Having a child is a life-changing experience.
Once that new life comes into the world it can shift our perspectives and change our perceptions on many things.
While this process can be joyous, it can also be very difficult. Exacerbated by the loss of al loved one, it can be too much to bear.
What happens when, after the birth of a child, things change in a worrying way?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Direct_Kangaroo_5965 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside perspectives.
“AITA for not letting my wife leave the country with our new baby?”
OP becan with a quick summary of the situation.
“My wife and I have just had a baby and my wife won’t let my parents see the baby until her mother does.”
Then he went back to explain the origin of the issue.
“My wife and her mum used to be very close but three months into the pregnancy her mother passed away.”
“It was very sudden but peaceful and in her sleep.”
“My wife was devastated which was to be expected because they would talk all the time about the baby and how excited they were.”
“The issues started closer to the delivery date.”
“My wife and my mum are close as well (obviously not as close as she is with her own mother) and so she had invited my mum to be in the delivery room with her.”
“When her mother died she told my mum that she didn’t think it was fair if she was there when her own mother couldn’t be.”
“My mum was understanding and so was I. Then she said she wanted to name the baby after her mother if it was a girl.”
“Her mother had a very unique but pretty name so I gave in to that demand as well.”
“Now we have had the baby, it’s a girl and I love my daughter so much.”
“I am so proud of my wife for going through this even after the loss she faced.”
OP then explained the logistics of the problem itself.
“Now this is the issue, my side of the family has been trying to meet the baby and my wife won’t allow it. She says her mother has to meet the baby first.”
“What she means by this is that she wants to take the baby to visit her mothers grave.”
“This wouldn’t be a big deal if her mother was buried in our country.”
“My wife’s family is African and so when her mother died she flew the body back and had her buried in her home country because that’s what her mother wanted.”
“Due to Covid and the healing process my wife won’t be able to travel with the baby for the next 3 to 6 months at least.”
“This means that my family won’t meet my child until she is almost a year old when they live just 30 minutes away.”
“I tried to explain to my wife how absurd and unfair this demand is but she said what’s unfair is that my family will have the rest of their lives with our daughter while her mother will likely only meet the baby once because the flight is expensive and long and she doesn’t go back to Africa often.”
“(Once every 5-7 years).”
“I told her that with the way she was acting, I didn’t trust her to take the baby out of the country especially because she won’t let me go with them.”
“She says this is between three generations of women in her family and that she just wants to spend time with her mum and her daughter.”
“When I implied I wouldn’t let her leave with the baby she blew up at me, called me an a**hole and said she would divorce me if I ever tried to control her like that again.”
He was left to wonder,
“I love my family and I know she’s grieving but I would be lying if I said I was comfortable with the situation so, AITA?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for some outside perspectives.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some commenters were concerned about mother’s mental health.
“NTA but man you need to get some serious help…”
“Ask her OB for a referral for postpartum depression care from a therapist. Between grieving and being postpartum she needs some real support.”
“I really really hope this is overkill but i would visit a family lawyer and get clear about what you would need to do to prevent her from traveling alone with the baby.”
“I would be concerned that she’s hurting more than she’s letting on and that she would stay in the country with your daughter.”
“The state department has a method for preventing parents from traveling without permission of the other parent.”
“Find a couples counselor and start going. Her refusal to let your family visit the baby isn’t reasonable.” ~ capmanor1755
“Your wife is grieving and that’s understandable, but she’s gone over the line of what is reasonable for grieving.”
“Telling her she can’t leave the country with the baby (without you!) is also not a matter of controlling her, it’s a matter of not letting her make a unilateral decision about a child the two of you share.”
“She can do whatever she wants. She can’t just decide to do whatever she wants with a shared child.”
“Maybe a therapist could help here? I don’t really see this being something you’re able to just solve on your own.” ~strikingfirefly
There were also personal stories.
“I have dual citizenship and dual passports.”
“That’s really a technicality.”
“I’ve traveled to Canada (my other nationality) plenty of times and never had anyone request to see my American passport until the return.”
“My parents often choose to show their Canadian passport when traveling from the US to Europe as they think Europeans like Canadians better.”
“Other countries don’t care.”
“It’s really only the return when you see actual American officials where you need it (which is why I use my American, almost solely, as I live in the US and no sense bringing two passports on every trip).”
“My parents are naturalized US citizens and, when they became US citizens, part of the ceremony was turning in their Canadian passport and being told they were only allowed to use a US one now.”
“They didn’t find out until I officially claimed my Canadian citizenship as an adult that they were allowed to have both passports and had been all along.” ~ Skerin86
Commenters also reminded OP that this is his child as well.
“And OP, this is your baby, too.”
“You have the right to introduce your baby to your family.”
“You may want to get the help for your wife going first and consider how to best plan for time with your family – but do not believe that you must wait for the wife to recover and ‘give you permission’ before you introduce your child to your family.”
“Good luck” ~ swillshop
Others pointed out the safety concerns.
“Yes, this is primarily a matter of safety, both for your grieving postpartum wife, and your unvaccinated infant who would be in the sole care of someone acting erratically while in a dangerous situation.”
“(Long international flight with unmasked passengers, to a place which may or may not have a lower vaccination rate and less available healthcare than OP’s home country).”
“Navigating this with his wife will be really fraught.”
“I think it’ll be worse if OP doesn’t make it clear that his priority is their safety, and center the discussion on that, rather than his family of origin getting to visit.”
“If he has to temporarily make that concession while everyone gets the care they need, so be it. It’s unfair, but an immediate visit with extended family is not life-or-death — the rest of it could be.” ~ yet_another_sock
Despite the grief, some considered OP’s wife to be TA in this instance.
“What your wife is wanting to do is entirely selfish.”
“Yes, she is the baby’s mother, but she has excluded you in all of this.”
“This is only about her wants.”
“She needs to grieve; she has to do so before hopping on a plane with the baby.”
“She could get there and just not want to come back. She isn’t wanting you to be a part of anything at this point and it’s concerning.”
“She is a flight risk who is trying to control things (not you trying to control her).”
“You are thinking about the overall wellbeing of your child, while she is thinking in an emotional state while grieving.”
“When we are grieving, we tend to not make rational decisions.”
“I’d talk to a lawyer and see what could be done to protect her from leaving the country with the child until she is in a better place mentally.”
“She should get the chance to take her daughter to see her mother (at her gravesite) but only when she is in a healthy place of mind to do so.” ~ Dry_Dragonfruit_4191
Mental Health is a difficult topic even in the best of circumstances but can be even more problematic when a loss is involved.
Grief and joy happening simultaneously can be difficult to process and we often need assistance in finding our way through it all.
Whether that assistance comes from a professional or just a dear friend, always be open to the people who love you.