Part of being a soon-to-be parent is dreaming up all the special experiences they will share with their future child, or how their bond will change with their older children.
But what the parents might expect to be beautiful might turn out to be traumatic for the kids, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).
Redditor Free-Cicada-3233 was left traumatized by having to witness her younger brother being born when she was a child, and she was not happy to hear a friend of the family intended to do the same to their oldest child.
When she was honest about how traumatic the experience had been for her, the Original Poster (OP) was accused of ruining the mood for the expectant couple.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘ruining the birth of their child’ for a couple I don’t know?”
The OP was traumatized by witnessing the birth of her younger brother.
“I (24 Female) was unfortunate enough to witness my brother’s birth when I was six.”
“Front row and all, I was the first person to carry him in the hospital room. To be honest, I don’t remember anything except how horrific that memory is.”
“My parents have apologized and we have made peace with it. They thought it would be cute for me to see my brother first, it wasn’t, they said sorry, and we moved on.”
“But the rest of my family hasn’t moved on. They still think it’s absolutely bonkers that I didn’t think it was a magical moment.”
The issue recently came up again at a family get-together.
“Fast forward to now, I was visiting my aunts and uncles during one of their reunions, and a couple that’s friends with one of them was talking about how excited they are about the birth of their kid.”
“I said nothing. They keep talking until I heard how they are also planning to have their first kid in the delivery room with the mom to have ‘an experience like I had.'”
“My aunt went pale, and before she could deflect, I said, ‘If what you want is to traumatize that kid for life, be my guest.'”
“The couple was silent, and my aunt quickly shifted the topic to other birth and baby topics, and my uncles asked me to go eat something over there.”
The family lashed out at the OP for her comment.
“I understand when I’m being dismissed, so I ate some more food and left for the night.”
“After that, my extended family started blowing up my phone about how I ruined the birth of their kid for the couple and how now they are feeling like s**t and bad parents.”
“I think I saved another poor kid’s eyes, but it also wasn’t my place since I don’t know them.”
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 agreed with the family and thought the OP should have kept her opinions to herself.
“Maybe unpopular, but YTA. I would never argue that you feel trauma based on your experience, but you don’t get to dump it on anyone.”
“You could have behaved rationally, had an adult conversation, and it would not have ruined anything. You would have just given them a different perspective to consider. You might have even convinced them to make alternate plans.”
“As of now, you (justifiably) come across as a nut who needs therapy.” – trishyfishruns
“YTA. Regardless of how you feel, there is a thing called tact. You clearly made everyone uncomfortable.” – DoublePelix
“YTA. You’re projecting your bad experience on everyone else.”
“You had a s**t experience and it’s clear that it’s affecting you to this day. You don’t have to like the birth process or ever participate in it again, but your experience is not everyone else’s experience. Quit p**sing in other people’s popcorn.”
“That being said, if you could find a way to say something like, ‘I had a bad experience with something similar and you may want to think about how birth affects siblings,’ that would be less judgemental and convey that there are potential negatives to what they are thinking about doing.” – Sinreborn
“YTA. You could have told them about your experience without expressing it in such a negative way. Your experience is just one person’s experience, and extrapolating that to everyone else is an AH move. Your point of view could have been a valuable contribution to their decision-making in a balanced way, but it wasn’t at all.”
“As a caregiver, I’ve been to many births where children were present, and the vast majority were totally fine. My own daughter, four years old at the time, was at her sister’s birth, and she loved being a part of it and still talks about it years later.”
“It depends on the age of the child, too; if too young, they are too scared and confused about what’s happening, and if too old, they might find it gross and they might not want to see that.”
“They need prep, and info about what they might see and what might happen, and they need to have someone who is dedicated to helping them out, so if they want to leave, get tired, or bored, they have someone to help them. I have them do little jobs, like keeping a towel warm under their shirt to use to wipe off the baby.”
“It’s unfortunate that so many people on here have such a bad or limited view of childbirth. I’m not naive at all to complications that can happen, but it works just fine most of the time.” – Flow2Ebb2Flow
“YTA. Birth is natural.”
“I witnessed all three of my siblings being born. I was ages three, five, and 10. One of them was even in the car on the side of the road. My mom did not have pain meds or an epidural. I was not scared at all to see my mom in pain. All I saw was a powerful, bada** woman.”
“Do not use your negative experience to ruin someone else’s experience, especially someone you don’t know.” – OzmaofEmeralds
But others empathized with the OP and also couldn’t imagine choosing this birthing plan.
“NTA. I honestly can’t fathom wanting your child to witness their parent in pain just for them to see the “miracle of birth”. That’s extremely traumatizing for a child.”
“You were honest with them about the experience. They needed to know it isn’t all sunshine and daisies for the child experiencing this.” – MercifulOtter
“NTA. They made an incorrect assumption about an experience you had and were getting ready to make significant decisions based on that wrong assumption.”
“Correcting them was absolutely the right thing to do. If the rest of your family can’t handle that, it’s on them.” – headdeskreact
“NTA, and anyone that doesn’t think birth is traumatic is bonkers. It involves lots of pain, lots of blood, and in many cases, a lot of medical intervention to deal with or prevent major complications.”
“Women produce hormones that help them deal with the trauma of producing a whole human. Everyone else present has to just deal with it, and adults can make that informed consent, but a kid really doesn’t get to, and it sounds like the adults need that reality check.” – Plantsnob
“NTA. They wanted their first child to have an experience like yours. Clearly, they were under the impression that you had a good experience.”
“You shined some truth on your experience. Nothing wrong with that at all.”
“Also, it was very mature of you that you were able to move on with your parents and hold no resentment for that mistake!!” – Bmonkey2000
“I have a six-year-old, and the absolute last thing in the world I would want is her in a room when I was giving birth. I love her, but she’s a chaos goblin who’d be fascinated by all the shiny medical stuff.”
“Everyone, except OP, is nuts. OP hasn’t ruined the birth of this child because… checks notes… the birth hasn’t happened yet. They just pointed out that, for the child, it might not be the warm fuzzy experience that the parents are wanting. This is perfectly reasonable.”
“I suspect, given their reaction, the parents are going to go ahead with their plan anyway and then be shocked when their existing child (whose potential feelings are less important than their Lion King moment apparently) is distressed and upset.”
“Also, if the family is aware of OP’s opinions on the subject, bringing the subject up in from of the couple was a really stupid thing to do. Honestly, what did they expect OP to say?”
“NTA.” – CriticalSimple3122
While everyone could sympathize with the traumatic experience the OP had when she was a child, watching her brother come into the world, they were divided over her decision to share that information with a couple she had just met.
Some believed that the OP was projecting her experience onto this other family and potentially taking away a possible birth plan that would work for them where it had not worked for her.
Others believed it morally good for the OP to share her experience to potentially save another child from a traumatic experience, and now that the expecting couple had all of the information in front of them, they could make a decision about a birthing plan that would be the best suited to them and their first child.