She said her husband "acts like my due date is my death date."

By Leah Groth
January 28, 2020

As any pregnant woman knows, who's allowed in the delivery room during labor and delivery is a very important decision to make—and one woman recently took to Reddit to get the opinions of strangers on what to do in her very unique and disturbing situation.

In a post on the popular Reddit thread "AITA" or "Am I the A–hole?" which has since been taken down, an anonymous woman who goes by the name "morbid mommy11" detailed her situation to the Reddit community. (Luckily, the Twitter account @AITA_reddit shared the post.) The woman, who said she was pregnant with her first child, titled her question, "AITA for banning my husband and father in law from the delivery room due to their intensely stressful/creepy behavior during my pregnancy?"

The woman went on to explain that her husband's mother died during childbirth—and both her husband and father-in-law are convinced she's destined for the same fate. "My husband and I are expecting our first child, which I knew would be a really sensitive issue as his own mother died in childbirth with him," she began her post. She said that she and her husband had met with a marriage counselor to "talk things through at the beginning," and that he "swears he's been seeing his own therapist twice a month throughout [her] pregnancy," but she believes that he may not tackling the important issue at hand: "He and his father (a hugely active part of our lives) are COMPLETELY convinced that I'm going to die in childbirth," she wrote. "They won't openly admit it but their behavior has reached the point where it's constantly making me feel stressed and uncomfortable."

According to the post, the woman's husband is so convinced she's going to die, that he keeps telling her to make sure her life insurance policy is up to date and even requested that she draft up a will with her lawyer—two things that she actually agreed to do. However, when her spouse asked her to go through all her possessions to determine who would get them if she died, she put her foot down, which her father-in-law said made her "selfish" and claimed that she was “making things ‘difficult’” for her husband who could potentially be a “grieving widow with a newborn.” 

To add even more confusion to the situation: the woman said she's totally healthy: “I’m just gonna add here that I’ve had a completely complication-free pregnancy and have NO REASON to think I will die screaming in the coming weeks,” she added.

She went on to admit that in a weird way, she thinks death is being wished upon her. “When I tell my husband this, he calls me paranoid, but I feel like my FIL WANTS me to die; his whole life identity for the past 35 years has been ‘amazing single dad’ (never dated or had close friends or even hobbies really), and it seems like he’s looking forward to being able to guide my husband through what he went through,” she said. 

She added that, in addition to being convinced she's going to die in childbirth, her father-in-law also has opinions about her birth plan and whether or not she should be able to have pain relief. "At this point, I’d honestly be happy to never see my FIL again, and I certainly don’t want him in the delivery room, especially since he told me he was ‘putting [his] foot down’ about me not being ‘allowed’ to have an epidural or laughing gas," she wrote. "He’s a commanding presence and I know that whatever he wants in the delivery room, he will get (I know people will say ‘oh L&D nurses would never let that happen!’ but you haven’t met this man)."

The issue has clearly caused a serious strain on her marriage. “My husband, in addition to backing his dad on everything, acts like my due date is my death date, and has completely pulled away from me,” she revealed. “Every minute with him is morbid, stressful, and a reminder that our marriage seems to be crumbling. No matter how many times I tell him his behavior makes me stressed and upset, it’s just getting worse, and I do NOT want it around me while I’m concentrating on giving birth.”

RELATED: Everything Women Need to Know About Depression During Pregnancy

Finally, she posed the real question: “Do I owe it to my husband to let him stress and upset me during labor? Is his presence at the birth more important than a safe and healthy delivery? My therapist says ‘no’, but this whole thing has been so weird I feel like I need some outside perspective.”

Luckily, perspective she got—but instead of simply telling her she should keep her husband and father-in-law far away from the delivery room, many encouraged her to remove them from her life completely. Some people were even totally convinced that the woman was going to be murdered by the father-and-son duo, advising her to make sure that he didn’t have power of attorney in case of a medical emergency. "She should stay away from both of them for a while,” wrote one user. “Sounds like the beginnings of a planned murder at worst and severe mental problems at best. OP get somewhere safe.”

Twitter users also chimed in on the situation—the post received 2,400 comments and 15,800 likes—and offered their opinions and advice: "Listen to your therapist. Then go stay with your own parents for a few months and ban the FIL from visiting. Possibly even the husband," replied one person. Another added, "You decide who is in that delivery room. Period. Your FIL has some sort of messed up complex and your husband is warped. Have that baby how you want. And leave. Please please leave."

The woman's horrifying experience begs the question: What are a woman’s legal rights—if she has any—when it comes to the delivery room?

As it turns out, a woman can ban anyone, including the father of the child, from being in the delivery room during childbirth. In fact, in 2013, a New Jersey judge delivered a landmark decision—Plotnick v. DeLuccia, 434 N.J. Super. 597 (Ch. Div. 2013)—regarding delivery room rights, after a father, estranged from the birth mother, filed an order in the courts demanding to be present in the delivery room. 

"Any mother is under immense physical and psychological pain during labor,” explained Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed in his judgement. “The order the father seeks would invade her sphere of privacy and force the mother to provide details of her medical condition to a person she does not desire to share that information with." Going further, Judge Mohammed also argued that the father's unwelcome presence—in this case and possibly future cases—"could cause additional stress on the mother and child."

According to NJ.com, the issue in general—whether a father has the right to be in the delivery room even if a mother objects—had "never been litigated in New Jersey or the United States." The court also referenced Roe v. Wade’s general premise that it is a woman’s body and she has the right to choose. 

In the case of the original poster, it isn’t clear what she ultimately decided to do, as she stopped commenting on the thread after a few hours. The post was also taken down, and some people have actually demanded that Reddit trace her whereabouts, as they are concerned about her well-being.

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