A recurring conversation in recent years among mothers is public accessibility for parents and the care of their children.
This includes but is not limited to locations to breastfeed, appropriate diaper-changing stations in every restroom, and even improved accessibility for children to use toilets and sinks.
With improved accessibility, there would be fewer social disputes, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, including Redditor aitamotherdisabled, who was criticized for using a handicapped stall to change to her baby’s clothing after a huge mess.
But when the only changing station was positioned in that stall, the Original Poster (OP) felt she had no other choice but to utilize it.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for making a wheelchair user wait for the handicapped stall?”
The OP needed access to a changing station after her baby had an accident.
“I’m a first-time mom to a 6-month-old and am the first person in my friend group or family (older adoptee) to have a baby.”
“While out with my mom and a close friend, I had an incident with my baby where she unexpectedly got sick and had a major blowout from both ends on both of us. I rushed us into the bathroom.”
“Unfortunately, the baby changing station in that restaurant was inside the handicapped stall, where there was also a sink.”
“I got to work getting the table ready and cleaning us both up, but it was obviously going to take a while.”
“I changed the baby. Even though I had spare clothes, I needed to at least rinse off our clothes before putting them in the bag and walking around in public with them.”
This led to an unexpected quarrel.
“While I was still not dressed, I could hear talking and then shouting outside the stall.”
“A wheelchair user was demanding to have access to the stall.”
“I asked her to please wait and understand that this was the only place I was allowed to deal with my child and I was having an emergency.”
“This turned into an entire screaming session and multiple people banging on the door.”
“I finished up because I couldn’t just walk out of there with no clothes on, and by the time I did, the woman was gone and I was just faced with my mother and friend.”
The OP’s mother and friend criticized her, too.
“They’re now angry with me because they think I humiliated that woman and them and never had the right to be in that stall, even though the station was there and I had a child emergency.”
“I don’t agree. I don’t think they understand what it’s like to have to deal with a situation like that, and I don’t think that stall is even just the handicapped stall anymore.”
“Once you put the diaper changing station in there, it becomes the family stall as well.”
“Also, did they expect me to walk out of there naked and somehow clear out everything that had to be out while I was cleaning up instantly?”
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 said the OP still had the right to use the stall even though it was an accessible one.
“Handicapped bathroom stalls are NOT like handicapped parking spaces – parking spaces are reserved, bathroom stalls are accessible. There is a huge difference between the two. OP is NTA in this situation.” – sportsfan3177
“If there’s a line, anyone can use the stall. It doesn’t mean people that need it don’t have to wait sometimes.”
“And if the changing table is in there, OP absolutely needs it!”
“NTA.” – Sensitive_Coconut339
“Accessible, not reserved. It isn’t like OP jumped in there in FRONT of someone who could only use that stall.”
“The person showed up while someone else who had a need for the stall (as it’s where the changing station was placed) was using it. And she was not in a state where she could hustle out.” – SnooGiraffes3591
“I’ve had someone start shouting at me while changing my son in an accessible stall, all while my son was wailing cuz he had poop up to his neck, and I had poop on my arms.”
“I hollered back that the more they yell at me the longer I’ll take in here, their choice. Once they realized I was serious, they stopped yelling.” – Complete_Push1538
“Whoever designed that washroom so the accessible stall was necessary for anyone needing the changing table is the real AH here. Them, and the people banging on the door harassing OP.” – classyraven
“Also to point out, Dads need more changing tables in bathrooms. You wouldn’t believe the struggle I had trying to find a stall with a baby changing station.”
“I once had an emergency, similar to OP’s, and needed to change baby’s clothes asap. But the men’s room didn’t have a baby station.”
“A woman was nearby and saw I was in distress she checks the ladies’ room and told me to go in and kept guard. Really saved the day, random stranger.” – kerthil
Others discerned the stall was for mothers, too, because of the changing station.
“That’s where the baby changing station was, meaning EVEN IF it was a ‘reserved’ situation, it’s also ‘reserved’ for people with babies, which OP is.” – urzu_seven
“A lot of people with disabilities may have reasons they need the stall when they need the stall. But so does the naked mom trying to clean the poop off her infant and herself.”
“I would think that if either of those walked up and there was a regular line, they’d be TA if they didn’t let her in, and if it were a normal diaper change, I might even give priority to the disabled person… but a complete blowout who’s already in there? Ridiculous.”
“And even if it had been a person with no disabilities or babies already using the stall, having a crowd harass that person is just wrong. Also, counterproductive if the person trying to go had trouble when there’s a crowd around.”
“Sorry, but a person who can’t wait 5 minutes when she has to go needs to have some kind of backup plan that doesn’t involve harassing the person already in there. What would have been her plan if another wheelchair-bound person had been in the stall?” – No-Pie-6321
“OP was totally in the clear. The changing stall is in there for a reason.”
“I think if they both arrived there at the same time, and OPs baby just needed a regular change and it wasn’t a blowout, then the wheelchair user should go first.”
“But since that’s not even close to what happened, OP is absolutely not the AH, and everyone banging on the door and giving her s**t is.” – Aggressive-Meet1832
“NTA, I’m not sure what she could have done. The stall was occupied when the other person came in, it could have very well been occupied by a handicapped person who may have needed a while to use the stall.”
“In any case, their stall had a baby changing station so OP had every right to use it.” – pickledvictory
“Sometimes you just have to wait. Could very well have been a handicapped person in there. She still would have had to wait.”
“It is not like OP saw her coming and shoved her out the way. She was arms deep up in there.”
“Also, I have literally never, not one time been in the bathroom at the same time as someone in a wheelchair. I pretty much always take my daughter in there because she is 2 and sometimes we literally cannot fit inside a ‘regular’ stall, especially when they are ultra-tiny.” – Corduroycat1
“As a mother of two, we need to be able to use the bathroom also when there is no place to set your baby down and you’ve gotta go, it seriously sucks.”
“I would actually remember which places had them in the stall and go there specifically, because it was so much less hassle than trying to use the facilities/wipe/ with a baby who can’t stand up and you don’t want to set on the filthy public bathroom floor.”
“Thank you to places that have them in there so Mom’s can go too!” – Forest_Maiden
“OP, I’m sorry you don’t have the support and understanding from your friends and family that you need. I always try to remember that most parents are doing their best and kids are complicated!”
“Maybe some of them should shadow you for a day and see how childcare, especially baby care, can be incessantly demanding! (But I assume they would just get in your way, haha).” – JKElemenopee
The OP seemed perplexed by her friend’s and mother’s reactions to her using the stall when she and her baby both needed a change of clothes, but the subReddit sided firmly with the OP. Though it wasn’t great that the person who needed the accessible stall next had to wait, the OP needed access to it, as well, simply because of the placement of the changing table she so desperately needed.