A person’s dying wish is something friends and family members would do anything to grant if only just to give them a fleeting moment of happiness in their remaining days.
But that doesn’t mean it comes without limitations.
Redditor ApprehensiveGoose179 is a mother who refused to come through for her 22-year-old cousin by marriage who was dying of cancer.
Consequently, the mother was slammed for being “selfish” by her husband’s side of the family.
She visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to see what strangers would have to say.
The Original Poster (OP) asked:
“AITA for not letting my cousin experience motherhood?”
“I have a cousin by marriage (husband’s cousin) that’s 22 and dying of cancer.”
“It was always her dream to marry and be a mom and now that’s not going to happen. It’s hard on everyone. She has a much older fiancé (30) and they had a symbolic wedding so she could have the experience.”
“They started looking for ways to get access to a baby that she could take care of and experience some level of child care that way, but with 2020 and ethics in general, there’s not a lot of ways to do that safely.”
“My husband and I have the first and so far only children of our generation, who are 10 months and 23 months old.”
“I had hopes that it wouldn’t happen, but her parents asked me if she/they could borrow my younger baby for ‘a few weeks.’ The cousin and her fiancé would basically be playacting having a baby.”
“Her parents would also join in on pretending. There would be photoshoots and everything.”
“This makes me really uncomfortable.”
“It’s really creepy. I cannot understate how creepy I think this is. I know that her not getting to live her dreams is sad, but I don’t think this is the answer.”
“I’m worried it will be traumatic for my baby. She’s almost a year old and will, well, notice that her entire family will just vanish overnight for what will seem like forever.”
“She’s also still nursing, and they don’t really seem to care about this factor.”
“I’m really worried about problems down the road. This is setting a dangerous precedent of my child living under other guardianship.”
“Her parents will have time to get attached and they could try to use that for familial pressure if not legally. Her fiancé is also a wild card in that regard.”
“I said no, and my husband’s entire family is hounding us about this because her time is running out and it’s time sensitive.”
“They say we’re being selfish.”
“They say that we could use this as a free vacation and bond with our older child because I ‘popped them out so close together’. They want to compromise now by letting me come by a few times a day to bring milk.”
“We still don’t want to do this. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors declared NTA, commented on the cruelty of cancer and touched on how grief can affect people.
“NTA, and my dear poor harried Internet stranger, please don’t let them into your head.”
“Look at how you phrased this question: ‘not letting my cousin experience motherhood.’ Life did that, and it sucks, but you didn’t do that.”
“This question would more reasonably be phrased ‘not wanting to be separated from my 10-month-old baby for months so that my cousin and her fiance can pretend it’s theirs.’ That’s a totally reasonable position!”
“Grief can make people lose their minds a bit, especially when you’re watching cancer destroy a young life that was full of promise. I’m not saying that they are horrible people, but they are letting grief dictate their actions in wildly unreasonable ways.”
“I know it’s terrible to see cancer destroy your daughter’s life and her hopes of being a mother, but the answer is not to relentlessly hound a young mother to give up her child to you – and with some pretty damned dehumanizing language, because that ‘popped them out’ crap is just crude and cruel.”
“I know that they are angry with life and with the injustice of their daughter’s early death, but don’t let them convince you that it’s reasonable for them to turn that anger and resentment around on you. If you can, try to see them as people whose reason is coming apart in the face of this terrible loss.”
“Speak to them as kindly as you can, but remember that they are not behaving rationally and you should not go along with their demands. Empathize with their grief, but don’t tell yourself that you have to cure it; unfortunately, nothing can.”
“The best thing you can do is to urge them to seek professional help in dealing with this extremely painful loss and to be polite, gentle, but absolutely immovable on the topic of splitting up your own family.” – Terpsichorean_Wombat
“Ugh! Cancer! It is so unfair. But please don’t give into their demands.”
“Their anticipatory grief is pushing them into a bad place mentally and you do not want your baby to be caught in the middle. Try to remain sympathetic, but they might make it difficult if they ramp up the horrible attitude and language toward you.”
“This is your BABY! And it is NOT your fault whatsoever that cancer is robbing this young woman of her life and milestones.” – Georgia_girl_52
“Also, I can’t imagine pretending another women’s baby is yours for a few weeks will actually help her come to terms with the fact she will be unable to have kids and raise them.”
“If anything, I think she’d feel worse. The fact that her family is buying into this nonsense is not doing her any good.” – emmy1418
“It won’t make her feel better. Coming up on 11 years of infertility here, so I can guarantee that.”
“There are no substitutes, and any attempt at pretended motherhood will almost certainly feel hollow, unsatisfying, and even deeply depressing.”
“There are plenty of wonderful ways to have meaningful relationships with children. But, none of them take the place motherhood. None. Whatsoever.”
“And for an infant with a healthy bond to his family, there are no substitutes for Mother, either. The entire scheme is absurd and unhealthy.”
“OP is NTA for protecting her child from this monstrosity of a plan. The Cousin & Family don’t need a ‘borrowed’ baby, they need help coping with the daunting and tragic reality of what they are facing.” – RosalieThornehill
A medical professional weighed in with their expertise.
“Cancer being incredibly difficult is just another of many reasons why this is a bad idea.”
“I’m currently in a PhD program. Before that I worked for some time in oncology clinical trials. Someone that age who is dying of cancer really isn’t a stable influence for a child—and I do NOT mean mentally.”
“There are a lot of unfortunate physical failings that go into the last stages of cancer, and none of that is improved with a baby present.”
“I was sad to see many of our patients have to relinquish their children’s day to day to care entirely to their spouses or other family members—and no child really needs to be exposed to that. Even babies are impressionable by this type of situation.”
“Stand your ground OP. I don’t mean this is the only or even close to the most important issue, but let it add to the scale of f’k no’ weighing in your mind.”
While Redditors acknowledged the tragedy of the situation and believed that life can be unfair, the consensus was that it wasn’t up to the OP to entrust a privilege that isn’t always guaranteed to everyone.