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'AITA for 'taking up all the attention' at my SIL's baby shower?'

'AITA for 'taking up all the attention' at my SIL's baby shower?'


No one wants to be a rude guest, but people define "rude" in divergent ways.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for "taking up all the attention" art her SIL's baby shower. She wrote:

"AITA for 'taking up all the attention' at my SIL's baby shower?"

I (33F) am an OB/GYN and I've been travelling around different parts of the world on missions with MSF. Long story short, I hadn't been home in 15 months. (For some context, I decided to join due to a depressive episode after my ex-girlfriend broke up with me but I ended up loving it and I just kept going on missions for 15 months. My ex-girlfriend is a good friend of my sister in law, Penny.)

I decided to take some time off and come back for a while before deciding on what's next for me. I returned 2 weeks ago. My brother (I'll call him Harry - 34M) and his wife (Penny - 28F) are expecting their first child. They had scheduled a baby shower for yesterday, and obviously Penny invited me.

Family members and some of Harry's old friends and were asking me questions about different missions ans why I left for charity while I could earn a fortune here, was it hard being a woman in those areas etc. I gave them short answers but they asked more questions.

Penny subtly asked for me to talk one-on-one in the middle of the party. She told me I was monopolizing everyone's attention and taking up everyone's time and no one was paying attention to the purpose of this gathering due to my being there. I apologized and asked her if she wanted me to leave. She said I had been enough of a distraction, and told me to please leave early.

I left about half an hour after this talk. So far everything's good. The next day Harry called me and told me I had been a rude guest the day before, because I had ruined their first child's baby shower. He said I should have kept quiet or at the very least left the party the moment Penny asked me to. Was I TA?

People had a lot to say in response.

Pastsignificant365 wrote:

Fellow medical professional, NTA. You responded to inquiries about your work and travels, and kept the responses nice and light. To chastise you because they didn’t expect anyone to discuss anything other than the “parents to be” is wrong. Others enjoying your company should not diminish their celebration. If they were bothered by your presence, it’s something they need to address internally.

P.S. I did mission trips to Guatemala and Peru and had amazing experiences. Thank you for working with underserved communities! ❤️

VeronicaSawyer8 wrote:

NTA. Boy this must have been a very boring baby shower if your mere presence and conversation about work was enough to distract the guests. It's not like you were juggling monkeys while standing on your head. You were answering questions.

TemptingPenguin369 wrote

NTA. I mean, all you did was travel around the world providing much-needed medical care to those in need, and your SIL is the first person in history to have reproduced, so I can't believe people thought what you did was even worth discussing! /s

SunshineShoulders87 wrote:

It’s appalling to me that anyone would demand that their guest leave early because they were answering questions asked from other guests… and THEN to get upset that they didn’t leave immediately.

Unless you’d gotten out the projector or photo album to show photos of your time away or kept changing the subject back to your trip and professional experience, you weren’t doing anything wrong.

How incredibly rude of them. NTA Additionally, I sure hope no other guest mentioned anything about their personal/professional lives while there. Heaven forbid someone forget about Penny for a second.

misoranomegami wrote:

Honestly I wish I had had OP at my baby shower. It was a large mixed family and friends one and I spent the whole time running between tables trying to talk to everyone, introduce people, try to make sure the people who didn't really know anybody else there got matched with people or groups they'd have things in common with. I barely had time to actually catch up with anybody.

I'd have loved to have someone that could keep a conversation going. Trust me it's way worse to look over and realize that there's a group of people just sitting there staring at each other in silence.

EffPop wrote:

I can appreciate that the parents wanted their living representation of their ability to copulate effectively to be the centre of attention but…you’re out there doing something and people are interested! Is this a version of the stories we read about self-centred brides and/or grooms but with crotch spawn? This is bonkers. NTA.

aledethanlast wrote:

NTA. I'd point out to your brother that if you'd left the party the literal second Penny had told you to, the whole room would've asked what happened, at which point they would've either had to spin a story (believability and dignity of all parties may very) or tell the truth and look like self absorbed idiots who seem to think the Queen of Hearts was onto something.

Tucker_Max_69 wrote:

NTA. Penny and Harry are destined to be helicopter parents that freak out when all attention isn’t on their perfect child. They are probably already hanging a “participant” award on the nursery wall for his/her attendance at the shower. No way you could or should have handled that differently.

Ms_Meercat wrote:

ESH. I used to be on mission, too, and when the topic comes up people do get very interested so I get that. Good that you tried to keep the answers short, but I'd have also redirected the conversation actively by directing questions to SIL, or offering to get more drinks, or excusing myself to the toilet, or say "hey what about those games" etc. Plus, you could have left sooner after she asked you.

Your brother and SIL suck because a) they should have more tolerance for the fact that people asked you questions and that they wouldn't be the center of attention 120%, and b) because they already spoke to you in the moment, you left, presumably it was clear that they were upset and the moment has gone. No need to rub it in after and escalate.

Also, one thing to keep in mind going forward: Presumably your SIL doesn't know you too well, so in your absence you may have become a bit of an annoyance not by your own faults.

This is total speculation but - I now get along really well with my SIL, but I've lived abroad for years and when my brother and her started dating, she started wondering how much of an a-hole I may be because my parents wouldn't shut up about "oh how wonderful Ms_Meercat, she has this degree, and does this work, and speaks these languages etc."

Maybe the family has been talking like this about you while you were gone (it happens in my experience when you do this kind of work, people put you a bit on a pedestal). This may have been compounded by talking to your ex as well (often after a breakup we do need to talk negatively about our ex's as part of the distancing process).

And then your SIL has HER baby shower and it feels like this just keeps going on, on a day that is about celebrating her. Also, she probably feels generally fragile right now (hormones, first baby, uncertainty about the future, anxieties of a first time mom, weight gain etc etc).

Clearly, the internet agrees that OP is NTA here.

Sources: Reddit
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