After carrying a baby for nine months inside their bodies and going through the extremely difficult process of labor, most women want to be the first to hold their baby. That’s why this father did let the rest of the family hold his baby until his wife was able to do so. This made some family members very unhappy. He decided to ask the popular Reddit forum Am I The Asshole? to find out whether or not he did the right thing. (1)
Family Angry When New Dad Doesn’t Let Anyone Hold His Baby Until His Wife Has
Every mom can recall that wonderful moment when they first hold their new baby. After waiting nine long months to meet them and going through the often difficult birthing process, it is very special. This new dad’s wife, however, had a difficult pregnancy and they knew that likely the delivery process would be, too. Before giving birth, his wife expressed to him that she was sad knowing she’d likely be the last to hold their new son. The husband took it upon himself to make sure that that wasn’t the case: He didn’t let anyone else hold his baby until she had.
“We had talked about it for a while and she admitted hating the thought she would be the last to hold our son. So when he was born and she was still unconscious I did not allow anyone in our families to hold him, or even meet him really,” he wrote on Reddit. “She was unconscious for four days but thankfully recovered and was able to meet and hold our son. It was about a day after everyone else got to meet and hold him for the first time.”
He went on to explain that while both of their families were upset, the only ones who were really pushy about it were his mom and sister.
Triggered Months Later
His wife gave birth in November 2019. Though the family didn’t like being told they had to wait to meet the newest member, nothing overly major happened at the time. Then, in January, his wife posted some photos on social media of her first time holding their son. In her post, she talked about how traumatic the experience was, how dangerous pregnancy and delivery actually are, and how grateful she was that they were both okay. That’s when the backlash started.
“My mom and sister then really started acting like kids. Saying it wasn’t fair and we robbed them of those first few days with their grandson/nephew,” he explained. “I told them plenty of people meet grandkids and nieces/nephews days or even weeks or months after birth and had this been Covid times it would not have happened for a lot longer. But they said I was selfish and should not have done that just because my wife couldn’t meet or hold our baby.”
Some of the family and a few others, as well, claimed he “robbed” his son of having more interactions early on and that it was selfish of him to deny his son more time with people who loved him.
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As you can likely imagine, the forum users voted him NTA (not the asshole) by an overwhelming majority. They nearly all agreed that it was only right for his wife to be the first person outside of him to hold their son. This is especially so because she previously expressed sadness at the thought of not being that person.
“OP’s wife carried that baby in her body for 9 months and went through hell to give birth; she earned the right to hold him before anyone else who didn’t help create him. MIl and SIL are selfish, entitled AHs to think or say otherwise” wrote one commenter.
“I can’t believe this is a real thing someone has to deal with.’Let me get this straight. You read my wife’s post about how difficult, scary and traumatic her labour and birth was and that reminded you about how unfair it was you didn’t get to hold him right away. Why don’t the two of us look up the word selfish together.’” wrote another.
It’s Not As If The Baby Was Alone
Another commenter addressed the fact that some said it was detrimental to the child that more people didn’t hold him in his first four days of life.
“OP, you held the baby those first 4 days, right? By “more interaction” they simply mean “more random family members should have passed the baby around” not “why did you make that poor baby cry in the crib all alone?”. Assuming they just wanted to play Pass The Baby, they’re out of their minds. [Edit: OP has since confirmed that he was most definitely cuddling the baby.]
Especially now with Covid, how do they think they have a leg to stand on? My baby was born early in the pandemic. Only half the family has even seen him in person from a distance, and only 3 of them have even held him ever.
Tiny babies actually get really easily overwhelmed and passing them from person to person as if they needed more “interaction” is selfish and the opposite of what your newborn needed!
Thank you for saving those special moments for your wife. Don’t listen to the complainers.” they wrote.
“The person suggesting that OP denied their son early interaction is conveniently omitting the fact that an infant isn’t going to remember any of it. We parents (and other family members) like to believe that we’re “imprinting” onto a child, but it’s not the case. Good for you, OP, for sticking up for your wife and her child.” wrote another.
Praise For Respecting His Partner’s Wishes
Many, especially those who are moms themselves, thanked him for respecting what he knew his wife wanted. They all agreed that this is a big moment for a mom. She deserved to have it more than anyone else.
“On behalf of women/people giving birth, THANK YOU for what you did- you put your partner’s wishes first before everything else. You did it exactly right! I am so happy that this moment was not stolen from you or disrupted in any way. The others are being super selfish and entitled. They have no rights to holding that baby at all and good for you for putting them in their place. You are the parents, and your words are final. They all can go suck an egg. 1000x NTA.” said one.
“A good friend had to have an emergency c section with her first. Her MIL was just too excited for her first grandchild to wait to come the hospital as she had been explicitly asked to do. She showed up and was the second one, after Dad, to hold the baby. My friend was devastated that other people held and met her baby before she did. And it seriously damaged the relationship with MIL as well. Years later it still bothered her and hurt her that someone else held her baby before she did. OP, you did the right thing. 100%. Remind your mom and sister that it is NOT THEIR CHILD and his mother is more important.” recalled another.
What do you think? Do you agree that this father did the right thing, or are you on the other side?
- ‘AITA for not letting anyone hold my son when he was born?’ Reddit u/Poppaloves. Published March 3, 2021
This article originally appeared on Secret Life of Mom in July 2021 and has been republished here with permission.