The word conjures images of chores, homework, car payments or mortgage rates.
Of course, the question is who assigns those obligations?
What if you don’t want them?
This was precisely the predicament that brought Redditor and Original Poster (OP) ThrowawayDaughter077 to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for guidance.
In a now-deleted post, she asked:
“AITA for wanting to put my less than 1-year-old daughter up for adoption?”
She began with the background.
“I (19 Female) recently gave birth.”
“The baby daddy was a random hookup who disappeared the moment I told him I was pregnant.”
“The pregnancy was tough because my mom and dad were disappointed about the extra responsibility I’d taken on my shoulders.”
“I was a bright community college student (we could not afford regular college even with financial aid) before this so it did take quite a hit on them but they still supported me a lot throughout the journey.”
She moved quickly to the problem at hand.
“My daughter is not even one yet.”
“She was almost immediately diagnosed with a rare disorder that will severely impact her quality of life.”
“The entire 8 months so far have been filled with doctor visits and looking after her is a thousand times more demanding than looking after a regular baby.”
“(I know because I have a brother 12 years younger than me and I saw him grow up).”
“I am really sick and tired of the issues this has caused us.”
“My community college grades are starting to slip and I really don’t want to end up poor and barely educated like my parents.”
“I cannot eat, sleep, or even think properly and the doctor visits are insanely time-consuming.”
“Even worse, we were told in our last visit that our daughter requires surgery that we literally cannot afford.”
“It’s going to burn a severe hole in our pocket and not going for the surgery is absolutely not an option.”
“While delaying it is not preferable, she will not die if it’s not done immediately though she will be in a very poor condition and will require even more assistance.”
“At this point, I’m just done.”
“I can’t function like this anymore.”
“I have decided to put her up for adoption.”
“My parents say I’m cruel for abandoning a child that has bonded with me for 8 months.”
“They ask me how can I have the heart as the child’s mother to abandon her after bonding for the past months.”
“Truth is, I don’t feel anything.”
“I am depressed and anxious all the time and the lack of sleep and time does not help.”
“I am breaking down every time I see my grades fall and I can’t take this anymore.”
She was left wondering,
“AITA for wanting to put my daughter up for adoption?”
Having explained the situation, OP sought guidance from Reddit.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses offered advice on resources.
“NTA but you need help.”
“You should be able to apply for disability for your child if you decide to keep her.”
“Ask her pediatrician to connect you with a social worker, who can streamline the process.”
“You should also be able to apply for child support.”
“Also, 8 months post-partum is HARD.”
“You could very easily be suffering from post-partum depression, which is treatable and temporary.”
“Giving up your baby is permanent.”
“This is your decision, though, and there are so many families waiting to adopt.”
“Unfortunately, your baby’s medical needs could mean placement in state foster care for up to a year while ducks are put in a row.” ~AnastasiaRomani
“I’m wondering if she could withdraw for a semester or drop some courses to ease the load an itsy bit.”
“Along with all the other suggestions people are making.“~empresslilandra
Others suggested OP was on the right track.
Parenthood by accident can result in an unwanted child—no child deserves resentment from their parent.
“She needs better care than what you can give her right now.”
“For both your sakes, I’d at least start doing research on adoption agencies, the hospital you gave birth at should have resources for you”~jigsawvcxzfvsgb
“If you can’t raise her properly and help her with her needs then it’s better for everyone if she is able to move on with another family or arrangement.”
“Just make sure that this isn’t a decision made lightly and whether you might feel differently with more support.”
“Try talking to some social workers and women’s support agencies before taking the big leap.”
“But, no, you aren’t an a**hole for realizing that this isn’t sustainable.”~Twallot
“YTA, but for having a kid you weren’t capable of looking after in the first place from a random hookup.”
“But the past is the past.”
“Get some professional help and work out what’s best for the child, which may well be adoption.”
“You made same bad decisions but nonetheless I’m sorry you have to go through this as unfortunately there are no easy options here.” ~ Mattershak
“NTA. If you feel that you aren’t able to care for her, then someone else who really wants to take care of her can.”
“She is little enough that she won’t remember and you can make it easy for her to find you later if you want. My dad married my mother when I was 5 and adopted me at 8.”
“I don’t remember my bio dad and I bonded pretty firmly to my dad, so your baby bonding to you should not be the determiner. It should be your feelings and whether you feel you can give her the love and attention she needs.”
“If you can do that with help, great. Go for it.”
“But if you truly think she will be better off with another family, if you think you will be too tired or stressed to be grateful she is in your life, let her go.”
“No child should grow up feeling like they are a burden.” ~ Myshanter5525
“You’re NTA for feeling overwhelmed. Unfortunately you live in a country without a social safety net.”
“I don’t know what services are available to you in the United States.”
“If you lived where I do you would qualify for free nursing support at home, all medical supplies covered and regular respite care. There would be no insurance fees, doctor bills or worries about paying for surgery.”
“Take a break from school. See an advisor and tell them what is going on.”
“Talk to the hospital social worker if they have those where you live. They can direct you to any community or government support.”
“See a doctor for yourself and get counseling. Grieve for the life you imagined and didn’t get.”
“Don’t make this decision in haste. It breaks my heart that money is a potential reason for giving up a child.” ~ sreno77
“You are literally doing the only truly responsible thing you actually can do.”
“Your parents are barely educated; people who ain’t got much besides Life will ultimately, arbitrarily value Life above all things. They never had vision for quality of life and personal success, their definition of life is simply not starving, and successfully passing on your genes.”
“But for this kid, life is going to be poor health. That is not a life worth living, just because she ain’t starving and stands a chance to live long enough to pass on her genes.”
“It’s not your parents fault they dispense poor advice, but you should know better than to take it.”
“Struggling is not glorious, suffering is not justified by the end results. Your daughter deserves better.”
“Do the responsible thing and help her get the best chance of Quality of Life.” ~ Nihellism
“NTA. You’re a kid who thought she was ready for sex & motherhood, and learned the hard way that she’s not.”
“Keeping a child you have no connection with and can’t properly care for is the worst thing you can do; especially when you add on the cost of keeping her healthy.”
“She won’t remember you at this age, and she will have a better chance at life with someone who has the money and time to care for her the way she needs.”
“Keeping her is setting you BOTH up for a lifetime of hardship and poverty.” ~ Berrysama32
“NTA OP, but I would recommend a direct adoption if possible. Putting the child in foster care or into the system with the issues they have is setting them up for misery.”
“But, if you can find a family who is willing and able to care for your child and provide them the healthcare they need, that would be great for the child.”
“I think it’s good to know your limits and abilities.”
“You cannot care for this kid and provide them the things they need for a healthy and happy life, so it is better for them and for you to give them up.” ~ 1amCorbin
“The absolute kindest, most caring thing you can do, OP, is to give your child up for adoption if you can’t or don’t want to take care of her anymore.”
“Please do this if this is the case. As the child grows, it will be hard for you to hide your resentment and unhappiness from her, and no child deserves that.”
“Believe me, there are kind and loving people out there who are willing and able to provide your daughter with what she needs. It is really a loving and selfless act to realize your limitations, to realize that you cannot and don’t want to raise her, and give her to someone who does and will.”
“Don’t let people talk you into keeping her out of guilt if that’s not what you want to do.”
“My husband and I couldn’t have children, and I got to know a lot of other infertile couples as well. Please believe me when I say that there are definitely people out there that will want her and be able to care for her.”
“I urge you to follow your heart here and give your child what she needs and deserves. This has to be tough. You’re in my thoughts.” ~ windywx22
There were comments of simple support…
“Yes, people will say it’s cruel and heartless, but some people aren’t built to take care of a high-needs child.”
“Physically and/or mentally they can’t do it, and they often don’t bond with the child the same because of this.”
“It can be a good thing to recognize this, put them up for adoption, instead of being a bad parent.”
“Hopefully they do get adopted by a good family.”
“I’m someone who has chosen not to have kids, because of health concerns, so I really can’t judge someone for recognizing what they can and can’t cope with.”
“I would struggle with even the best behaved non-disabled child, even with a partner.”
“OP is so young, clearly is not from a wealthy privileged background, and is a single parent.”
“That’s a lot to deal with and overcome. It’s better to figure this out sooner rather than later as well.“~Lexia_extreme511
…or just to share personal experiences.
“I’m both an abandoned baby and an adopted child- and if OP wants to give that baby to another family, I’ll have nothing unkind to say about it.”
“Why doesn’t matter, despite the righteously-indignant bloodbaths springing up in other comments.”~SucculentEmpress
This post wasn’t really about responsibility.
It was about what other people think a person’s responsibility should be and putting the needs of others before our ideas of what is good or reputable.
Meeting a child’s needs should always come before worrying about what other people will think.
We do not get to judge the life we don’t live, the choices we don’t make.
Support doesn’t mean agreement, it means holding up the people you care about through whatever is thrown at them.
Be the support your loved ones need and don’t be afraid to ask them for the same.