The answer is an unequivocal “Yes.” I know this because I have met men and women in my counseling practice who have come to me to help them deal with this very problem.
There is no ‘right time’ for a man or a woman to cheat on his or her partner. However, when a man cheats on his partner when she is pregnant or immediately after the birth of a child, it is ‘deplorable.’
As a man, I am not an expert in what it feels like to be pregnant, give birth, or recover from the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. However, general knowledge informs us that it is physically and emotionally demanding.
Given that, a woman puts everything of value on the line to create a new member for the family, including her survival (some women do die during childbirth), to then have her male partner abandon her at this time for another woman comes close to being unforgivable. Her partner’s loyalty is needed by her and is required of him since he too, is a partner in the creation of this child. Cheating at this point demonstrates an extra measure of callousness and insensitivity over and above ‘ordinary cheating.’
A man who abandons his wife after they give birth to their child is demonstrating extreme selfishness. It is like the ship captain who, when faced with a crisis at sea, saves himself first and only afterward thinks about his crew and the passengers.
All cheaters may have explanations for why they cheated, and some even have reasons that they feel can excuse this act of acute selfishness. Perhaps the new father feels insecure in his role as a parent, or perhaps his sexual appetite is left unfulfilled, given his wife’s need to deal with the experience of pregnancy, birth, and childcare. It may even be that a man’s wife has postpartum depression and is unpleasant to be around. However, no excuse makes it okay, and the cheating makes the ‘problem’ worse. It is morally abhorrent and may even destroy the family.
A mature man dedicates himself to his family. If there are problems in his relationship with his partner, whether the birth of a child causes them or there is another reason for the problem, in a family crisis, he ‘mans up’ and does what he needs to do to protect and provide for the needs of each family member.
I can only imagine how devastated a woman must feel when going through the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth — which often include large amounts of discomfort and self-sacrifice — only to discover her male partner has abandoned her for another woman.
A woman needs her man to be with her at all times. For most women, the greatest need for partnership is during pregnancy, birth, and newborn child-rearing. Even if the man has two left thumbs when helping with a newborn, when his wife knows he is committed, she feels safe and secure.
When a woman has an acute need for emotional support and physical help from her male partner, and the newborn depends on his or her father to get him or her off to a good start in life, a man’s cheating at this time is a deplorable crime against mother and child.