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Woman Called Out For Suggesting Husband’s Reaction To Best Friend’s Miscarriage Is ‘Excessive’

Man grieving
Dmitry Ageev/EyeEm/Getty Images

Content Warning: Child loss

Grief has a way of taking all kinds of terrible forms, and so often, it can catch someone off-guard who thought they were healing.

But to someone observing them, their behavior might appear questionable, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor SendHelp__AITA was concerned about her husband, who was still grieving the loss of his best friend’s stillborn baby months after the loss.

But when she attempted to voice her concerns, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised by how defensive her husband became.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for saying that my husband’s reaction to a friend’s miscarriage is excessive?”

The OP’s husband was very involved in his best friend’s pregnancy journey.

“I need to know if I’m being reasonable or heartless here.”

“My husband (27 Male) has a long-time friend who we’ll call Bill (31 Male). The two of them met when my husband was 16, and from the way they always tell the story, they’ve been inseparable ever since.”

“Bill is now married and lives nearby with his wife. They announced their pregnancy a while ago and my husband was absolutely overjoyed for them.”

“He would visit at often as he could and it seemed like he was singlehandedly funding the baby’s wardrobe and nursery, honestly.”

But then tragedy struck.

“Unfortunately, they suffered a miscarriage just before the six-month mark.”

“Bill and his wife were understandably devastated, and so was my husband.”

“I understood. He was watching his best friend go through something unimaginably painful.”

“He was often gone for long periods of time comforting Bill because not only had he suffered this loss, his marriage didn’t seem to be holding up very well either.”

The OP was worried about how her husband was handling it.

“The miscarriage occurred at the end of September, and it’s now Christmas time.”

“Now, this is where I might be a huge a**hole, so I’m in desperate need of judgment.”

“I completely empathize with Bill and his wife still needing time to recover, but my husband is ALSO still acting as if this is fresh.”

“Not just in the way he’s still comforting his friend during his free time or excusing himself to take hours-long phone calls, but the intensity of his emotions.”

When she recently tried to talk to him about it, she was surprised by his response.

“I caught him crying about a week ago, and when I asked him what about it, he got angry with me and said it should be obvious.”

“I was surprised to be met with such malice over a simple question, so I tried to gently suggest that maybe therapy would be beneficial.”

“He was feeling this loss like it was his own, and I didn’t find that very healthy. In fact, I had been concerned about him since mid-October if I was honest, but had no idea how to broach the subject.”

“The conversation that followed didn’t go well, and my husband said his emotions were perfectly normal and that maybe I was just lacking in empathy.”

“He’s been avoiding me since.”

“AITA?”

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 were concerned about how enmeshed the husband was in his friend’s life.

“Reading the title, I was prepared to say that you are TA but having read the whole post, I agree with you, your husband is acting like he actually lost a baby.”

“Being empathetic is one thing but this does seem a bit over the top. Either there’s more to this story (and I hope there isn’t) or he does need to speak to a therapist to work out why he is so enmeshed with his friend.”

“NTA.” – PhePheLaFrou

“Due to a genetic issue I have, I’ve had around 10 miscarriages. I’ve literally lost count (with three partners over the course of 20 years). There were a couple of very tough ones.”

“But I’ve never seen a reaction like this by either my partner, ex-partners, nor anyone I’m close to. Most people truly don’t give a s**t.”

“This is weird as h**l. NTA.” – Yoma73

“He seems to be more invested than just being a good friend. There’s sympathy and then there is grief, he seems to have more personal grief than just sympathizing with his friends!”

“I am also wondering if he had an affair with his buddy’s wife and the two of them know that the baby was actually his, not his buddy’s.”

“That would explain him feeling more like it’s his child he lost rather than his friend’s loss.” – buttercup-n-oliver

“I can’t help but feel really bad for Bill’s wife. You know, the one who ACTUALLY experienced the stillbirth? Maybe the marriage is in trouble now because Bill is also refusing to share his grief with his partner, his wife?”

“Instead, it’s ‘hours-long phone conversations’ with his buddy? I understand that there is a lot of grief here, but neither of these men seem to be handling it in a healthy way, and both of them seem to be alienating their wives.” – BlondeJonZ

“The loss of a child often challenges the parent’s relationship. It’s natural to try to place blame so you don’t feel the guilt yourself (it’s no one’s fault).”

“So even if both partners are on the phone with OP’s husband and no one is neglected here, they all need therapy. These emotions are too intense and convoluted to be sifted through and processed without help.” – Dismal-Daikon2682

Others pondered the husband’s recent lash-out against the OP.

“I’m wondering if he was the sperm donor maybe? OP wouldn’t know this.”

“During his latest crying session, was it the baby’s due date? That would be a significant thing to grieve afresh, but OP’s husband needs therapy to cope with this grief. Both wives are feeling alienated here.” – AggravatingPatient18

“Maybe after the due date range has passed, he can calm down a little but had plans for, like, Christmas stuff with the new baby. I don’t know, this is sad all-around.” – m-adir

“Perhaps the husband can’t have children, and sort of emotionally latched onto this one as if it was one of his own?” – venetian_ftaires

“I think a lot of people are missing the fact that, at six months pregnant (about 24 weeks), it isn’t a miscarriage. Bill’s wife had to go through labor to push out a dead baby/baby that died shortly after birth. That is incredibly traumatic for Bill and his wife.”

“Being distraught at the death of a loved one’s child is very reasonable, especially if they were so close that OP’s husband expected to be involved in the baby’s life. And it’s understandable that, in the lead-up to Christmas, all the people that were excited about the baby are now thinking about how this should have been the baby’s first Christmas, rather than how they are going to celebrate after such a loss.”

“He shouldn’t have snapped at OP, and could possibly use some therapy to help with day-to-day functioning if that has been impacted by grief, but crying at the death of a loved one’s baby isn’t a problem in itself.” – Raise-The-Gates

“I think that what needs to be remembered here is that this was not a miscarriage. At 24 weeks, unintentionally losing a baby is a stillbirth. It’s physically traumatic to go through because you have to actually give birth to a corpse. A formed baby that has all its parts.”

“If my best friend went through that, I’d grieve with them for longer than a week. Studies have shown that it’s psychologically no different to have a stillborn at 24 weeks than it is to have one at 30 or 40 weeks, or to lose a baby to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). You’d think it would be harder the longer you “had” the baby, but apparently not.”

“My family has lived through stillbirths, and also infant deaths shortly after birth. I can tell you from experience that it feels the same. You just say, ‘We lost a baby,’ because it ceases to matter if the baby cried outside the womb or not.”

“I did not carry or birth any of these children. They were my siblings, cousins, and aunts. I know what it’s like to be a spectator to the parents’ grief. For that reason, I think NAH.” – diagnosedwolf

“We lost our newborn son hours after his birth, exactly one year ago today actually. Our best friend, who we partially named our son after, was devastated.”

“He already suffered from depression and seeing us in that state of overwhelming grief was, according to his wife, almost more than he could manage. His depression got even more severe in the months that followed, even as my husband and I started to heal, and I have no doubt our son’s passing was part of the reason why.”

“NAH, and anyone who thinks there is hasn’t dealt with a stillbirth or the death of an infant in their close circle.” – Grompson

“The psychological impact of stillbirth or early infant death affects everyone in a family differently.”

“I know a couple in their 80s who once confided in me that their first child, a boy, died at 34 weeks. She delivered him, but back then the baby was taken away and that was that.”

“The woman told the story very matter-of-factly, but the man broke down into tears about how nowadays they let you see the baby and hold the baby. He was very affected that he never got to do that with his lost son. It was a moment where they both kinda realized the trauma was still tangible 60+ years on.”

“So, I bet for a close friend, or sibling, that is normal to feel the loss. The baby was already loved.”

“OP’s husband had envisioned this whole future with this child. He was going to be the best uncle and couldn’t wait to see his buddy be a dad.”

“The baby died. It was stillborn. That entire happy hopeful version of the future got shattered, and it really meant something to him. It’s sad and unfair.”

“NAH. Grief is complex.” – JJTRN

The subReddit was divided on this one, between thinking the husband’s behavior was strange and empathizing with a man who was grieving the loss of the equivalent of a nephew.

Either way, the sub understood the wife’s concern and hoped therapy would be sought out in the near future.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.