To think my friend is being ridiculous?(473 Posts)
I’m 15 weeks pregnant.
Was at a party last night and chatting to friends and was asked if I wanted a boy or girl. Replied that I didn’t mind as long as it was healthy. Carried on the night having a laugh and joke as we usually do.
Woke up this morning to a massive long email from one of the friends husbands, the jist of it saying I’m hugely insensitive and have really upset my friend who has been in tears all night, as by saying that I only want a healthy baby invalidates their daughters (who had cerebral palsy) life, that I owe them a ‘big big apology’ and that they don’t think they can be friends with someone with my attitude towards disability.
I’m struggling to see what I did wrong here. Surely everyone wishes for a healthy baby?
I don’t know whether to reply or just leave it as 1) I don’t think I have to explain myself and 2)if such a casual comment, one I’m sure everyone has possibly thought, can upset her then surely anything else I have to say could go the same way.
Is there something I’m missing? Was I in the wrong?
Yanbu at all, I would reply something like
"Firstly I owe nobody a big big apology and I won't be issuing one. I was asked a question and gave a fairly standard answer. There is nothing wrong with wanting a healthy baby, everybody wants health and happiness for everyone that they love, if they don't get it then of course you love that person irrespective of their disability but it is absolutely fine to want the very best, including health, for your children. I won't be issuing an apology"
I think he is a cheeky fucker and stirring shit
Saying they don’t think they can be friends with you because of your attitude is totally OTT and ridiculous.
You said what everyone in their right mind thinks. Who doesn't want their child to be fit and healthy? I completely agree that their reaction is over sensitive and completely disproportionate. I wouldn't want friends who think the world should walk on eggshells to avoid upsetting them.
Whilst I can understand that your friend might have felt rather sad after your comment, for her DH to then contact you about it and request an apology is outrageous! I wonder if your friend knows he has contacted you? I suspect she was tearful last night and he just wanted to 'do something about it' so contacted you.
He is in the wrong, not you, OP.
YANBU. Surely to goodness everyone hopes/wishes for a healthy baby. That’s not what everyone gets but it’s not hard to understand that’s the aim!
I say this as a parent to a child born with disabilities/defects. I say exactly the same thing to people who are pregnant - ‘as long as it’s healthy/I just hope it’s healthy’ etc. How difficult is this to understand? I find it amazing anyone could take offence at that.
you were not unreasonable to say it in general, people do, but I think you were unreasonable to say it to her, if you knew
I would apologise
I would say that you would not love a baby less should he/she be born with an illness / disability; you just do not wish for that to happen - hence hoping for health. Apologise for their offence taken, but just clear up the misunderstanding.
I get what they mean, but what a stretch. If I was close to them and loved them I would apologise but I sort of see it as pandering. Are they going to spend the rest of their lives demanding apologies from people who innocently misspoke?
I have a child with Cerebral Palsy & when asked during my second pregnancy, what do you want, I replied "a healthy baby". It's a fairly standard reply to that question and in no way implies that I don't love or value my first child or any other disabled child/adult. Your friend was being very over sensitive, possibly because it's still early days for her with regard to having a disabled child? Parents of disabled children need to grow a thick skin in my experience, although this does take time and in the early years it's easy to misconstrue what people are saying. Please don't beat yourself up about this and if you do reply to the email, be assertive in a gentle manner. I wish you a healthy, happy baby!
Eeek, I think that's just an unfortunate situation. You gave a standard response, they're understandably very sensitive about it, they've over reacted massively, but you can kind of see, even if you don't agree with why.
If this were me, even if I didn't agree with the over reaction then I'd try to keep the peace and text something like 'I'm really sorry to have upset you, that absolutely wasn't my intention and I'm sorry if it cake across that way' There can't really be any winners here but no point making a tricky situation worse.
I have a mild variant of CP. I'm disgustingly fucking healthy, thank you very much. Having CP doesn't preclude "being healthy".
If the friend is really that sensitive, maybe she shouldn't ask people a question that has garnered the same bland, predictable response from women for hundreds of years (probably)?
As for this
and that they don’t think they can be friends with someone with my attitude towards disability.
Seems to me that they are the ones who have an "attitude" towards disability.
If you're really concerned about saving the friendship, I'd be inclined to offer an apology-of-sorts, you're sorry she's upset, that wasn't your intention etc, etc.
But if they're this touchy, I think it's only a matter of time before they lose you as a friend anyway - you and countless others.
I can see where they are coming from, but think that they are massively overreacting. A little word from your friend would have been better: now they've blown it up into a 'How can we still be friends with you?' argument. I have a DS with severe learning difficulties, and if someone said what you said in front of me I wouldn't have thought anything of it, and certainly wouldn't be accusing a friend of being prejudiced against disabled people! It's up to you how you react to their accusation, but it would certainly leave a bad taste in my mouth if I were you: they are supposed to be your friends and they think this badly of you?
Yanbu. Total overreaction.
What are you supposed to say? It's a standard response
Take no notice, you have done nothing wrong.
If it came across that way, nothing to do with cake! 🙄
Their child’s ill health is not your fault.
You wishing for a healthy baby did not cause their problems.
They are being ridiculous to email you for expressing your honest answer to a question.
Did they really expect you to say I don’t mind what I have and if it has cerebral palsy that’s just a bonus!
Don’t make their problems your own, you were asked what you wanted, you answered. If they want to be rude and arsey, that’s their choice, but for me their attitude would be enough to put an end to the friendship.
They shouldn’t have emailed you, that was rude and uncalled for. You answered honestly.
It was a stupid thing to say to her and you should definitely apologise. Yes its a standard answer but you know their daughter is disabled and should have thought before you spoke. Not unreasonable in every situation but in this one yabu.
I see why the friend was upset but had I been in their shoes I’d have felt sad but realised what you said wasn’t a slight or intended to hurt, it’s just a stock response.
The fact that they have felt the need to let you know how upset your friend has been suggests you won’t get anywhere by responding. Your friend her husband are obviously feeling super sensitive. If you do want to say something I’d go down the route of, “I’m really sorry you feel upset. I gave you a standard/mundane response to the question you asked. I didn’t think it would upset you but as I clearly did, I am sorry.”
I’d leave it at that and see what they come back with. I actually feel for them but they have to realise that what you said wasn’t meant to hurt. Btw I used your response every time people asked me what I wanted when I was pregnant. It’s a bloody stupid question.
Well, now you know you have a friend who is not coping with the very day realities of parenting a disabled child. You also know that her husband is fiercely protective of his wife and child.
You didn't say anything wrong. They have overreacted but have understandable reasons to have done so.
All of which leaves you with a choice:
1. Be right... don't apologise.
2. Apologise for having been thoughtless
Whichever choice you make you will need to step back from them. You have popped your head above their parapet. It isn't unlikely that anything you do now won't change their minds and you will always be 'that woman'. Sadly, when your child is born healthy they may also see that as a personal judgment on them and their child.
So, for your own sake as well as theirs, take a step back and let them approach you in the future. I'd also explain to your friendship group that whilst you feel awful for having offended them, you really don't want to have to apologise for hoping your own child is healthy!
I would try and be the bigger person and not point out how utterly OTT and ridiculous their reaction is but I'd not fall over myself apologising either - it sounds like they're already poised to cut you out anyway.
It was just a throwaway comment and not intended to offend. I would imagine most expectant parents wish for their baby to be healthy and this in no way means anything derogatory to those with disabilities.
I'm sorry if my comment offended you and hope we can move on from this.
It seems a little bit of an over-reaction on their part and, if they know you properly, they must know you would never be offensive about their child. But understandably they may be quite sensitive about comments like that. I would go with a simple apology- "sorry, my reply was never meant to be interpreted that way, I certainly would never devalue the life of any child". Then leave it up to them. I wouldn't grovel or feel bad about yourself because many people would have replied in the same way.
Nocabbageinmyeye - well said. He is just stirring. You are pregnant and she makes a throwaway comment all about her? sorry but it's an overreaction. If I had a quid for every time someone said that to me when pregnant, I'd be in Venice for the summer, with a built in babysitter. YANBU
They have been very oversensitive, to the extent that they seem to have believed your comment was almost directed at their circumstances, which it obviously wasn't. I think perhaps you could have been nore thoughtful with your word choices, simply because your friend was there but you also shouldn't feel bad about it and certainly don't owe them a big, big apology. I would reply to say that you did not intend to cause any hurt or offence, that of course you hope your baby will be healthy because everyone does but that that doesn't mean you would love or value him or her any less if they were born with a disability. I would say that you are hurt and confused yourself that she could believe you to be anti-disability, that you wish nothing but the very best for her and her DDs and that you would hope that they wish the same for you.
They are being fucking ridiculous, but hey, people are sometimes. If you want to remain friends with them then I’d probably give them a mild apology “I’m sorry about your little girl / boy. Of course I’d love any baby I had, healthy or otherwise. I hope you’re feeling better this morning”
If you don’t want to be friends anymore then I’d probably just ignore.
What a bloody palaver though. My friends say things all the time that make me bristle a bit but I don’t start issuing bloody ultimatums to them because they’re my friends.
If you knew that the person asking had a disabled child, then your answer could be taken as a very pointed comment about their child. I'm sure you didn't intend it as such, but I can see why it might hurt them. In that circumstance, I would apologise.
If you didn't know that they had a disabled child, or if the parents weren't the ones you asked, and just happened to overhear your comment to someone else, then I think they're over-reacting.
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