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Childfree Woman Shamed By Friends For ‘Tuning Out’ Crying Baby At Restaurant While Eating

A baby crying in a restaurant.
Juanmonino/Getty Images

One would think that in this supposedly modern and progressive age we live in, having children would no longer be as black-and-white an issue as it once was.

Unfortunately, having children still seems to be a given to far too many people, who are shocked to the point of appalled at the very notion that someone might not want to have children.

Even worse, not only are these judgments made primarily at women, but more often than not by other women.

Redditor pupetteer was perfectly secure and content in her decision not to have children.

A choice that the original poster (OP)’s two closest friends, one expecting her first child, the other desperate to get pregnant, simply couldn’t fathom.

Indeed, at a recent dinner out, the OP’s friends even went so far as to label her “heartless” over her behavior around a child at a neighboring table.

Wondering if she had done anything wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for ignoring a crying baby (with it’s mother present) in a restaurant and continuing to enjoy my desert?”

The OP explained why her friends declared she was “heartless” after a recent dinner out:

“A few days back I was out for dinner with 2 friends.”

“Ann is pregnant currently (ca. 17 weeks), Kim is married for 3 years and currently desperately trying to get pregnant.”

“Because Ann is pregnant, Kim cannot stand the idea of not being pregnant yet and that is all she can think or talk about.”

“Though it doesn’t interest me much (as someone who doesn’t plan on ever having children), I happen to have developed a good tolerance for pregnancy/child related topics because all my friends are either pregnant or parents.”

“During dinner they spoke only about pregnancies and childbirth (where I was hoping to catch up on other topics).”

‘I couldn’t get them to talk about anything else, despite politely and subtly trying to change the topic several times.”

“But as I understand that these topics interest them more right now, I very politely contributed to the conversation where I could, otherwise I let them talk as they pleased.”

“A baby started crying in our vicinity and kept crying for a while even though the mother tried to calm it down.”

“It didn’t seem hurt in any way, it seemed to be a normal cry for a baby.”

“I noticed it start crying because it was loud and then didn’t notice it anymore.”

“I know it was crying because that’s what my friends kept talking about but I tuned it out and went back to savoring my desert.”

“The crying was like background noise to me.”

“But then my friends notice how I’m enjoying my desert and not contributing to their conversation about how sad they feel for the baby and how it’s making their heartache.”

“As in, they were having some sort of ‘physical reaction’ to the baby crying.”

“I tell them that I don’t hear the baby cry anymore.”

“They asked me if I had a hearing issue, so I explained how it was like background noise to me after the first 10 seconds.”

“Both of them looked at me in horror and pity.”

“Kim told me that it is good I don’t plan on having children because I’m heartless and that my baby would be unlucky to be my baby.”

“Ann said that she pities me that I’ll never know the feeling that they both had.”

“I laughed at their comments because I thought that Kim wasn’t very serious about her comment, and Ann is going through a few hormonal changes with her pregnancy and deserves some leniency regarding what she says to me.”

“But they both got mad at me.”

“According to them it wasn’t something to laugh about.”

“Neither of these comments bothered me at first, but after I posted about it yesterday, I received a lot of comments telling me that they are not good friends.”

“I argued in their favor because of their difficult situations.”

“They are emotionally having a tough time, but after what happened today, I’m not so sure anymore.”

“Kim texted me today saying that I need to start showing a little more concern towards crying children if I am to spend time with her future children.”

“When I asked her if my heart should ache everytime a strange child cried just because I have a uterus, she called me an a**hole.”

“So AITA for ignoring that crying child?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for ignoring the crying child at the restaurant.

Everyone agreed that not only did the OP do nothing wrong, but ignoring the crying child, who was in the care and protection of his mother, was the polite thing to do, with many others suggesting that the OP might want to find different friends.


“Lol Ignoring a STRANGER’S crying child does not make you a heartless monster.”

“What did Kim want you to do?”

“Walk over and try to help console a random kid that isn’t even yours?”

“Nah, that’s wild, dangerous and creepy.”- SebbyMorningstar

“The fact you even have to ask this is wild to me.”

“No you’re NTA.”

“Your friends seem really weird though.”- xnvius


“Your friends sort of suck, though.”- TiaraMisu


“Good grief, these two.”

“The baby’s mom was there so what were they upset about?”

‘It’s not like there was an abandoned baby screaming alone on the floor, it was a fussy baby who had a parent with it and didn’t seem in distress.”

“I’m a mother and hearing a baby cry doesn’t put me into a fit, or make my ‘heart ache’.”

“Babies cry and they are judging you for no reason.”

“Too bad because you sound like a very patient and understanding friend to sit and listen to them talk about themselves and babies and not even show interest in your life.”

“Might be time to drift apart a bit from these two.”- Hot_Box_4574

“So because you ignored the crying baby and didn’t engage in a conversation about how sad you feel for the baby (who is probably just tired or hungry) you’re a heartless person who doesn’t deserve to be a mother?”

“Get new friends.”

“NTA.”- Sorry-Thing7797

“NTA: For starters, just what are you supposed to do about the crying baby?”

“Rip him from his mother’s arms and try to soothe the baby yourself?”

“Perhaps the only thing different you could have said is that ‘the baby doesn’t seem to be hurt, and there’s nothing I can do to help’ and leave it at that.”

“But the real issue is that your girlfriends obviously have zero experience with actually dealing with a crying baby and have gone a bit over the top in their reactions to a bay.”

“I get that babies cries do indeed trigger women, and I mean physically.”

“For example, the sound of a crying baby can make a lactating woman suddenly start leaking milk from her breasts even if the baby is not theirs.”

“But in this case, your girlfriends are TA for going overboard in their reactions and concerns.”-LelandHeron


“Your friends are a**holes.”

“What were you supposed to do about someone else’s kid crying?”

“A stranger’s baby needs should not cause you heartache, that’s absurd.”- lihzee


“What were you supposed to do?”

“Start sobbing along with?”

“Go up to the mother and offer to rock the baby for her?”

“Curl up in a ball and cry ‘My dinner is ruined! I can’t enjoy life anymore because a child is crying!'”

“Call the manager over and demand that woman’s meal be comped?”

“You were good enough to understand your friends were affected, but you didn’t have to join in.”

“And their reaction to you was totally uncalled for.”- FuzzyMom2005


“Your friends sound both exhausting and full of themselves.”- Ok_Conversation9750


“I tend to tune out sounds that don’t matter to me also…keeps me from getting anxious or annoyed.”

“Since the baby isn’t yours and you have nothing to do with needing to call it down, it makes sense to ignore it.”

“No sense wasting energy when there is nothing you can do about it.”- Canuckistanian71


“Good grief.”

“I had a similar situation happen with a friend the other day over a pigeon that may or may not have been hurt and was sitting in the middle of the sidewalk.”

“Not everything that looks sad/bad/etc needs to be commented on and fussed over and made into a whole discussion.”

“The baby has it’s mother who has already attempted to soothe her child.”

“Is it sad that the baby is sad?”


“But it doesn’t mean you need to put your meal or your day on pause to talk about how bad you feel for the baby.”

“It sounds performative and exhausting to me, tbh.”- dingdang0810

It would be one thing if the OP were ignoring a child who was alone, lost, and scared or if she was ignoring the cries of her own child.

But that simply wasn’t the case, as she was, in fact, giving another mother dealing with a crying baby her distance.

If anyone at the OP’s table was being “heartless” in this situation, it definitely wasn’t the OP.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.