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New Dad Wants Divorce After Wife Won’t Let Him Hold Their Newborn Due To His Clumsiness

Father holding his baby skin-to-skin
FatCamera/Getty Images

Content Warning: Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Postpartum Anxiety (PPA)

Having a baby is an incredibly beautiful moment in a couple’s life, and society tells them that it should be among the very happiest moments of their life, as well.

But pregnancy, childbirth, and the early months of parenthood are so incredibly taxing that unexpected issues can arise, though society doesn’t like to talk about that, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITAH) subReddit.

Redditor DangerousVegetablelg wasn’t experiencing the emotional high that many fathers feel, not because of his baby, but because of the limited access his wife was giving him to their newborn because of his ‘clumsiness.’

But when it became clear to him that she was not going to change her feelings about this, the Original Poster (OP) felt hurt enough that he contemplated leaving their marriage behind.

He asked the sub:

“I will be divorcing my wife because she feels it’s dangerous for me to be around our newborn?”

The OP’s wife often commented on how clumsy he was, especially during her pregnancy.

“My wife (31 Female) always complains about how clumsy I (33 Male) am.”

“I do drop things by accident when my hand hits it unknowingly and so I do agree with her. But it’s not that bad that I’m knocking over things every day.”

“I really just laughed this off before when my wife brought it up, but during the pregnancy, she started to say how she won’t let me hold the child because of how clumsy I am.”

“Again, I laughed it off at times, and sometimes when I did take it seriously, I told her there was a difference between knocking over the TV remote and dropping a kid from your arms.”

But only after their baby was born did the OP realize how much this bothered his wife.

“Still, I did not think about it that much. But then my child (2 months Female) was born, I was shocked at how reluctant she was to even let me hold the baby in the hospital.”

“I suddenly saw her panicking when I was even around the baby.”

“It caused a lot of fights and they’ve continued till now. It’s been a couple of months and I have not been able to hold my baby more than three times, including once when I held her at the hospital.”

“She now sleeps in the other bedroom with the baby and doesn’t even let me hold my own daughter, even if I am sitting on the bed where there wouldn’t even be a remote chance of her ever getting hurt, even if I dropped her. She almost never leaves our daughter alone with me, and if she does for a moment, it’s with instructions to not pick our baby up.”

“I suggested I’d use a child carrier to take her on walks, but she refuses that, too, oftentimes suggesting that I’d tip over and fall face first.”

The OP was becoming deeply affected by these interactions.

“I think she is overreacting and I have also suggested going to therapy togethe,r but all she said about the suggestion is, ‘Talking won’t fix your body, OP.'”

“She keeps telling me that I’ll be the reason that our child would die if I ever held her and as a father, I should realize how dangerous it is and comply with her.”

“All this has really affected me and I’ve become a lot more self-conscious. Every time I mess up doing something, she tells me that it is proof that what she’s saying is right.”

“I’m a calm person and a pacifist at most times. Even during our fights, I’ve tried to reason with her, and find a middle ground, but I’ve realized that there isn’t any.”

“I love my wife and my child more than myself, but I cannot continue this considering how I can’t even hold my own child, play with her, take her on walks, etc.”

But the OP reached his breaking point a few days ago.

“The day before yesterday’s night, after a fight, I snuck into her bedroom after my wife was asleep. I went to my daughter. I didn’t hold her; I just held her hand and looked at her.”

“I was emotional, and I did whisper a few things to her (not that she could hear or understand because she was fast asleep), but this woke my wife up, who was right beside her.”

“She screamed at first and then told me to leave the room immediately.”

“I told her that I was not going to hold her and that I was just there to see her and hold her hand.”

“But she didn’t believe me and accused me of being ignorant and selfish.”

“I did lose my temper too, and I offloaded these entire two months of frustration onto her.”

“I feel terrible about how I acted that night. And I’m staying at a hotel as she told me to leave the next morning. I wasn’t in a mood to argue either, so I quietly left.”

“I cannot seem to get over any of what has happened. And even though it hurts so much, I think I am going to part ways and file for divorce.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some believed the OP’s wife had postpartum anxiety and encouraged him to call her doctor.

“That’s the scary thing about postpartum mental illnesses. You don’t need a history of mental illness to get them. And honestly, this is screaming postpartum anxiety so loud.”

“The thing is, mental illness doesn’t need to make sense. It actually makes more sense and more likely that it is a postpartum issue because she is so fixated on you.”

“Please, please talk to her doctor and her.” – lexisplays

“The OP wrote, ‘She also found it very strange that it’s only me she had this issue with. She also has no other symptoms and is generally alright. Our parents have come over to see the baby and play with her.'”

“My mom has terrible anxiety when it comes to medical situations for only one of my three children. It stems from some PTSD she has not really dealt with. Two of my kids got the same illness (strep) a few days apart. When I told her the first one had it, she shrugged it off like, ‘Oh, better get to the doctor.'”

“When I told her my oldest had gotten it four or so days later, she freaked out. She called my brother, whom she almost never talks to, and told him. He said she was crying about it like she’d never heard of a kid getting strep, and it was a fatal illness.”

“Anxiety doesn’t make rational sense. Hyperfixations don’t make sense to the people not experiencing them.”

“The OP also wrote, ‘She’s an independent woman and has not had any major mental health issues in the past.'”

“I didn’t, either. When my postpartum anxiety kicked in, I couldn’t leave the house some days. I convinced my husband that our oldest child was sick on 9/11 because I truly believed half of the clickbait viral Facebook posts I read. And when time had passed and my hormones leveled out, I didn’t feel those things anymore. But I did get help in the meantime.”

“The fact is, your wife is trying to keep you from caring for your child. She’s hurting you and herself in the process. My doctor told me small fears are normal for new parents. Making sure your baby is breathing at night is normal. Being so anxious that it changes your behavior or personality is not okay.” – DreamAppropriate5913

“Please, mate, you need to call a doctor. I have a daughter and a husband who have bipolar disorder. During a manic episode, they can be extremely intelligent and charming to people and seem completely calm. Then when talking to a loved one, they can say absolutely delusional things that just build up and up and up and feed into a narrative that they internalize and then believe is real.”

“I want to be clear: I do NOT think your wife has bipolar disorder. But mentally ill people absolutely can be ‘crazy’ around some people and not others. It’s part of their internalized delusion at the time. Your wife has had some anxiety about you dropping the baby during her pregnancy.”

“Now that she’s birthed your child, the sleep deprivation has caused a psychosis or other postpartum condition. In her mind, you are absolute to be feared because her brain has now decided that those fears of you dropping the baby are completely real and. Therefore, you must stay away because you are the baby harmer. She has no worries and can speak normally to everyone else because they aren’t the ‘baby harmer.’”

“This is a psychiatric issue, and it is an emergency. You need to get home, tell your parents and hers what is happening and what has been happening the whole time, and then you need to call a doctor and tell the whole truth about what has happened. You cannot leave your wife alone with your child right now, she is in fact the dangerous one until she gets treatment.”

“Also, see a doctor about dyspraxia as a possible diagnosis for yourself.” – leopard_eater

“I used to work on inpatient mental health wards, primarily the mum and baby ward. Your wife is showing some concerning signs of postpartum anxiety.”

“I’d give your health visitor/midwife/doctor a call and express your concerns before the anxiety manifests itself in more harmful ways. Although preventing a father from bonding and caring for his child is harmful already.” – AgonisingAunt

“Seriously, try to get a second opinion if her current doctor is ignoring your concerns. I had to talk to about three to four doctors before I was properly diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. And like your wife, the target of my anger, frustration, and anxiety was my husband, even though he is a fantastic father.”

“The hormones take control of your rational mind, and the sleep deprivation just exacerbates everything. Most likely, your wife needs counseling and medication. Postpartum anxiety and depression are no joke.” – Human-Put-6613

Others agreed and shared their own experiences with postpartum anxiety and depression.

“I hope this doesn’t get buried. I WAS your wife, after and before I had my child with untreated mental illness related to the baby, so I’m saying this with all my heart to you, PLEASE HELP HER. HELP HER TO HELP THEM BOTH.”

“My husband almost left several times but got me help instead. Boy, was I resistant and livid, but I’m better now. If he hadn’t helped, I don’t know what would have happened; I’d probably not even understand why he left and still be so angry at him.”

“There might be no way to help your wife, but she is obviously sick, and she and your baby need you more than they know or are able to express. So it might feel thankless but I think getting her help is the right thing to do.” – Ordinary-Bee-7563

“I am another wife and mother who could have been your wife! Please don’t give up on her yet! Her hormones have essentially betrayed her and are telling her to protect your baby but far, far too much.”

“With my second, I barely slept for weeks after the birth and would wake up in a panic, sobbing, convinced my baby wasn’t breathing and feeling for a pulse or the rise of her chest, KNOWING she would be cold when I touched her. Some nights I just didn’t go to sleep, I sat next to her and watched TV to make sure she didn’t stop breathing and die of SIDs.”

“That was two years ago and feels like a bad dream now. I got some medication, and my hormones eventually went back to normal. But all of that was because of PPA/PPD.” – FullTimeFlake

“Unfortunately, I also suffered from Postpartum anxiety, and it manifested JUST like this. I didn’t sleep for weeks at a time, paranoid that my baby would die in his sleep. I had a lot of obsessive and intrusive thoughts like this. I now understand what it was.”

“PLEASE get your wife some help, this is very likely not her true character. Pregnancy and hormones do a number on our bodies.” – scrunchmunchkin22

“I also had extreme PPA/PPD. We lived in a second-floor apartment, and it would take 30 to 60 minutes to convince myself to carry my child down those stairs IN A CAR SEAT for doctor’s appointments because I was fully convinced I’d drop her.”

“I’m not clumsy. I never once fell on those stairs at any point in our time there. Literally, nothing caused me to think that.”

“I also never allowed her to be out of a seat or stroller over concrete for months because I just knewwww she’d somehow fall.”

“It was unreasonable. It was ridiculous. It made no sense at all. But there was no convincing my brain of that.” – CryptographerOk419

“Our dearest friend in the world has been trying to cope with the fallout from his wife’s postpartum psychosis for many years now. I wish more were known about why serious postpartum issues are triggered in some women, but his wife became an immediate danger to their son after he was born and was convinced she had given birth to twins, and one of them was left inside her.”

“He couldn’t leave her alone with the baby for the first year and most of the second year until they found meds that helped manage her symptoms. She’s been hospitalized numerous times over the years because of severe breakdowns, and it’s been heartbreaking to see the toll it’s taken on the whole family.”

“But his first priority has always been to make sure his son was safe, and I urge you to talk to your wife’s doctors ASAP about what is happening to her in detail. Yes, this isn’t going to make her happy, but it sounds like right now she’s spiraling and isn’t able to see that her behavior isn’t healthy for any of you, and could present a danger to your child.”

“My friend’s wife refused to engage with her doctors because she believed they were all part of a plot to hide her non-existent second child, and he had to make the difficult choice to have her involuntarily committed in order to get her the help she desperately needed before something really bad happened. So please don’t wait to seek help for her because these things can escalate rapidly and often without warning.”

“I’m so sorry you’re all going through this nightmare, and I’m sending lots of love and invisible hugs to all of you.” – PurpleGimp

After receiving feedback, the OP shared that he had changed plans and also had contacted his wife’s doctor about his concerns.

“I have contacted my wife’s doctor, and at first, she did suggest that it might be what you are suggesting, but she also found it very strange that it’s only me she had this issue with. She also has no other symptoms and is generally alright.”

“Our parents have come over to see the baby and play with her. She’s an independent woman and has not had any major mental health issues in the past.”

“I think a lot of you are missing the point that she does allow me to touch the baby and play with her while she is in her hands and/or when she is around, but I can’t lift her.”

“Reading all your comments and suggestions, my mind has calmed down a bit, too. When you are at your worst, your mind does seem to make irrational decisions sound rational. I’m putting the thought of a divorce on a shelf for now.”

“It’s a lot to take in, but I do realize that I shouldn’t be abandoning her if it’s really something she is struggling with. It gives me hope, too, that with the correct help, this will be our past. I’m not sure why, but I’m a lot more optimistic now.”

The subReddit deeply empathized with what the OP was going through and what he undoubtedly felt when he only wanted to bond with his newborn daughter, but they encouraged him to find the strength in himself to stay in the marriage for a while and seek out the medical care that his wife seemed to need.

Hopefully with the right care, they’d be able to put this behind them, and the OP would be able to have the happy life with his newborn daughter that he dreamed of and reconnect with the wife that he started this family together with in the first place.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.