With holiday and birthday invitations, sometimes we feel obligated to spend more on a gift for someone than we might otherwise be comfortable with.
We might even go so far as to ponder asking for the gift back, though that’s frowned upon, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
The Redditor, who has since deleted her account, didn’t like how much money her husband had spent on a baby shower gift for one of their mutual friends.
When the woman tragically miscarried her baby, the Original Poster (OP) considered what would happen if she asked the grieving mother for the baby shower present to be returned.
She asked the sub:
“WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) for asking our friend to return a baby shower gift after a miscarriage?”
The OP claimed to be comfortable with the money her husband spent on a gift.
“I know this sounds awful and I feel like it might be a terrible thing to do so I need some advice.”
“My husband has a long-term family friend named Jen. Jen and I aren’t friends at all but we are friendly when we see each other. When Jen had her first kid, my husband purchased a fairly expensive item off of her baby shower registry as a gift (around $200-$300 if I recall correctly).”
“I had no issue with the gift or how much he spent, it was a nice item to gift her and we were excited for her to grow her family with her then-boyfriend, now-husband.”
The OP had reservations about spending that much money again.
“Fast-forward a few years, and Jen and her husband are high earners (both making over six figures). Jen announced she was pregnant again very early along and sent my husband her baby shower registry with her announcement text, which was full of high-priced items.”
“Personally, I thought this was strange because she should still have most of the items from her first kid, and I didn’t think people usually did full-blown baby showers/registries after their first.”
“I was also surprised she was asking for gifts when she was still in the first trimester, but I’m a cautious person who didn’t announce my pregnancy until 20 weeks, which I know is extreme on the other side.”
“I left it up to my husband what he wanted to do but mentioned to him that I was surprised she was organizing another shower/gifting event since she already has a young kid and got brand new stuff last time.”
“My husband spent around $400 on a gift for her, okay, fine with me.”
“A few weeks later, Jen had a traumatic miscarriage. I won’t get into the details, but she was devastated and the cause of the loss likely means she won’t be able to carry future pregnancies to term. It’s incredibly sad, and while I’m not close with Jen, my heart hurts for her.”
Sad for Jen or not, the OP was left side-eying the gift her husband had purchased.
“It’s been a few months since her loss and my husband is now unsure of how to navigate the gift.”
“It’s not something she can use for her older kid.”
“Asking her to return the gift seems cruel, like adding a chore to her grief, and it’s probably past the return window anyway. I’m also not sure if she’s going to keep trying to have more kids (very risky for the baby and herself) and it seems incredibly insensitive to ask, plus she may not have decided yet.”
“Asking her to pay us back for it also seems very cruel. My husband and I are also decently high earners but $400 is still a lot of money.”
“It’s one thing if she’s able to get a few years of use out of the item, that’s money well spent. But if it’s going to sit in a box in her attic for years… that’s where we are getting stuck.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“So, would we be TA if we asked about getting the gift back? Ideally, we could get our money back somehow, although it’s probably too late.”
“If we can’t, then I’d at least like to gift it to someone else who can use it (I feel awful just saying that but it’s how I feel).”
“However, this is such a sensitive subject and we don’t want to pressure her if she’s not ready to discuss it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some found this to be an incredibly insensitive thing to do to a grieving woman.
“It was a gift with no conditions attached. This should be the end of the conversation.”
“Further, considering the circumstances (losing a baby), I’d be disappointed with myself if one of the first things that came to my mind upon hearing the awful news was, ‘Well, I guess she’s not gonna need our expensive-a** gift.'”
“YTA (or, you would be if you pursue this course of action).” – SincopaEnorme
“Can you imagine going up to someone who just had a miscarriage that possibly cost them their fertility and asking for your gift back, ‘because it’s not like you’ll be using it anyway, lolz.’ The absolute cringe.” – PNKAlumna
“She’s just lost her baby and her fertility. Don’t kick someone when they’re down. When she’s ready, she will probably sell your gift and use the money for something else, hopefully something that brings her joy.”
“You decided to spend a lot of money on a gift. Maybe give less in the future if you are going to feel resentful later. But do NOT add to this woman’s pain so you can get your money back. That’s monstrous.” – etds3
“OP, SHE JUST LOST HER BABY. I agree that she shouldn’t have asked for a second round of gifts. HOWEVER, you can’t ask for a gift back, ESPECIALLY from a woman who lost her baby… and even MORE ESPECIALLY as it appears she won’t be able to have more children.”
“Show compassion and have a talk with your husband about running large gifts by you first. YWBTA big time if you ask for the gift back.” – Jedisilk015
Others agreed and were certain the OP had qualms with the gift-giving history.
“YTA. You chose to spend so much money. You absolutely didn’t have to. There’s no tactful way to ask for it back. It’ll look petty and greedy, so they’ll either try to return everything if they rent to or donate it, but once the gifts are given, you should let it go.” – thewhiterosequeen
“Don’t give gifts unless you can afford to give them and want to, regardless of the recipient’s financial state.”
“Ask for the gift back, and you’ll never have to get anything for this couple or see them again.” – kissmekate48
“The ship sailed when OP’s husband sent the gift. If concerns about the timing or the amount, or whether a second baby shower is appropriate are an issue, they should have addressed it a couple ahead of time. OP’s lack of communication with her husband is not Jen’s problem.” – ceres_03
“I feel like $400 for someone who is grieving isn’t a waste anyway? It could go towards meals if they are struggling to get things done because of grief, or pay for a couple of nights away to make space to deal with it all.”
“OP, I would actually message her and say, ‘Do whatever you want with it, we could return it and give you the money, or whatever you want.'” – MortgageFriendly5511
“Whoomp, there it is! Here’s my deal: OP only mentions what she feels explains the situation from her perspective and only includes relevant details.”
“She is very clear that Jen is not her friend, her husband bought both gifts, both gifts were expensive, up to and including giving the dollar amounts, that OP wants to decide what happens and how with the second gift, and OP WARNED husband about it being early in the pregnancy to announce, let alone buy a gift, and OP disagrees with having a second celebration.”
“There is a whole other issue that OP is pretending isn’t obvious, and it’s about OP’s view of motherhood, pregnancy, and her husband. OP is misplacing her frustration onto the most vulnerable person in the lot (the bereaving mother) so she doesn’t have to face it.” – OptmstcExstntlst
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“I appreciate the feedback I’ve gotten. We will not be asking Jen about the gift. We don’t want to make her feel worse than she already is.”
“Given her statements in the past regarding adoption, I doubt she will find alternative ways to have another child if she is unable to do so biologically. But that’s her path to walk.”
“If she doesn’t use it, I hope she at least donates the item to someone who needs it.”
“People have also commented on my tone and I just wanted to clarify that Jen is truly only my husband’s friend, not mine. We aren’t ‘couples friends’ with her and her husband. Jen and my husband were close as kids but haven’t been close for years (before I ever came into the picture), sort of like a cousin you grew up with but only talk to at major holidays now.”
“I don’t hate Jen but we have very different world views so we likely won’t ever be close. I’m sympathetic to Jen’s loss as a person and as a person who has also experienced miscarriages. But I am not personally devastated by it if that makes sense.”
“Given how long they’ve known each other and how she’s so integrated into their family he felt it was appropriate to gift her a big-ticket item which I thought was justified. I do wish he had waited to send it because I warned him that it was very early in her pregnancy and anything could happen.”
While the subReddit could understand that a lot of money was spent, and at a subsequent baby shower no less, but that was where it stopped, because a gift should be given unconditionally. While Jen may not be able to get the intended use out of the gift, it’s still her possession now that she can use as she wishes, when and if she becomes ready.