Woman requests her husband pays her $50,000 to compensate for lost salary after childbirth
A man has expressed his shock and concerns after his wife revealed that she expects him to pay her almost $50,000 if they are to have a child.
The 34-year-old man raised the topic in a post shared to the relationships subreddit on Reddit, where he goes by the username @husbandmaybefather, in a post titled: “She has asked me to pay her almost $50,000 to have our child, and I’m not quite sure what to do.”
In the post, which has since been deleted but reshared by the Twitter account @redditships, the man explained that he and his wife, 29, have been dating for six years, but have been “spiritually married” for two years.
While he noted that they are not “legally married,” he said that he and his wife are essentially common law married at this stage in their relationship.
The Reddit user then went on to explain that he and his wife are high earners, with both earning more than $175,000 a year after tax, and that they currently split all of their finances 50-50. “Our mortgage payments were 50-50 and we comfortably own our home now, so much of our income goes to savings, investments, home improvements and discretionary spending,” he explained.
According to the husband, he and his wife are both “highly independent people” and “very career-driven,” which he noted is part of the reason that he is “so attracted” to his partner.
In the post, the man then explained that they had originally wanted to spend their first two years of marriage travelling, but found themselves hampered by the Covid pandemic and lockdowns, which eventually led to them having a conversation about children.
“A couple months ago we had a talk and decided it might be a good time to have kids instead of continuously waiting for better or safer travel conditions,” he explained. “Without too serious discussion about it, we decided to stop using birth control and let things happen as they will.”
According to the Reddit user, his wife recently requested that they have a discussion about the financials of a baby, with the man recalling how his wife had informed him that her workplace allows maternity leave up to a year, but only provides 50 per cent of her salary for up to six months, while the remaining six months are unpaid.
After discussing the logistics of her workplace maternity leave, the man said that his wife was “very direct” and explained that she would like him to compensate her for the $50,000 that she would lose during her six-month break from work.
“She is asking me to compensate her for that $50,000, in addition to agreeing to split any related but unexpected costs to pregnancy and childbirth,” he wrote. “Her stance is that she is doing something for us to start a family but it is not a true 50-50 split if she is expected to take a financial hit for it and I am not, given that our finances are separate.
“She had a printed list of expectations in terms of what she expected financially [and] listed some things that her insurance may not cover.”
While the man acknowledged that he sees the “logic in that,” he also revealed that he is “really very turned off” by the situation because he feels that his wife is “essentially asking me to pay her to have our child (or children)”.
According to the husband, despite his hesitation, his wife revealed that she also expected him to compensate her if she does decide to take a year off of work, at which point she wants him to pay her $50,000 of the salary she missed during the first six months, and then another 50 per cent of her salary for the rest of the year.
“Since her work would not compensate her, and because this loss is something she is doing for the family, she is ‘comfortable splitting the loss of her income,’ and only asking me for 50 per cent of her salary instead of 100 per cent for the six-month period,” he continued, adding that the “idea, I guess, is that both of us ‘suffer’ half the loss of income for the second six-month period”.
In addition to asking him to compensate her for her lost salary, the man said that his wife’s detailed plan also included notes about the division of housework, as well as plans for saving for childcare and a housekeeper.
“I kid you not, it’s a 16-page ring binder that she handed me with detailed notes, some explanations, and lists of expenses,” he said. “But the immediate and essential element here is that she wants me to pay her $50,000 to $100,000 to compensate for the loss of her salary for six to 12 months as a result of her having our child.”
In the lengthy post, the man said that he is struggling to process his wife’s request, and that his first reaction was shock because the monetary amount is a “lot to demand” despite their salaries.
He also revealed that he finds the idea of a payment plan to have a child “just gross,” while acknowledging “that many couples manage to do this without paying their wives to have children”.
However, he did note that many couples who decide to have children are married legally and “a loss to one person’s income is a loss to everyone”. “So in our situation, it makes logical sense, but there’s something so transactional about it that puts a bad taste in my mouth,” he added.
According to the husband, he didn’t fight or argue with his wife regarding the suggestion, but is currently in the process of thinking it over. He did note, however, that if he agrees to the terms of the deal, his wife wants them to write up an agreement and go to a lawyer.
In the post, the Reddit user then noted that, because his wife raised the idea on the same day she was speaking to her sister, which she rarely does, he wonders whether she may already be pregnant, a prospect that he said he is “partially excited and scared” by.
The man said he is being especially cautious because his wife previously had an abortion early on in their relationship and did not tell him until a year later.
While he acknowledged that he supported her choice, as it’s her body, he admitted that “the fact that she makes decisions like that so independently has me incredibly cautious right now,” and that he is aware that, if she is currently pregnant, his response to her suggestion could have “real consequences”.
Ultimately, the Reddit user said that he was still processing his wife’s suggestion when she originally raised it, but plans to ask his wife whether she is pregnant.
“Definitely a conversation to have, but I don’t know whether that should influence my response here,” he concluded.
On Twitter, where the post detailing the man’s dilemma has been liked more than 16,000 times, thousands have weighed in with their own opinions and suggestions.
According to many readers, the wife’s suggestion is entirely fair considering that she will lose a significant portion of her salary when she is on maternity leave.
“This woman is iconic and revolutionary,” one person tweeted, while another said: “I’m sorry but this totally makes sense to me.”
Someone else added: “This is uncomfortable to us only because the loss women incur when they bear children has never been broken down and expressed in monetary terms at all. But it makes sense that the loss is shared. She made valid points and I think it would be selfish to disagree.”
“If you are this woman, can I please have your 16 pages to use as a template? Thank you very much,” one person wrote.
In the US, women only earn just 83 cents to every dollar made by men, a pay gap that has remained consistent for the last 15 years. The gap increases for mothers, who are paid only 75 cents to every dollar paid to fathers, according to a 2021 analysis of census data by nonprofit organisation National Women’s Law Center.
While many supported the woman’s suggestion that her husband compensate her for having their child, others agreed with the husband’s concerns over the agreement.
“I couldn’t even get through it. I never thought I’d see having a baby as a sort of transaction to some people…” one person tweeted.
Another suggested that the couple appear to be bracing for an inevitable divorce, which they noted is not necessarily the environment to bring a child into.
“Everything in their lives seems arranged to facilitate the inevitable divorce,” they wrote. “I question the wisdom of bringing a kid into that environment.”
Someone else added: “This relationship seems like two people who just live together but decided everything separately and have zero emotional intimacy. This is weird.”