Not too long ago, little was known about postpartum psychiatric disorders. While the phenomenon of psychosis was documented by medical scholars, the general public were uninformed.
According to Harvard Medical School, about 85% of people experience some type of mood disturbance after giving birth.
For the majority, symptoms are very mild and short-lived and is labeled postpartum blues. But 10% to 15% develop more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Postpartum psychiatric illness is divided into three categories:
- postpartum blues (PPB) – 70% to 75%
- postpartum depression (PPD) – 9.8% to 9.9%
- postpartum psychosis (PPP) – 0.1% to 0.2%
Postpartum depression is an umbrella term that also includes postpartum anxiety (PPA) and postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (PPOCD).
A husband whose wife is under treatment for PPA is wondering if he was wrong to not advocate harder for his wife to bring their infant daughter to his 6-month-old nephew’s funeral.
After his wife called him out as being unsupportive, he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for not defending my wife wanting to attend a funeral with our baby, thus causing her to miss it?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“My wife and I have a 6-month-old baby girl. Due to postpartum anxiety (PPA), which she is being treated for, my wife struggles with leaving our daughter with anyone outside myself or my mother, who lives with us.”
“This hasn’t been an issue thus far and as I said, she’s in therapy so little by little, it’s been getting better.”
“Unfortunately, my nephew (who was also 6 months old) passed away a few weeks ago.”
“He had been in poor health since birth but it’s still obviously devastating for the entire family, especially my brother and SIL. They held the services the following weekend.”
“I was in consistent contact with my brother and we were discussing the funeral. He said he knew it was a lot to ask, but could we please not bring our daughter.”
“They asked [everyone] for children not to be there.”
“I said I completely understood and didn’t even intend to. One, in my opinion, babies do not belong at funerals. Two, this is a funeral for a baby of a similar age.”
“Why would one want to bring up that reminder? My brother said he knows how my wife is about leaving the baby so they understand if she can’t come.”
“Well, my wife became irritated when she found out I ‘didn’t defend her’. She reminded me that she doesn’t trust anyone to take care of the baby outside me and my mom, who obviously have to be at the funeral.”
“She doesn’t want to miss it either, but also won’t agree to leave the baby with anyone else. We have several family members on her side that we are close to, as well as good friends who also have kids.”
“I said even if she just went to the service and not the gathering afterward, that’d just be an hour. She said no, she can’t handle the thought of leaving her with anyone else.”
“I said that’s understandable and that clearly, my brother and SIL would rather her not come if it means not having a baby at the funeral. She continued to complain.”
“Finally, I said she has two choices and she needs to make one, I don’t care which it is. I won’t’ hold it against her either way.”
“One, either allow someone else to watch the baby for an hour. Two, stay home with the baby.”
“She says that I’m not even pretending to be on her side and I said I’m not, because this isn’t even about us.”
“My wife ended up staying home with the baby.”
“When my mother and I returned later that afternoon, she shut us both out.”
“Eventually, she calmed down but she has made comments here and there making it clear that she feels I should’ve tried to convince my brother to let the baby come.”
The OP felt they may be the a**hole for:
“…not defending my wife and causing her to miss the funeral.”
“…at the end of the day, she’s my wife and she had her reasons for insisting on bringing the baby.”
The OP added in response to suggestions he or his wife could have popped in for a few minutes.
“I was sitting front row in the service (as requested by my brother), supporting my brother and his wife. I wasn’t going to get up halfway through and leave, disrupting everything.”
“That’s ridiculous and further makes that day about us vs the people burying their child!”
“This was my NEPHEW’S funeral. I’d see your argument if it was a colleague or someone we weren’t close to, but that’s why we couldn’t just go for a few minutes and be done.”
“I also didn’t want to leave my brother. We are very close.”
“I’m not trying to undermine my wife’s relationship with them…but like, that’s my brother.”
“I wouldn’t dream of asking her to abandon her sister in a time like this.”
“There was an hour long service, followed by a gathering afterwards at my brother and SIL’s house. I had to be there for the entire thing.”
“Even if my wife came and I dashed out to the car for 5 minutes, that wasn’t going to be enough for her.”
“To me, this just sort of goes beyond the tools I was given. I validated her feelings about not wanting to leave the baby as well as that it was hard the natural outcome was she couldn’t go [to the funeral].”
“I am as considerate as I can be, but it’s difficult when she also wants me to put that all above people who lost a child.”
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
Almost all Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).
Many had little sympathy for his wife.
“NTA. PPA has nothing to do with her thinking that her wish to attend a funeral is more important than the comfort of the grieving parents.”
“She can’t force herself to leave the baby, fine. Everyone understood and made allowances for that.”
“Thinking her husband should have bullied the parents into letting her attend with the baby is nothing to do with her illness.”
“She wasn’t anxious or upset about not being able to go, she was irritated she wasn’t getting her own way. That’s not a symptom, it’s just entitlement.” ~ MediumSympathy
“The husband was FINE with her staying home with the baby—actually, everyone was.”
“Instead, the wife had to make it all about herself—mad at her husband for not ‘sticking up for her’ so she couldn’t come with the baby.”
“Which is so gross considering what her BIL and SIL are going through. PPA or not she’s an a**hole.” ~ According_End_9433
“NTA. Postpartum anxiety or not, your wife is being selfish and behaving as though the world revolves around her, her wants, and her desires.”
“It does not, and postpartum anxiety doesn’t excuse or justify that.” ~ BDizzMcNizz
“NTA. Is she struggling or is she acting entitled? If she can’t leave the baby and she understood why they didn’t want the baby there, she would opt to be home.”
“If she knows why and still demands the baby comes, she’s entitled, arrogant and possibly using her diagnosis as an excuse rather than a cause.” ~ mysteriousGains
The OP responded to some of the vitriol—the worst of which was deleted by AITA moderators.
“I’m not defending her actions at all. I do not agree with what she wanted to do. I think it was insensitive and selfish.”
“I do think she’s being a huge hypocrite by wanting her mental health supported while not doing the same for my brother and SIL.”
“But as someone who has learned about PPA, I do believe it is the PPA talking because she was never like this in the past.”
“Doesn’t excuse it. Doesn’t make it right. Also doesn’t make her evil.”
“Also, I think you are entitled to think she’s evil but you said it once. No need to continue to say it and harp on it when the question was: ‘am I the a**hole?’.”
“Not: ‘who’s the evil troll?’.”
To one comment, the OP replied:
“This has nothing to do with women, dude.”
“Men and women can be this selfish.”
NTA is defined as the other party is an a**hole.
Some felt there were no a**holes here (NAH).
“Honestly, losing a nephew who was about the same age is probably going to make the separation anxiety worse. I’d actually say NAH, because I’m not going to call a mother an a**hole because she has PPA.
“In a year or two she will probably realize why there were only those two options, but the combination of her normal anxiety plus seeing what is possible is going to make it so much worse.”
“Now, it’s absolutely fair for the brother to not want a baby there, and probably won’t want to see any babies for a while. I just don’t think there are any a**holes in this no-win situation.” ~ SnipesCC
“I believe that once she recovers from PPA that she will be grateful that her husband drew this line for her. I’ve had some irrational thoughts due to anxiety and there have been times that my rational brain can’t talk me down at all so I need an outside adult to give me concrete options/boundaries that are OK.”
“The in-laws seem sympathetic to her anxiety and understanding that she didn’t go. I can only imagine being in their shoes and how desperately I would want to hold my baby, thus having zero desire to take one out of another parent’s arms. This was a fair boundary to have. NAH.” ~ Kit_starshadow
“NAH. I had PPD with both my children. Things I felt and sometimes said were awful. I would never wish that on another person.”
“I would think why am I thinking these things, why am I saying these things, I am a horrible mother/person. I honestly could not think about another person’s feelings, I couldn’t even control my own.
“When you have PPD, PPA or PPP you are not a rational thinking/feeling person.” ~ Livingfreefun
“NAH. Your wife is dealing with PPA. Like you said she is making progress but still has a way to go.”
“It is not unreasonable for your brother to ask baby not come. It was good you abided by his wish.” ~ Flashy-Experience-25
“NAH. Everyone is in pain. You tried to help both your family and wife, but your wife is still in significant pain that she is working on.”
“Sometimes there are no good solutions, but I don’t see any a**holes here.” ~ FellKnight
“NAH. What a terrible situation to be in, I can see it from all sides.”
“Unfortunately, what your wife cannot see from her current position, is that this isn’t about her, it’s about your brother and his loss.”
“His feelings are the priority here. I wish you all well.” ~ BaffledPigeonHead
The OP added:
“She is getting better and her therapist doesn’t doubt that she’ll be able to cope.”
“PPA isn’t just something you snap out of. It’s far more complex.”
“She wasn’t selfish like this pre-baby, which is why I have faith that hopefully one day she’ll realize how insane she sounded in this moment.”
Hopefully OP’s faith is fulfilled and this episode gets resolution with the help of his wife’s PPA treatment.