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Sister refuses to help brother with severely disabled niece, 'I said you couldn't handle this.'

Sister refuses to help brother with severely disabled niece, 'I said you couldn't handle this.'


"AITA for refusing to help my brother with my severely disabled niece."


My (F24) brother (32) and his wife were told early in their second pregnancy that the baby wasn't developing properly and would be severely disabled. My sister-in-law was heartbroken but she wanted to terminate. My brother spent a long time convincing her that the baby was God's will. I told him that he needed to consider how much work was involved in taking care of a baby with so many special needs.

My boyfriend is a pediatric nurse. He tells me horror stories. I said his wife was right. He said I was a terrible sister and aunt for saying those things. He got our parents involved and they told me to mind my own business. So the baby went to term. And she was born with deformations and disabilities. Sorry if I do not go further than that.

My brother was home for two weeks then he went back to work. My sister-in-law was basically responsible for that poor baby girl for the next six months. Plus my five year old nephew. She couldn't take it and she took their son and moved to her parents' house. My brother has been trying to get her to come home but she won't. My parents both work so they cannot help as much as they would like.

He asked me for help and it took everything I had not to say that it was God's will that he take care of his daughter since he wanted her to be born so badly. Instead I just said that I couldn't because I couldn't watch her and go to school.

He said that the help he was getting from the government and family was not enough and that he was going to lose his job. I apologized but I said I could not sacrifice my future for his decisions. He tried getting my parents to convince me but I told them that I had been informed by them that I should "stay out of it." And I was choosing to do so as I had been told.

My mom is having to take time off to help him and it is draining her. I had lunch with my sister-in-law yesterday and I asked her when she was going home. She said she wasn't sure she could handle that yet. I did not push.

My family thinks I am being an a**hole by putting my studies, which I pay for myself, are more important than my brother's job and marriage. I don't think I should sacrifice for someone who chose the life he got.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


NTA, but everyone else sucks.

The OP responded here:


So do I. But I don't think I have any responsibility here. Can you please tell me why you think I do? I am in no way questioning you judgement.


I re-read. Boyfriend is the nurse, not BIL. I don't think your SIL sucks... she knew this would be hard. Having a special needs child is probably one of the jardest things anyone would go through. Your brother, though, had the medical knowledge to know how hard it would be and is now complaining that he got what he wanted. I feel sorry for the baby as well.


If I were your SIL, I don’t know that I could ever come back. Your brother sounds controlling and manipulative. Yes, this is now a difficult situation and he can’t go it alone, but your SIL did not want to have this baby, was pressured into it, and is now being told she must be the primary caretaker.

I mean, no, she did not have to acquiesce to your brother, but I can see how that could feel like an impossible situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if your brother is regularly a poor partner to her given the info from this story.

I think you’re not in the wrong. You shouldn’t sacrifice for your brother. But if you have some time that isn’t sacrificial and at a cost to you, maybe consider grace. However, if it seems like a “give an inch and he’ll take a mile”, I would be very wary.


NTA. Your brother wanted the baby, his wife didn’t. He knew that the baby would need a lot of care and attention, expected his wife to cope somehow and didn’t care that this would also be to the detriment of their older son. I expect he worked long hours, never took over care so his wife could have some “me time” or even just concentrate on their son for a few hours.

Now she has walked out meaning that he is responsible for the baby he wanted to keep and is finding out just how hard it is. He built his bed, so he must lie on it. Don’t neglect your future so that his is easier.

So, do you think the OP is right to not help her brother take care of his disabled daughter?

Sources: Reddit
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