My Mom Is Dying and My Pregnant Wife Posed Me a Very Hard Question

Family & kids
6 months ago

Choosing between your mom and your wife, especially when the latter is pregnant, is a dilemma nobody wants to face. Life, however, is about making choices and setting priorities, along with understanding how to value those around us in a way that avoids hurting anyone. What do you think the man in this story has done in such situation?

He sought help and advice from online users.

I am 36m, and my wife is 33f. We are expecting our first child soon. My mother, who is 70, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has been hospitalized since it is so bad that doctors say she will not survive since treatments aren’t working well on her. My dad died when I was young, and my mom took care of me while working two jobs so that I could have a good life.

I feel I owe everything to my mother. I bought her a house and whatever she needed so that she could live her older years well, since we had to struggle so much. When I got home from work and visited my mom, my wife and I were talking, and she asked, “If you got a call that I was in labor or your mom was going to die, who would you pick?”

I told her I would pick my mom; she asked why, and I told her that I wanted to be there to say goodbye to my mom since I would never see her again, and so she would have somebody there in her final moments.

She got mad and said, “What about me and our baby?” I told her I would try to be there as fast as I could after my mom, but that most likely wouldn’t happen, so I told her not to worry about it. She was still mad and told me to get out of the house. I left, and now I’m at my mom’s house.

People had contrasting opinions on the matter.

  • My mother was dying, and my bestie was having a baby at her last that had been full of complications, and she wanted me there like I was with her first. I asked simply, “Can you plan to give birth at the same hospital my mother was at?” I went from floor 4, the cancer ward, to floor 2, the birthing floor, the entire day.
    The doctors knew what was up and what I was doing. So it allowed me to be there for both of them. Talk to her, find a compromise, and make a plan. She’s pregnant, which tends to make one a tad more panicky and emotional. MsBlack2life / Reddit
  • Yes, at face value, her question is selfish. But with all that could go wrong, I understand her fear, and the only part that you got wrong was not understanding. It’s scary. So, from her POV, if something does go wrong, and you’re not there, then she’s alone in her terror. Nari-Trickster / Reddit
  • I get both sides of this. Honestly, though, if I told my mom I’d choose her over the birth of my child (if I were a dude), she would tell me to go to the birth of my child. CrabbiestAsp / Reddit
  • Your wife is probably scared. I almost died in labor, as did our child. It isn’t as clear-cut as “deathbed trumps new birth” because childbirth can be a deathbed too. Have a clear, laid-out plan, with a backup as well, in case option one is busy or out of town, so that she knows she isn’t alone.
    Make sure you are always contactable. Your mother might be totally unconscious at the end, so you can still be on the phone with your wife while she’s in labor, even while her mom (or whomever) is with her. Decide on options. Global_Monk_5778 / Reddit
  • Stupid question. Round-Ticket-39 / Reddit
  • That’s one of those stories where I seriously wonder what the other side has to say. I have the weird feeling that your wife didn’t ask you the question out of the blue. blueeyed94 / Reddit
  • What an awful situation to be in for all three of you! Mom is dying; you’re torn between your pregnant, hormonal wife and your mom’s last days, and your wife’s pregnancy is being totally overshadowed by it. Your wife must feel so alone when she’s also scared. My heart breaks for all three of you. Designer_Lie_8610 / Reddit
  • Your wife is probably scared of you leaving her alone during childbirth. Every woman wants to be their man’s number one priority, and you told her she comes second. While understandable in the circumstances, it would still hurt to hear. Dear_Parsnip_6802 / Reddit
  • This feels like a senseless question for her to honestly ask. It may be coming from a place of nervousness about giving birth, hormones, etc., but why put your husband in that position with a completely hypothetical question? It feels like she was trying to pick a fight. I’m also sure, as a husband, you’d be devastated to miss the birth of your child, but like you said, it would be your last chance to see your mom. Savannah_living_18 / Reddit
  • I would be mad if my husband did not choose his mom. He has the rest of the baby’s life to be there. You only get to say goodbye once. GirWaffles2013 / Reddit
  • I almost died during the birth of my daughter. Childbirth is dangerous for women, and I think we sometimes forget that. Your wife is probably anxious and a little scared. I don’t think she should have gotten mad and kicked you out, but I think it was a legitimate question.
    I highly suggest you guys make a plan just in case. Maybe her parent(s) or a best friend can come if you can’t, so she isn’t alone. Winterblue24 / Reddit
  • If you’re not going to be there, please make plans for someone else to be with your wife while she gives birth to advocate for her. riyuzqki / Reddit

It’s indeed a challenging decision, but it’s not the only story we have about this; another pregnant woman has faced a similar scenario.

Preview photo credit RDNE Stock project / Pexels


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You be there for your mom in her final moments. Clearly. You have the rest of your life with the wife and child. She's selfish for not understanding that.


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