'Never Told Them': Dad Defended for Hiding Child From Disrespectful Family

Members of a popular internet forum reassured one father who never told his parents that he was a parent himself.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/throwawaysecchild (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said he was never close with his family and, as a result, never let them know that he and his wife share a 2-year-old daughter.

Titled, "[Am I the a**hole] for not telling my family that I have a child?" the post has received nearly 10,000 votes and 1,200 comments in the last ten hours.

Beginning with the explanation that both he and his wife are deaf, the original said his hearing impairment drove a wedge between him and his family that lasted a lifetime.

"They never bothered to look past my disability," OP wrote. "They didn't even learn sign language for me. I can talk and read lips but I'm often left out of their conversations."

"They never bothered to get to know my wife either," OP continued. "They think that we're both stupid and incapable of anything just because we can't hear. We're in our 30s and they still treat us like children."

"We hate it," OP added. "Especially my wife, who has not purposefully visited them since 2017."

Explaining that his family also doesn't believe the couple is financially independent, the original poster said that when they welcomed their first daughter, they never publicized her for fear of secondhand disrespect.

"When my wife was pregnant we decided that we didn't want any of my family in our daughter's life," OP wrote. "It wouldn't be healthy for her to be around people who constantly disrespect her parents."

"So I never told them about my daughter," OP added, before revealing how his toddler recently came to light.

"My brother somehow found out about my daughter's existence a few weeks ago," OP wrote. "The whole family is very upset...they accused me of denying my daughter a family that could've helped raise her in many different ways."

Finding the right time and place to announce a pregnancy to family can be challenging, with countless moving parts and overflowing emotions.

But like with other major life events—like job changes, house purchases and engagements—many feel obliged to inform family as soon as possible.

Over the past two years, however, COVID-related lockdowns and work-from-home orders have allowed expecting mothers to break the big news on their own terms, with much less pressure and need to hide.

Earlier this year, The New York Times published a deep-diving article examining how more women have elected to keep their pregnancies a secret from their bosses, coworkers, family members and virtually everyone else.

Noting that pregnant women are often questioned in the workplace about their commitment and ability to complete the job at hand, multiple mothers interviewed said that the switch from the office to Zoom has slowed the intrusive inquiries and allowed them to remain focused on their work.

"It's just easier to not answer people's questions or for it to be the topic of conversation every single time," Chicago mother Adrienne Alexander told The New York Times. "I wanted to just focus on work and not talk about the challenges of being a mom during the pandemic."

But stopping a barrage of questions from colleagues is not the only reason to hide a pregnancy—or a 2-year-old child.

Sometimes, like in the case of the original poster, damaged relationships with family members harbor a hesitancy to introduce new children to tormentors of previous generations.

In a list of 16 tips for dealing with extended family, parenting website Fatherly recommended that parents be mindful of interactions between overbearing relatives and their children, while also keeping those relatives involved in a meaningful way.

However, some familial relationships are beyond repair and, as a result, prevent aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents from meeting, or even knowing about their youngest family members.

Parents caring for young daughter
Members of Reddit's r/AmITheA**hole forum defended one couple who explained why they kept their 2-year-old daughter a secret from family. fizkes/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Throughout the viral post's comment section, Redditors assured the original poster that he and his wife were justified to keep their daughter away from his family and agreed that their disrespectful behavior would not be suitable for a child.

"[Not the a**hole]," Redditor u/Imchatterbox wrote in the post's top comment, which has received more than 11,000 votes. "You're right about your family."

"Do you really want them convincing your child you are incapable before she knows the difference?" they questioned. "Before she can know otherwise and tell them so?"

Redditor u/del901, whose comment has received more than 7,000 votes, echoed that sentiment.

"They wouldn't be a 'family that could've helped raise her,' but they'd try to take over since she is hearing and you aren't and therefore 'incapable' from their perspective," they wrote. "Keep your distance. Enjoy your life and your family and keep protecting your child from them."

"You guys are the parents and get to decide who's in your daughter's life," Redditor u/Creative_Crab_8621 chimed in. "Keep her away from people who might hurt her."

In a separate comment, which has received more than 5,000 votes, Redditor u/000-Hotaro_Tomo was blunt in their assessment of the original poster's family.

"Your family is ableist, and they would affect your daughter in a toxic way with it," they assured.

Newsweek reached out to u/throwawaysecchild for comment.