Content Warning: Infertility
We all hope that our friendships will make it through anything: through thick and thin, through the breakups, and of course, through new life milestones.
But sometimes a friendship isn’t destined to make it through the major milestones like getting married, making a big move, or having a baby, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwaw8963 was part of a close group of friends who met once a month, and they continued to get together and let their group transform as they began to have children. But one friend in the group struggled with infertility and demanded that the group not talk about mom life at all while she grieved.
But when she finally became pregnant and became disgruntled that the group asked her the same in return, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised at how poorly her friend took the feedback.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for enforcing a no-kids-talk rule and not offering to plan a baby shower?”
The OP’s beloved friend group was going through a life milestone: starting families.
“Our friend group (all Females in our 30s) gets together about once a month.”
“A few years ago, certain group members began trying to conceive.”
“One of the first ones to start trying was Katie. Unfortunately, Katie and her husband had difficulty conceiving. This was understandably very difficult for them.”
Katie wanted a new rule in the group that impacted her friends.
“Once other members of the group started having kids, Katie asked us to not talk about kids at our monthly get-togethers because it was difficult for her to hear. She also made it clear that she would not attend any baby showers.”
“The rest of our group had mixed feelings about this. We understood that Katie was very upset about her difficulties conceiving, but it was disappointing to not be able to share important parts of our lives.”
“We generally go around and everyone talks about what’s new in their lives (work, promotions, hobbies, etc.), but whenever one of us was on maternity leave, we could basically only say, ‘Everything is good,’ because we couldn’t talk about the main thing happening in our life.”
“That said, now that our kids are older and we are all back to work and have time for hobbies, we have started to enjoy having a dedicated time for ‘no kids talk.’ It is something that we have even come to look forward to.”
But now Katie wanted to change the rules.
“Fast forward to now and Katie and her husband are pregnant, which is very exciting.”
“She is nearing her due date and planning to take at least a year off to stay home with the baby.”
Even Katie’s husband got involved, wanting to see something change.
“Last night, two other members of our group and I got a text from Katie’s husband saying that she is really upset that we barely ask her about her pregnancy when we see her and that no one has offered to throw her a baby shower.”
“At first, we were surprised to hear this. We do text Katie at least weekly to check in on her, we just don’t talk about it at our monthly hang-outs (she has been talking about it in her updates, but no one has asked any follow-up questions about the pregnancy and we more focus on her other updates).”
The group felt conflicted about Katie’s updated demands.
“We talked to the rest of the group (except for Katie), and the general vibe is that we want to keep the no-kid-talk rule in place, and it feels a little rude that Katie expects us to now talk about her pregnancy when she was the one who made the rule in the first place.”
“Would we be the a**hole if we keep our traditions? We also don’t feel like we have time to plan a shower with the holidays happening. And it sounds like no one wants to go through the stress of planning a shower when Katie didn’t even go to theirs.”
“Are we the a**holes for sticking to our tradition even though the original reason no longer applies?”
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 the mom group wasn’t YTA and that Katie was being selfish.
“NTA. You kept quiet about the massive change your lives were going through and about your little bundles of joy to help her cope. You hid your lives and your joy so that Katie would not feel extra sorrow. That was above and beyond.”
“But now, because of her, you have adult time. Adult time that you’ve all grown to appreciate and rely on as a release from the relentless onslaught that parenting can feel like. A moment to just sit and be you. You respected her peace of mind, it’s time to respect the rest of you.”
“To be ruder about it: She couldn’t cope with her emotions when everyone else was getting what she wanted, and now she can’t cope with her emotions because everyone else isn’t overjoyed that she’s finally getting it.”
“She’s never going to see the rest of you as anything but AHs about this because she’s been selfish the whole time and that’s not going to change.”
“You aren’t AHs for wanting to keep the status quo, but she’s never going to understand why you aren’t capitulating to her Main Character the way you have been for years.” – Natural_Garbage7674
“It’s not just about them hiding their joy. Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood can be really very hard. She prevented them from talking about it and getting support from their friend group.”
“What about the ones who were struggling? They didn’t get to talk about that because Katie didn’t want to hear it. It probably made it harder for them. And now it’s Katie’s time for support, she wants it all.”
“Definitely NTA. Katie clearly thinks she’s the main character and is the AH for that.” – Bgtobgfu
“NTA. You all went out of your way to accommodate Katie, which is pretty impressive. Now that she has to do the SAME EXACT ACCOMMODATION, she’s complaining. She got an amazing gift of selective silence from everyone. Now is the time for her to show her appreciation by giving back the same.” – BetweenWeebAndOtaku
“Seriously?! As a mother whose only option was IVF, that is wild to me. Our daughter is much more special to us because of everything we went through and to an extent our family (first grandchild/great-grandchild so no favoritism) but she’s no more special than any other child in the general sense. Every child is a small miracle, regardless of how they came into the world.”
“NTA. If it was a short-term, temporary thing while Katie dealt with her feelings and then she joined in with the joy I’d think that was fair. And some sensitivity around announcing pregnancies would be the kind thing to do. But a blanket ban on ANY child talk, ever? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard.”
“There were six hard years between my infertility diagnosis and having my daughter, but I was still able to share the joy with my friends as they started their families around me. You can be sad for yourself AND happy for others at the same time.” – RaisingRoses
“NTA. This isn’t about lacking empathy. It’s matching the energy you’ve been given. Katie is not entitled to a baby shower thrown by any of you. She neither helped plan nor attended any of yours. Additionally, you’re correct that the holidays are a demanding time for most people, especially those with families. Your time is spoken for.”
“If you felt like it, you could take up a collection among your friend group and present her with some kind of loaded gift card or each buy and send things to her house, but you aren’t necessarily required to do so. I would recommend some grace for the fact that she is late to a very, very difficult game that y’all have already been playing for quite some time so keep that in mind.”
“But no. Keeping the No-kids talk rule is appropriate. I just imagine that Katie will distance herself while on maternity leave when she has nothing else to talk about.” – Night_Owl_26
Others could understand how the situation was complicated but empathized with Katie.
“NTA about the No kid talk but YTA about the baby shower.”
“Katie probably assumes the rule was for her benefit and doesn’t understand why you would want to keep the rule now that she doesn’t need it anymore. It might be worth having a conversation about that.”
“Katie did not come to baby showers because those things actively inflict pain on infertile couples. None of you want to throw the baby shower because you can’t be bothered. There is a HUGE difference and Katie is right to be upset about that.” – ScaryButterscotch474
“After being in a similar situation to Katie I think ESH and maybe YTA (you collectively), and here’s why.”
“When you say that you don’t feel like you have the time to plan Katie’s shower because of the holidays, and because Katie didn’t go to your showers, it tells me you don’t actually understand your ‘friend’ very well.”
“There is a difference between not being able to talk about your life with your friends once a month and living with infertility every day. Katie asked for your help by sharing a burden she was feeling, and you were kind in doing so. Not being empathetic to Katie now that after seemingly years of difficulty, she has the ability to share in the joy that a large portion of your friend group has enjoyed by not throwing her a shower because you are ‘too busy’ or feel upset by it is not being a good friend.”
“Katie probably feels like she has lost a lot already, and you all have left her behind. Not throwing her a shower is affirming that.”
“You all were kind to her by not talking about kids during your meet-ups, and Katie has to be able to deal with her own trauma, but your response to her now tells me you probably don’t understand the depth of her pain and makes me wonder if you took the time to understand what she was going through.”
“Just a perspective from someone who has been on the other side, and had good friends who we recognize we weren’t fair to and had hard conversations with each other about it.” – tavesd
“Katie’s request to not talk all about kids at the monthly meeting might have ruffled some feathers but let’s be honest; that’s all new parents can talk about. Had you a shred of empathy, this wouldn’t have been that big of a deal since you had plenty of fellow new parents to lean on for support while she had none to give her support to her infertility. Think about it.”
“And not going to baby showers when you’re struggling with infertility makes sense. She wasn’t doing it to be malicious, she was in pain. Look at the various infertility subs and you’ll see that’s actually pretty common.”
“Also, definitely YTA for not being willing to participate, let alone help pitch in on a baby shower. You’re just using it as an excuse because you can’t admit your priorities have shifted over the years and can’t be bothered to maintain your friendship with her.”
“I get it, we drift apart from people who aren’t in the same stages of life but at least be honest to her and yourself and not try to pin the entirety of fault on your friend. Own your part too.”
“Also: she sees you once a month during the “adult time” meeting because she lives out of town. Refusing to be flexible, especially after her finally getting pregnant after a decade is a petty, childish, and an AH move. It feels… exclusionary, especially as she’s going to need support as a new mom. Tit for tat. Time to grow up.”
“YTA.” – Disastrous-Health572
“YTA she created the rule because she couldn’t get pregnant. I understand that sucked that you guys couldn’t talk about it back then, but it wasn’t because she just didn’t feel like it. It’s because it was too hurtful for her to hear about and she couldn’t support you properly. Now, after all these years, she’s experiencing a miracle, and she’s not allowed to talk about it? Just because you don’t feel like it?”
“At least you guys got to have baby showers, right? Did you plan them for each other? She just personally didn’t come? And now that she has an opportunity that, again, is a miracle that she’s waited for for years, you’re not doing it because it’s the holidays?”
“If you absolutely can’t stomach talking about it at your get-together, at least give her oodles of love and support outside it. You know how painful this has been for her.” – Antiherowriting
“YTA. Your friend made that rule because of her pain. And this is your FRIEND. Shouldn’t you love and care about your friends? Do you really want to punish this woman because she was hurt that she was having trouble conceiving?”
“It’s one thing for you not to talk about your pregnancy with your friend who was having trouble getting pregnant. It’s another thing entirely for your friend group to decide as a whole, to ignore your friend.”
“(And I had to roll my eyes so hard at this ‘poor us, we couldn’t talk about this or that’ as if you guys, as a friends group, never texted or spoke on the phone. Like. You’re grown-a** women.) Of course Reddit thinks punishment is the right answer, but Reddit always sides on the side of being selfish and mean. Is that the person you want to be?” – katiedoesntsharefood
After receiving feedback, the OP shared additional information and an update.
“We were all still pretty young when Katie first started trying/experiencing fertility issues. For most if not all of us, she was the first person we knew to share that she was experiencing that. When she asked us not to talk about babies/kids at the monthly get-together, we agreed because we didn’t know if that was a reasonable ask or not and really just wanted to be supportive of our friend.”
“I understand many of you would not have agreed to that and if it happened again, I don’t know, maybe we wouldn’t but at the time we went along with it.”
The OP also reassured that she didn’t think this was the end of their friendship.
“I know Katie distancing herself from such a big part of our lives over the past few years has been a source of hurt for most of us BUT aside from this issue, she is a lovely person. No one has any plans of excluding her from our friend group. We’ve just always understood it as a coping mechanism for her and no one in the group thinks that’s worth ending a friendship over.”
“I am fairly confident that no one is acting out of retaliation or in a ‘tit-for-tat’ manner. Since Katie asked for the no-kid-talk rule, we have always still talked about our pregnancies/parenthood, we just did it when Katie wasn’t around. Although we can only coordinate the big no-kid-talk group get-together about once a month, friends who live closer to each other or work together or who have kids the same age often meet up at other times and we would normally talk about kid stuff then if Katie wasn’t in attendance.”
“Once Katie got pregnant, we started being able to talk about kid stuff when she was around and have definitely talked about her pregnancy in those settings, just not at the monthly get-together. This wasn’t done in retaliation, it’s just how it’s always been so we didn’t really think to do anything different.”
The OP also shared more about the importance of the no-kid-talk time.
“The reason most of us want to keep the No-kid-talk rule in place is because as our kids have gotten older we’ve come to appreciate having a time to take a break from being moms-first and just enjoy our friendship and the other aspects of who we are as people.”
“We are often in work-mode or mom-mode so having this dedicated space has been really nice. I understand that Katie is not where we are today but rather where we were back then when we really wanted to gush about babies and kid stuff, so I sympathize with that, but I also think it’s a bit unfair to expect us all to accommodate her again.”
“We are more than happy to text about her pregnancy or talk about it on other occasions. The rest of us just want to have this one get-together to remain kid-talk-free. To be fair, she does live the farthest from the rest of us so she usually only sees people in the group about one other time a month but we are still available by text.”
The subReddit understood the frustrations of the rest of the friend group not being able to talk about their pregnancies and early motherhood when Katie was struggling with infertility, but they were much more divided over Katie’s involvement in the group now.
Most felt that Katie should respect the rule that she put in place and receive the same treatment she demanded of her friends, especially since they were still available to her to talk to in every other setting except the monthly meeting. But there were a few who felt that the rule was being held up more so in retaliation, which should have no place in a healthy friendship.