Anyone who’s thought about having children someday must accept that having children will change everything.
That can include the relationships you have with friends, family, and even pets, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor TheGreatestGreatDane wasn’t sure what to do at home as his pregnant wife was struggling to trust their Great Dane since she had become pregnant.
Worried her fears would transfer from her pregnant belly to their baby, the Original Poster (OP) knew he had to figure out a way to make everyone in the home feel comfortable again.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for prioritizing my son’s dog over my wife’s pregnancy?”
The OP’s son and second wife had very different relationships with the family dog.
“When my son (14) was eight, we got a dog. He’s half Great Dane and half some dog my friend’s dog met during an unauthorized absence. My son loves this dog and does all the care for him (except vet stuff) and is a very responsible dog owner. This dog is pretty much his best friend.”
“My wife is 12 weeks pregnant, and ever since we confirmed the pregnancy, she has been acting weird around the dog. She avoids him, puts her hands over her stomach when he is around, and jolts whenever he makes noise.”
But then the OP’s wife shocked him.
“Today she told me she wants to re-home the dog. I asked her what she was talking about.”
“She said she has been having anxiety that he will jump on her.”
“This is completely unreasonable. He doesn’t jump on people.”
“We trained him not to jump on people or run into people very young because he is half Great Dane and I felt this was important for all dogs, but especially one who could possibly grow to such a large size (which he did).”
“There is no reason for her to think the dog will jump on her.”
“She said that there is no way to know for sure that the dog won’t jump on her, and if he does, our baby could be hurt.”
“This dog has never so much as growled at her.”
“She said even if the dog doesn’t jump on her, her anxiety about it is bad for her health. She said she needs the dog elsewhere for her safety and the baby’s.”
“I told her that there was no way. My son got this dog right after he lost his mom and imprinted on him hard. Sometimes I think he loves the dog more than me! I’m not taking his dog. The dog didn’t do anything!”
The OP’s wife sort of gave him an ultimatum.
“My wife said I am prioritizing the dog over her pregnancy.”
“The dog isn’t a threat to her pregnancy. If this were any other unreasonable request, I would just do it because she is pregnant.”
“I just can’t break my son’s heart over a fear she has that makes no sense.”
“Am I being an a**hole?”
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 were concerned the wife was hyper-fixating on the dog during her pregnancy.
“Has she stopped driving? Has she started using a wheelchair so she won’t fall? Is she refusing to use the stairs?”
“She needs some counseling (genuinely, not being rude) to figure out why she is only fixated on the dog and reacting to sounds similar to PTSD symptoms.”
“Did you train the dog not to jump because he pushed her over at some point? Was she pushed by a dog as a child or something?”
“Something got in her head.”
“OR she has always hated the dog and is manipulating you now that she sees her ‘chance’ to get rid of it.” – Sendmedoge
“The likely thing based on the information is that she’s hyper-anxious due to the pregnancy and is fixating on the dog.”
“They shouldn’t rehome the dog, but there should be help for her. Mild antianxiety drugs or therapy, even meditation or yoga would help.” – lyan-cat
“Like most newly pregnant women I was afraid of falling and hurting my baby. My Doctor said babies are very well protected and it takes a bad accident that severely injures the Mom to also injure the baby. So a dog jumping on her, even a big dog, is highly unlikely to cause any harm.” – Amyare
“Chiming in to say that previously non-existent anxiety around pets is pretty common during pregnancy.”
“Of course, you should keep the dog, but OP please understand that what your wife is going through right now is common, and hopefully, she is willing to get help to overcome her anxiety rather than holding fast to the idea that you rehome.” – asleepattheworld
“It’s not uncommon to feel an aversion to pets and animals in pregnancy as well. I rehomed my cats while pregnant and looking back I realize it was completely because of the pregnancy hormones and I had a strong aversion to them leaping up on me and being in my space.”
“I wish someone would have told me this was a thing so I didn’t think it was so real and make a decision like that.”
“My older child was just a toddler but was traumatized to lose her pets. I feel so so horrible and we’ve spent a lot of time talking about it because it obviously really impacted her and then impacted how she felt about the baby. Don’t do what I did!” – Medical-League-7122
Others recommended finding a way to address the wife’s concerns.
“You need to be stepping in immediately because while you’re saying that the changes she’s made before are small, the amount of attention she is giving the dog does point to her already having made the decision that the dog should leave the house.”
“I do not think the dog should do so, but I do think while you immediately press for her to seek mental health assistance, you figure out a way of protecting the dog from her and not leaving her alone with the dog at all.” – JCBashBash
“I had a childhood dog I was incredibly close to, due in part to him being born after a major upheaval in my life. My father once tried to make him exclusively an outdoor dog TEMPORARILY while my grandfather was visiting because dad didn’t want my dog tracking mud into the house during that time.”
“All it did was make me further resent my grandfather who I didn’t have the best relationship with to begin with. I still get a sense of injustice when I think about what happened, in spite of the fact that my mother put a stop to it less than 12 hours into the new ‘rule’ after I went to go sleep outside with my ‘brother.'”
“Instead we just wiped his paws whenever he came inside.”
“If the wife is really that concerned, she needs to seek counseling and take responsibility for keeping herself away from the dog, not reject a vital part of her stepson’s wellbeing and family.” – Persistent_Parkie
“NTA: I say this as a person who had two Great Danes during two pregnancies. My children adore their dogs and it would be cruel to rehome your son’s dog, particularly at a time when he is about to have less attention available to him with a new baby in the house.”
“Your wife is being completely unreasonable, also, I see this happen constantly when a baby is on the way, and the dog(s) get rehomed. When the baby is born make sure you have spaces where the dog can’t go (baby gates, etc), but please don’t rehome a dog he (and your son) have done nothing to deserve it.” – Rivka78
“Go to therapy. Go with her to the OBGYN.”
“In my personal experience, if you (I mean your wife) give in to anxiety, anxiety just takes something else.”
“This is a form of intrusive thought. She is likely genuinely terrified she’s going to lose the baby and she can’t stop picturing it happening because the dog jumps on her stomach. It doesn’t have to be logical. Intrusive thoughts increase during pregnancy, perinatal OCD is also a thing.”
“I’m not saying your wife has this by but I am saying, ‘she’s just being manipulative’ is the last thing you should think (unless your wife has always been horrible, you imply she liked the dog before) or ‘it’s dumb, so suck it up, buttercup.'”
“Assume she is telling you the truth and she has a huge amount of distress that’s fixated on the dog. And deal with that with compassion just like you would if she told you there can’t be any knives in the house because she might fall on one. It makes so sense but it seems real and eminent to her.” – shhh_its_me
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update about baby training.
“My wife’s next OBGYN appointment isn’t for a bit, but in the meantime, I’ve looked into the baby training dogs thing several people mentioned. I even convinced someone to loan me their baby tonight! Free babysitting is persuasive.”
“So my wife and I will get to see for ourselves how the dog reacts to babies. (Yes, the parent is aware of my motivation, and no, I’m not going to do anything crazy like leave the baby alone with the dog or whatever.) So I’m looking forward to that and hope it is a positive experience for my wife!”
He then shared an update about how the baby training was going.
“The baby is very cute! And our dog is fascinated by the baby. However, I have lost my position as the dog’s baby trainer.”
“My son reminded me that he is the official (no paperwork to back this up, by the way) dog trainer for our household and has taken over the entire operation. He did graciously allow me to change the baby’s diaper (so generous).”
“No clue what my old coworker (the person who loaned me her baby) feeds this kid, but I must never feed it to mine.”
“My wife is watching the training while pretending to watch TV. She looks nervous, but not upset.”
“I think this was a good idea. I think a few months of this will be really good for everyone.”
The subReddit was grateful to the OP for doing what he could to keep his Great Dane in the family, for his son’s and the dog’s sakes, and to also keep his pregnant wife comfortable.
Though some were concerned the wife was looking for a way to finally get rid of the dog, most thought it was the pregnancy talking, so it was equally important to keep the household safe for everyone involved, including the mother and soon-to-come baby.