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Grieving Mom Calls Out Brother-In-Law For His Cruel Jokes About Her Miscarriage At Dinner Table

Dinner party
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Content Warning: Child loss and grief

We all have our own ways of dealing with grief, and we might not even understand someone else’s approach to working through it.

That said, we should always respect a person’s boundaries when it comes to their grief, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

After having a miscarriage and her partner leaving her, Redditor Additional_Two3192 was working through her grief.

But when her brother-in-law kept making inappropriate jokes about her miscarriage, the Original Poster (OP) struggled to not let it get to her.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for leaving the table after my Brother-in-Law (BIL) made a joke I didn’t like?”

The OP recently had dinner with a few family members.

“I (22 Female) recently went through a miscarriage.”

“As I’m not with my ex anymore, my mom insisted on being by my side, so she temporarily moved in with me because she wanted to keep an eye on me. I told her it was fine but you know, moms.”

“She had the idea of inviting my sister (25 Female) and BIL (33 Male) for dinner, so we did.”

The OP’s brother-in-law (BIL) had a different sense of humor than she did.

“The thing is, my BIL is the kind of guy who likes to make jokes about everything. He never means harm but it gets annoying at times.”

“My sister doesn’t care about his jokes, she always laughs at them, and she does not make an exception for me.”

“During dinner to cheer me up, my BIL decided to make some jokes. They were light, but I wasn’t in the mood to hear them.”

“They were jokes like, ‘It’s kinda a good thing, can you imagine the kid looked like the dad and you had to see his face all the time?’ or ‘Well, at least you won’t end up like those moms who have to rely on pills to stay awake,’ etc…”

“Honestly, it was maybe innocent jokes and made my mom and sister laugh, but it personally made me upset. And my mom probably didn’t like it either, but she doesn’t want to ‘take sides’ or get in the middle of it too much.”

The OP’s BIL pushed her too far.

“I told him to stop the jokes and that I didn’t want to hear them.”

“He said in a joking tone, ‘Wow, is losing your humor a side effect when you lose a baby?'”

“When he said that, I got so mad and sad that I left the table and went to my room.”

“I heard my sister and BIL leave shortly after that. My mom came to check on me and told me it was okay and she left me alone for the rest of the day.”

The OP was criticized by her sister.

“But I received a text from my sister, saying that I was disrespectful to storm out like I did, that my BIL was only trying to cheer me up and make me laugh, and I should’ve appreciated his efforts.”

“And now I’m feeling bad because I do appreciate them trying to make me feel better but my BIL’s jokes don’t do that for me.”

“Apparently, my sister also texted my mom and told her that they won’t talk to me or come back until I apologize to my BIL and her for being disrespectful.”

“AITA for getting mad at my BIL jokes when he was only trying to make me laugh?”

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 reassured the OP that she wasn’t wrong for not finding humor in these jokes.

“First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Secondly, what the actual f**k. No. You are absolutely NTA in this situation. There is a time and place for humor to be used to help someone dealing with something difficult. This was neither.”

“Additionally, you had asked him to stop. Continuing to make jokes makes him even more TA. Removing yourself from the situation was the option he left you with since he wouldn’t stop.”

“Did any of them stop to consider how you actually feel about the situation? I can imagine this entire situation is emotional and confusing and on top of that hormones are h**l.”

“I would be upset with my BIL if he did this, but extra upset at my sister for being worried about her thoughtless BF’s bruised ego instead of having empathy for you.” – LadySwingsBothWays

“There is also a big difference between the grieving parents coping with dark humor and an a** insisting that how you have to cope.”

“NTA. It is clearly elementary school backward day and they need to apologize.” – Peskypoints

“It’s neither innocent nor a joke. It’s abusive and cruel, and OP is NTA but everyone else in the house, including the mom, is. It’s appalling cruel, and shocking for any of them to criticize or demand an apology from OP.”

“I want to come over and bring her tea and macarons and a great book or two, guard the door, and have a conversation with the three of them (from a distance) until they sincerely apologize.”

“OP, you owe them nothing. They owe you a lifetime of making this up to you. To ‘joke’ about your child’s death is inhuman. To demand you apologize for reacting to such abuse is a no-contact kind of behavior going forward.”

“I am so sorry for what you went through and for the AHs who compounded your pain and tried to gaslight you into treating them as the victims.” – Fair-Ninja-8070

“NTA, but your sister, mother, and especially your BIL sure as h**l are! Your mother and sister should have shut that stuff down immediately. But what did they do? They laughed for f**k’s sake! What the f**k?!? And your BIL is an insensitive clod of AH.”

“Why did your mother even bother to ‘keep an eye on you’ if it wasn’t to ensure your mental and physical well-being?!?” – SirMittensOftheHill

“NTA. You did nothing wrong by leaving the table when you were being tormented. I am horrified at his unfunny ‘jokes’ and his refusal to stop when you asked them.”

“What a rude, insensitive, cruel AH your BIL is. And your sister is an AH for enabling him.”

“You might want to go NC (no contact) with them unless they apologize.” – Paevatar

Others agreed and encouraged the OP to reconsider the boundaries she held for herself. 

“I don’t know why you remotely think YTA. Your BIL is a giant a**hole, I guess some people’s humor is like that but when you specifically asked him to stop, he definitely should have stopped. Your sister is gaslighting you, girl, please don’t fall for it. I’m sorry for your loss. And NTA.”

“Your BIL and sister and such a**holes, it hurts inside, like I just want to scream at them both for half an hour straight, omg this story is just shocking, why on earth would anyone think it’s ok to joke about this sort of matter, ESPECIALLY after you asked him not to, broooo.”

“NTA. NTA. NTA.” – PreparationThin8192

“Are you seriously asking us if YTA because your BIL was making jokes about you having a miscarriage?! I’m sure it’s quite obvious to everyone else in the world that your BIL is the a**hole.”

“What woman would find anything funny and be cheered up about jokes regarding her miscarriage?! What decent human being would find this funny man or woman?!”

“I hope you did not apologize and don’t plan to. Shame on your loser sister for even suggesting something like that and not telling him to shut the f**k up while it was going on. You are very young so maybe you don’t stand up for yourself much and are easily manipulated because that’s exactly what’s going on here!”

“OP, please do some self-reflection on your boundaries and self-esteem. There is no way you should let anyone talk to you like this. This is not a way that someone makes you feel better, these are not jokes! What he was saying was distasteful, disrespectful, and disgusting.”

“Your mom, your sister, or you should have not let it carry on.”

“Do not feel bad for finally saying enough is enough! Tell them to kiss your a**. So sorry for your loss and I hope one day you gain the strength and courage to set boundaries and stand up for yourself. That is your home. No need to go to your room. Whoever is making you uncomfortable, you tell them to leave YOUR HOME.”

“I am boiling inside just thinking about how everyone around you allowed that to continue. Your sister is delusional.” – Kee-Kee_

“NTA, What a horrible thing to say. The only one owed an apology here is you, by both your brother-in-law and sister. What he said was just needlessly cruel. You asked him to stop, and instead of stopping, he went in for the kill.”

“Your sister… I’m not sure who she can even be defending his actions and thinks he’s owed an apology. The only thing that should have occurred after that was a heartfelt apology from him, apologizing for going way over the line of what was acceptable, especially while you are grieving.” – scarletnightingale

“Making jokes at the expense of your trauma isn’t funny, it’s incredibly insensitive, and HE owes YOU the apology.”

“I’d be turning it back around on him that until you get that heartfelt apology for his insensitivity, you won’t be seeing or speaking to him.”

“This wasn’t just one joke, you asked him to stop and he persisted. Stop means stop and no means no. Now you are being gaslit that it’s your problem and you owe him something. You don’t. He disregarded your pain and your boundaries and is now blaming you for his own insensitivity and your sister and mom are cool with this and backing that up? Nah, sis…” – aofaidgas

“And the second it is deemed unfunny, the correct response is an apology and change of subject. If he had done so, it would have been NAH, in my opinion, because it is human to overstep at times, but at least make the effort to correct it and if she still needs to leave, that’s okay!” – witchywoman713

The subReddit was appalled that the OP had been treated this way and that she was expected to apologize for it. Not everyone processes grief in the same way, and they certainly can’t all joke about it. Even if that’s how the brother-in-law was processing the news, he still should have stopped joking around after his sister-in-law, the OP, asked him to stop.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.