My girlfriend had a miscarriage, I want my maternity gift back
A woman has sparked much debate this week after asking if it was okay to ask her friend to return a baby shower gift after she suffered a miscarriage.
The post, which has gone viral on a popular parenting forum, raises questions about gift etiquette, friendships and coping with traumatic experiences.
“It seems cruel, but I’d rather it go to someone else who can use it”
The post was shared on the Am I The A-hole forum and was captioned, “AITA For Asking Our Friend To Return A Baby Shower Gift After A Miscarriage?”
The woman immediately acknowledges that it “sounds awful” and she knows it’s probably “terrible to do”, but still wants to use the internet as a sounding board to check.
She wrote: “My husband has an old family friend called Jen. Jen and I aren’t friends at all, but we’re friendly when we see each other. When Jen had her first child, my husband bought a rather expensive item from her baby shower registry as a gift (about $200-$300). I had no problem with the gift or how much he spent, it was a nice item to gift her and we were excited for her to grow her family with her husband.
“Fast-forward a few years, Jen and her husband are making a lot of money and both earn more than six figures. Jen announced very early on that she was pregnant again and sent my husband her baby shower registry with her announcement text that was full of expensive items.
The poster admits she thought this was odd because their friend should still have most of the items from her first child and didn’t think people did full baby showers and registrations after their first.
She also said she was “surprised” that she was asking for gifts while still in the first trimester, “but maybe that’s because I’m a cautious person who didn’t announce my pregnancy until 20 weeks, which I know is extreme on the other side.”
Despite her thoughts on the subject, she left it to her husband to organize a gift that he thought was appropriate.
He ended up spending $400 because Jen is “like a cousin” to him, so he felt justified in buying an expensive gift.
A few weeks later, Jen suffered a traumatic miscarriage.
“I won’t go into details, but she was devastated and the cause of the loss probably means she won’t be able to carry any future pregnancies. It’s incredibly sad and while I’m not close to Jen, my heart aches for her,” the poster continued.
“It has been a few months since her loss and my husband and I are now unsure how to handle the gift. It’s not something she can use for her older child. Asking her to return the gift seems cruel, like adding a task to her grief and it’s probably past the return deadline anyway. I’m also not sure she’ll keep trying to have more kids and it seems incredibly insensitive to ask, and maybe she hasn’t made up her mind yet.
“Asking her to pay us back for it also seems very cruel. My husband and I are also pretty high earners, but $400 is still a lot of money. It’s one thing if she can use the item for a few years, that’s money well spent. But if it sits in a box in her attic for years… that’s where we get stuck.
So, would we be wrong if we asked if we could get the gift back? Ideally, we could get our money back, but if we can’t, I’d at least like to give it to someone else who could use it.”
“Sorry about your miscarriage, can I have my present back?”
When people took to the comments to voice their thoughts on the dilemma, most pointed out that once you give a gift, you can’t ask for it back, especially when someone has gone through something so traumatic.
The top comment, with 8.9k likes, read: “You’re the a**hole. It was a gift. It should not come with terms and conditions. You gave it away. It’s gone.”
“She just lost her baby and her fertility. Don’t kick someone when they’re down. When she’s ready, she’ll probably sell your gift and use the money for something else, hopefully something that brings her joy,” read another.
One person then suggested several things Jen could do with the gift, such as “donate it, gift it to a friend, turn it into a little shrine.” They added, “You just don’t know what she’s going to do with it and it’s none of your business.”
Then another person wrote, “You’ve decided to spend a lot of money on a gift, so you might give less in the future if you start to feel angry later on.” But DO NOT increase this woman’s pain so you can get your money back. That is monstrous.”
And another user stressed, “There’s no tactful way to ask for it back without coming across as petty and greedy, so just let it go.”
Others agreed it would be “the height of insensitivity and rudeness” to ask for it back.
Then someone summed up the woman’s post by saying sarcastically, “Sorry about your miscarriage, can I have my present back?”
It seems that a final judgment has been reached on this and the message is loud and clear. Doing not ask for that gift back!