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'AITA for ignoring a crying baby in a restaurant and continuing to enjoy my desert?'

'AITA for ignoring a crying baby in a restaurant and continuing to enjoy my desert?'

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We all respond differently to the chaos of public life. Generally, that shouldn't be a dealbreaker with friends, but there are times when it is.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was insensitive for ignoring a crying baby while out with her friends. She wrote:

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

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 every time a strange child cried just because I have a uterus, she called me an AH. So AITA for ignoring that crying child?

The internet did not hold back their thoughts on the situation.

xnvius wrote:

The fact you even have to ask this is wild to me. no you’re NTA, your friends seem really weird though.

OP responded:

I‘m childfree. I have never wanted children. In the past few years I have lost a few friends to parenthood. And when they tried to exclude me from the friend-group-activities because of my childfree-status these 2 friends always had my back. To have them say these things to me is new. So I thought I’ll check if I’m wrong in any way.

Sebbymorningstar wrote:

NTA 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.

OP responded:

All she did was sit there, make sad faces at the baby and comment how it made her heart ache. Apparently, I should have done the same. 🙄

DaffodilsInSpring0o wrote:

NTA. Before I had children, I was exactly like this. A crying child was like oh that's sad. Okay, go on with my day. I didn't dwell on it. Once you have kids , though, those feelings change, maybe not for a random child crying, you still notice it, and you'll give the mother a reassuring glance, like I've been there. You're doing good.

But for your own child it's wild how in tune you'll become without even trying. I wake up every night 30 seconds to a minute before my youngest baby starts rustling and wakes up to be fed. Without fail every night like you sense it in your sleep.

If you never plan on having children, you'll never have this weird parent connection that parents (more so mothers) seem to get. And that's perfectly fine. That doesn't make you a bad person or give your friends the right to shame you.

You and your friends are on somewhat different paths, and that's perfectly fine. This also doesn't make any less capable of being around children. Your friends indicating you can't be around a child because you aren't pained by a crying child is absurd. If this is what makes you a bad person, get new friends. This is insanity. NTA.

OP responded:

I have been slowly but steadily losing friends to ‘parenthood’. They all have a moms-group chat (where I’m obviously not included) and mostly talk on there. So what I do hear is mostly late news in passing. And I have come to terms with it. It’s not a lifestyle I want for myself.

These were the last 2 friends of the group that are yet to join the parent-club. And I was excited for them to join this new phase in life and be a fun aunt. But now that they have started saying things like this, I guess it’s time to walk out silently.

TiaraMisu wrote:

NTA your friends sort of suck, though.

OP responded:

I was advocating for them until yesterday. Because I really felt that I was missing some piece of understanding because of my childfree-status. Now after having so many strangers tell me otherwise, I’m starting to wonder if I should send them a link to this post or silently walk out of their lives.

In another comment, OP laid out the scene once more.

We got our deserts somewhere around when the kid had been crying for a minute or so I guess. They both had been looking over at the kid and the mother, making sorry faces and talking about why the kid could be crying, how it was making their heart ache and then went on to soothing techniques in some book. I had nothing to contribute so I decided to focus on my tiramisu.

There was a pause in their conversation, it seemed like it was over so I commented on how good the tiramisu was as they had not touched their deserts yet. This seemed to strike a nerve of some sort and they asked me why I had completely ignored the crying child. I explained to them that it was background noise to me, assured them it’s not a hearing issue and that I wasn’t bothered by the crying child.

I wasn’t mean, rude or condescending. I just stated the fact that i tune out crying babies in public places. They told me about this “physical reaction” they were having to the crying baby and that if I wasn’t having it too, I was heartless.

And it’s good I’m not planning on having kids because “heartless OP” will ignore her crying children too and they be super unlucky to have me as a mother. But she said it with a little bit of a laugh, so I thought that she was joking, and I laughed out loud too (it’s not that offensive if you don’t want children anyways). Apparently it wasn’t funny to them. And then I get this text today.

PurrestedDevelopment responded:

"And it’s good I’m not planning on having kids because “heartless OP” will ignore her crying children too and they be super unlucky to have me as a mother" This is a batsh*t crazy and hurtful thing to say.

It's also not at all true. You ignoring the sounds of another child who is NOT in any distress other than just the stress of being alive as a baby is not an indicator of how you would respond to a child that is in your care. And if they think that then wow.

You literally did the healthiest and most normal thing to do in that situation which is "hey is child in danger? Does parent have it covered? Cool gonna mind my own business now" Please find some new friends.

lihzee wrote:

NTA. Your friends are AHs. 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.

Sources: Reddit
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