The gender of an unborn baby can evoke a surprising range of emotions in expectant parents.
We'll start by saying that gender disappointment is a very real and very valid thing - how we deal with that emotional turmoil is the more significant factor. Dealing with dishonesty at the same time can also complicate matters! One expectant dad has taken to Reddit to ask if his reaction to the lies his wife told about their unborn baby was in the wrong.
"I (32M) and my wife (25F) are expecting our first child. I've reacted in ways I'm now questioning and need outside perspective.
Background: My childhood was a tumultuous one. Growing up, I always craved a strong male figure in my life. I never had that bond with my father and always envisioned having it with a son. My wife was aware of this deep-rooted desire. During her first pregnancy appointments, I was on an essential business trip. These trips, though draining, are critical since I'm the only breadwinner, trying to ensure a different life for my child than I had.
In my absence, my wife and her adopted mother attended the check-ups. Upon my return, she excitedly told me we were having a boy. We invested emotionally and financially: a blue nursery, boy-themed items, even naming him after my late grandfather.
However, a chance remark from her mother disclosed we're having a girl. My wife admitted she knew from the beginning but didn't tell me, thinking she was protecting my feelings. I was devastated, feeling the weight of past hurts and fresh betrayals. In my pain, I cleared out the nursery and, in a moment I regret, told her mother she wasn't welcome at upcoming family events, seeing her as part of the deceit.
I acted out of deep-seated emotions and past traumas. I love my wife and regret my reactions, but I feel lost. AITA for how I responded?"
What was the general consensus?
There was a mixed reaction on the Reddit AITA (Am I The Asshole) board - the top comments veered towards ESH which stands for 'Everyone Sucks Here'. The top comment was extremely insightful and covered both sides perfectly;
I cannot imagine why she thought it would be less painful for you to think you were having a boy and then disappoint you later. Getting your hopes up accomplishes nothing.
That said…you very much did overreact in clearing out the nursery and disinviting her mother from coming over. This reaction is crazy and you talking about this pain and devastation surrounding having a girl is probably the reason she was afraid to tell you. Because she probably wants to be excited about this child and didn’t want to deal with you acting like it’s something devastating that it’s a girl.
Also, you are projecting wayyyy too much on an unborn child. What if you did have a boy, but he wasn’t as interested in this intense father-son relationship that you are craving? Can any real life father-son relationship actually even live up to the one in your head that is supposed to heal your past wounds?
Your kids are real people, don’t set them up for failure by having all these weird expectations for how they will better your existing traumas."
We'd be inclined to agree with the top comments on the Reddit thread - both sides suck here. His wife's intentions didn't seem to be malicious but were poorly considered. What on earth did she think would happen when their baby popped out as a girl?! It was such a silly lie. The background that the poster provided definitely leaves us feeling sympathetic for his past trauma and deep emotional desire for a father-son bond, but his reaction (packing up the nursery, cutting out his MIL) has blown the situation entirely out of proportion. Both sides owe each other an apology, without a doubt. We've no doubt that their newborn daughter will be loved and cherished, but daddy perhaps needs to reconsider the pedestal he's put his father-son-bond dream upon!
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