her apology, but told her I thought that this may be indicative of deeper issues. We'll be going to her O.B and go from there, maybe see what we can do about therapy."
We wish the new family the best of luck.
If you believe you or someone you know may be suffering from PPA or PPD, a visit to your physician is recommended. Postpartum Support International is also available with information and resources.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*