The first half of a couple's unplanned pregnancy went smoothly. They accepted the startling development and went on to embrace it.
Four and a half months passed with health and harmony. But all of that changed when the father made a discovery right around the midway point of the pregnancy.
After taking drastic measures, he turned to the "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
UnderstandingFew, as he's known on the site, felt he had the strongest leg to stand on in the argument. And he hoped internet strangers would confirm this.
His post began with the good old days.
"About 4 and a half months ago my girlfriend (25f) and I (27m) found out she was pregnant. While this was most certainly NOT planned we were both over the moon excited with the news."
"We both have very well paying stable jobs and had often discussed beginning a family in the near future. My girlfriend has been pretty consistently happy throughout the pregnancy. She has a few bad days but we get through it together."
But a recent shindig at the house left him with a sense that things were awry.
"So fast forward to about 2 weeks ago. Me and my girlfriend had invited some friends over for dinner but as we got closer to the evening she claimed she didn't feel well and would rather lay down."
"I was very understanding and so was everyone else, after all she is growing a tiny human."
"Now this is where I caught wind something might be up. Throughout dinner I would periodically return to the kitchen to make drinks and left the bottles of booze out on the counter to return to our liquor pantry later."
"I kept noticing some of the bottles looked noticeably emptier than last time I used them but I ignored it."
"A few times I thought I heard my girlfriend walking around but assumed if she wanted to be social she would be."
His confusions became hard discoveries when the guests left for the evening.
Only anger followed.
"Dinner came to an end and I saw our friends out. I returned to the kitchen and was absolutely certain the bottle of gin looked touched from where I left it."
"I got a really bad gut feeling and walked towards the bedroom me and girlfriend share. I walked in and she was out cold, I came closer and she immediately smelled like booze."
"I looked around and found a cup with melted ice and leftover gin hidden under the bed. I was floored. Admittedly I reacted badly, and I woke her up yelling at her about how she could be so stupid to drink while she was pregnant."
"What was even more sickening to me was how little my girlfriend seemed to care she had been caught drinking."
And as they fought, more ugly truths surfaced.
"After a lengthy argument I found out she has been using booze to help her sleep at night because she's struggling to get comfortable."
"She has also been socially drinking while out sometimes as her pregnancy isn't always noticeable under a baggy hoodie or jacket."
"Most of all she made it clear she doesn't plan on stopping and she does not believe alcohol affects the baby as bad as everyone says."
He was full steam ahead after that, taking drastic new measures that he felt were utterly justified.
"I went full control mode. I went out the next day and bought a lock for our liquor pantry that only I know the combination to."
"Every time my wife goes out now I check her phone to see where she is and if she is at a restaurant or bar I text her or whoever she is with saying not to drink any alcohol (she has yet to tell some of her friends and family we are expecting)."
"I also told her if I catch her with anymore alcohol I will be telling her OBGYN and her family."
"She says I am overreacting and being a complete a**hole. Am I?"
Most Reddit responses were on his side.
They called him "NTA" (Not the A**hole) and assured him that he needs to go even further with his intervention.
"You should tell her OBGYN regardless of whether you catch her drinking again or not. It sounds like she's been drinking quite a bit so far through her pregnancy, and hopefully the baby won't be affected but FAS is a very real concern right now."
"As for her family, she may not get a choice in them knowing about it. But funny how she 'doesn't believe' alcohol can harm a fetus, but still doesn't want them to know."
"NTA. You need to be preparing for the possibility of raising a disabled child on your own, though." -- RedoubtableSouth
"NTA. She could have already done irreparable harm to the fetus. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is REAL. Print out some info for her and sit down and read it together."
"Ask her if she really wants this pregnancy, because this is not the behavior of someone who cares about the fetus they're carrying."
"I'd also call her obgyn anyway because this behavior is dangerous." -- nattyleilani
"NTA, she's an addict. You need to have a full intervention. Permissible drinking during pregnancy is a half a glass of wine, it does not include hard liquor." -- Originalhumanbeatbox
"You're not going to be able to solve her alcohol problem by limiting access, you need actual help. NTA" -- no_good_namez
Some stated her behavior had not occurred in a vacuum.
These comments didn't necessarily blame him, but reminded him of his influence.
"YOU NEED TO QUIT DRINKING WITH HER!!!!"
"NTA but seriously throw all the bottles away don't get drunk around her don't have friends drink around her obviously she's got a clouded mind and quite possibly could be an alcoholic which makes stopping all the harder."
"Plus if she doesn't think alcohol will affect her baby maybe try educating her let her doctor know so they can educate her. This is a hard time for her but please help her by quitting too so she doesn't feel alone." -- haraldish1
"NTA but dont lock the liquor cabinet, pour all that shit out and dont drink yourself for the rest of the pregnancy. You dont want to lose any moral high ground by being a hypocrite if you do have to stage an intervention." -- stressrelief375
Some definitely judged her behavior, but didn't let him off the hook either.
"ESH" (Everyone Sucks Here) was a common acronym in the comments.
They called his way of handling things either ineffective or problematic.
"NTA for sure, though I'm not sure if putting a lock on the cabinet was the right way to go. She's an adult and if she wants to drink she will find a way, whether it's at home or a bar or whatever."
"It sounds like it's going to be tough to have a rational discussion with someone who so blatantly disregards what is good for them and their pregnancy though, so I get why you did it. Just saying it's not going to help." -- musubiqueen
"ESH, lightly. Your way of handling it is bad. As she's pregnant, she's already in for months of pain - you going full control mode is probably stressing her out and a bit violating."
"Instead, she absolutely needs to understand how bad the issue is - because monitoring her is such an unhealthy way to carry out a pregnancy."
"Gather resources, ask her OBGYN to talk to her, and even tho this is really low - show her some of the worst examples of fetal alcohol syndrome on the internet." -- MrKccp
"If you think going full-blown stalker and control freak is the way forward, then you need just as much help as she does. Yes [You're the A**hole] and so is she. Neither of you should be bringing a child into this world."
"Either get help for both of you or call the whole thing off and go your separate ways. Because this is currently a toxic relationship that won't do anything good for that poor child." -- Jockey79
Some even introduced the possibility of an even larger problem at play.
"ESH. You are being over-controlling by monitoring where she is and what she is doing. But she is also AH for drinking heavily while pregnant."
"She needs to speak with her doctor (and you should go with her) and find out just how much damage heavy drinking can do to a baby. Lots of developmental issues that you can Google yourself."
"If I had to guess, your gf is not as happy about being pregnant as you think. She is trying to either pretend that she is not pregnant or trying to induce a miscarriage. You need to have an honest, non-judgmental talk with her and see what you can discover. Then you can make a decision together how to proceed." -- wilburstiltskin
"Are you positive that she wants this baby as much as you do? Sounds to me like she is either trying to get rid of it, or still in denial of the fetus inside of her.." -- misipogii
The Reddit community is many things, but at least one sliver of it feels passionately about public health and proper care during pregnancy.