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Pregnant Woman Livid After Husband Refuses To Stop Touching Her Belly To ‘Bond’ With Baby

John Looy/Unsplash

Content Warning: Consent, Sexual Assault

Pregnancy is already hard enough without people breaking social etiquette, like touching a woman’s belly without asking first.

But it’s worse and more awkward when the problem is with the pregnant woman’s partner, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor throwaway365335 was sick of how her husband was treating her by constantly touching her belly and pulling up her shirt without her consent.

But when he insisted it was to bond with their baby, the Original Poster (OP) was baffled.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for not letting my husband bond with our unborn baby?”

The OP was uncomfortable with her husband’s boundary-crossing while she was pregnant.

“I (26 Female) am 5 months pregnant with a baby boy. This is my first one with my husband (31 Male), and we’re both excited to expand our family.”

“Once my belly started showing, my husband started putting his hands on it constantly.”

“The problem is that I have an anxiety disorder and don’t like to be touched, especially when it’s sudden.”

“He knows this but he puts his hand on my belly randomly and refuses to remove it when asked.”

“He does it all the time, sometimes when I’m asleep and also when we’re with family.”

“He puts his hand on my belly and sometimes even lifts my top.”

“Every time I tell him to stop it because it’s uncomfortable, he tells me this is his son too and he needs his bonding time.”

The OP eventually lashed out at her husband.

“Last night was my final straw, we were out on the front porch with my friends and he pulled me from behind and wrapped both arms around my belly.”

“My friends were weirded out.”

“I quietly whispered to him to let go, but he said, ‘Don’t mind us (meaning him and his baby), we’re just here bonding.'”

“I had had it. I lashed out and moved away from him while telling him to stop it.”

“He looked at me, confused, and then turned around and walked back inside the house. He avoided talking to anyone for the rest of the gathering.”

The OP’s husband lashed out at her in return.

“He then blew up at me when it was just us and said I shouldn’t have yelled at me for what he did as he thought it was completely normal.”

“I told him I already expressed how uncomfortable I was.”

“He said he was my husband and that he was bonding with his son and not me.”

“He then told me to get over myself and stop acting like a sensitive little girl.”

“I got mad and told him he is no longer allowed to do it.”

“He got angry and said that’s not my call. He said I can’t act selfish and prevent him from bonding with his son.”

“He then went to vent to his mom, and when I pointed out how wrong it was to do that, he told me I have no issue going to stay with my mom every time we fight, so what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

“I was speechless and had no response.”

“He said I owe him an apology for lashing out at him in front of my friends like that.”

“AITA?”

The OP also talked more about consent in her marriage in two comments.

It is [disturbing how he feels about body autonomy]. We had issues with consent when it came to intimacy, and it took me a lot to show him that consent comes before anything else.”

“It took him a lot of time to get used to asking for it first but still has an issue with the word ‘no.'”

I kept telling myself nobody’s perfect, he has flaws I’m not going to deny. I have flaws too, but unlike him, I listen to his concerns and take them under consideration.”

“He instead tells me I’m overreacting or looking for excuses to not be intimate with him.”

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 grossed out by the husband’s behavior.

“NTA.”

“The fact your husband is stating that you’ve given up bodily autonomy by becoming pregnant is very disturbing.” – PurpleMarsAlien

“Set a firm f**king boundary about this now for your child’s sake as well as your own. OP at least knows she has a right not to be touched, even if that right is being disrespected.”

“But a kid who is raised to believe that they don’t have that right, or that they’re going to have to deal with a protracted sulking tantrum from someone who’s supposed to love them unconditionally if they do exercise that right, so it’s better to just lie there and take it, is going to be in serious danger.” – yet_another_sock

“The way you’ve mentioned this so casually is disturbing. I teach 5-year-olds, and even they know to ask before touching a friend. Your husband is choosing to ignore you. This is not normal or acceptable behavior.” – whatf**kingever69

“All the sleep deprivation and stress of new parenthood can bring out the worst in people who maybe had something of a lid on it previously. And this man has already offered plenty of evidence that there will be (more) trouble.”

“I’d find any of that treatment just suffocating. I’d have snapped, too. OP, that guy’s a giant AH. You’re not.” – Professional_Ad9013

“Indeed, this whole post reeks of sexism and all that. OP needs to have a good long talk about how IT’S HER BODY and only SHE gets to decide who touches her belly.”

“Bonding with the unborn baby, WTF is that? Sorry, Charlie, pregnancy is really something men have no part in besides conception. SHE’S growing a baby in her and that wreaks havoc on your body.”

“The husband’s complete lack of caring about her boundaries, particularly knowing she has anxiety issues is ALL THE RED FLAGS. If he can’t treat her as a person AT MINIMUM, then OP needs to think long and hard about this marriage. ‘Little girl’? ALL OF THE EWWW.” – Feisty_Bandicoot3794

“The abuse will escalate. Once the baby is here he will make her feel guilty for doing anything other than caring for the baby, and him.”

“He will isolate her from her family and friends. If he’s not already using his fists, he probably will soon.”

“If she tries to leave he will threaten to keep the baby from her. Men like this use a baby to ‘lock in’ their victim.” – LavenderMarsh

Others worried for the baby’s health and future.

“Considering that OP’s child is a boy, I’d be concerned about his father teaching him that this kind of behavior is acceptable.” – DieHardRennie

“Lady, what the f**k. He’s not 3 years old. He shouldn’t need years of training to learn that no means no.”

“Divorce him for the sake of you and your child. He’s a monster.” – ElizaThornberry4

“NTA. No one has the right to touch you without your consent. Deliberately refusing to stop touching someone when they have expressly asked you to stop is assault.”

“Also, he isn’t bonding with the baby. The baby has ZERO clue who is rubbing on the belly he is growing in. The baby doesn’t even know it is in a belly to begin with.”

“Unborn babies can hear voices it hears in the womb and that can lead to increased comfort after birth as those voices are even more familiar. So the LAST thing that baby needs is to hear is its mother’s voice in distress and its dad’s voice being spoken in anger. NTA.” – TheFlamingSquirrel

“Stressing her out while the baby is developing means he is getting her high levels of cortisone pumped through him as well which alters his developing brain and gene expression, meaning he’ll be more at risk for anxiety and depression. This isn’t a bonding experience.” – QuietAlarmist

“OP, NTA.”

“The way and the timing of this also speaks volumes.”

“He did it in front of friends (sounds like OP’s friends who know she doesn’t like that kind of touch), setting up a forced teaming situation with the extra ‘cherry’ of causing your friends to freeze and not know if or how to help you… and ‘it’s a party, don’t ruin the fun’ manipulation.”

“This person either doesn’t understand your input and processing situation (possible weaponized incompetence) or he does and w each step further into marriage commitment and now baby commitment he’s acting as he wants, with no regard for your comfort, pressuring you to accept automatically, and incursions you asked him not to and doubling down bc the child inside your body is 1/2 his.”

“It’s not going to get better.”

“He will just get better at doing what he wants and blaming you for negative fallout.”

“He will be better and worse on your children.”

“The son you are carrying will be his prince of the world. Until he displeases his father or tries to set his own boundaries he will be punished mercilessly.”

“Neither you nor your child deserves that life.” – No_Appointment_7232

While the OP was concerned about what her husband had said about disrespecting him, the subReddit was much more concerned about the OP’s and her son’s safety. The way the OP was being treated was alarming, and the history she mentioned in the comments made it even more so.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.