The youngest of three sisters is overcome with a range of emotions as she processes devastating family news.
Redditor "wildhydrangea" has an older sister, named "Kate," who is infertile.
When the middle sister, "Ava," was diagnosed with cancer, it devastated all but one member of the family—Kate.
The Original Poster (OP) asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for "going off" on Kate, who said her issue was the same (or worse) than the sister who is fighting for her life.
"My eldest sister is 30 (I'll call her Kate) and my middle sister is 25 (I'll call her Ava). I am 23."
"My middle sister and I are closer because my eldest sister is generally uptight, a bit of a narcissist, and thinks she's more important because she's the oldest."
"This is how it's always been, even before any health issues."
"Kate, over the two years, has been trying to have a baby and has fertility issues. My family has been very supportive, and has made sure to not talk about this person and that person getting pregnant, and when we watch tv we don't watch like, shows that involve birthing."
The OP didn't mince words when she described the toll Kate's issues took on her psyche.
"Because the truth is, these issues have turned Kate into an absolute lunatic."
"Which I understand, because it's a sad, frustrating and depressing experience, and I empathize with her and always have."
But her sympathy for Kate all but dissipated when things got personal.
"But one time, she completely snapped at me when she overheard me telling my mother my weekend plans that involved babysitting. 'I don't want to hear about people's children!'"
Then came the grievous news about Ava, the sibling with whom the OP is closest.
"Anyway. About six months ago Ava was diagnosed with cancer. It's not a cancer that has a good 5 year outcome. We would be very lucky that she makes it to the 5 year survival mark."
"It's been extremely devastating for my family, and she is not dealing with it well. Mentally, and also physically. I've had the worst few months of my life, watching my best friend become a shell of herself."
Meanwhile, Kate appeared to remain caught up in her own struggle.
"I've noticed things from Kate that I've ignored, but it's gotten to the point where she's not even trying to hide the fact that she's annoyed at our sister struggling with cancer."
"When my family and Ava are in a deep discussion about chemo or something else related, I've caught Kate rolling her eyes."
"She's butted in the conversation and tried to take it over with stuff about her and her husband, and fertility. Among other things."
Something Kate said upset Ava, and the youngest sibling did her best to console her.
"Then yesterday, I caught Ava in a really sad mood and I asked her what was wrong. She tears up and tells me that Kate would probably choose to end her life if it meant she could create one if she had the chance, and she feels like she isn't going to care at all when she dies."
"I told her that wasn't true and tried to comfort her."
It was time for a confrontation and the OP was shocked.
"Then I was fed up. I tried to start a conversation with Kate and tell her that she's been insensitive towards Ava, who is literally battling for her life."
"She then becomes snarky, says that 'other people have serious health issues too, Ava isn't the only one. It's typical you guys focus on her and don't even take me into consideration' which made me go off and say that I don't think not being able to get pregnant easily is the same thing as having cancer, that will more than likely end your life."
"And I don't. I don't think it's on the same level, sorry. She can adopt if she is totally unsuccessful, and her and her husband are open to that option as well. Now she's started this huge ordeal, acting as though I'm the devil incarnate. Was I wrong?!
Redditors weighed in to decide if the OP was any of the following:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
Redditors across the board agreed that comparing afflictions is a contest no one wants to participate in.
"NTA. She's turning this into some kind of messed up competition. It's already fairly psychotic of her to ban everybody in her life from even speaking of children in her presence."
"Then, to get (what seems to be) jealous of the attention her sister gets when she finds out she has cancer? What a sh**ty sister. No, what a sh**ty person."
"Cancer and infertility are absolutely NOT on the same level. With infertility, you can't create life. With cancer, you lose your life." – paranoidandroidr
Even this person suffering from infertility disagreed with how Kate behaved.
"I'm dealing with infertility and I have never banned talk of children, and my family (aside from me apparently) has 0 problem getting pregnant. This is entitled behaviour to the extreme."
"No, infertility is nowhere near the same level as cancer ffs. OP, stop giving in to this entitled, spoiled behavior. My sympathies to your other sister. NTA." – AerwynFlynn
"Exactly what I was going to say."
"I also dealt with infertility which was surprising considering that my whole family is fertile af. I never once made anyone avoid talking about other people being pregnant and what not." – wearenotthemillers
People had very low expectations with the elder sister as a potential mother.
The parents were criticized for setting a "bad precedent."
"Yes. Abso-freaking-lutely. She is a sh*t sister and human, she'd be an even worse mother. The poor baby would have SO many issues."
"Ugh can you imagine her attitude if she WERE to get pregnant right now? She'd be shoving her 'creating new life' in everyone's faces in the middle of everything and getting mad at them for focusing on the DYING sister instead of celebrating her success w/ it." – GingerNerd87
"The family has already set a bad precedent by literally ignoring a part of reality (children and other people having them) in order to not upset the oldest sister...how is that not going to end badly?"
"As you have pointed out, are the other two sisters banned from having children until the oldest sister has one?"
"That kind of situation (for any children born to the younger sisters) would truly be the stuff of childhood nightmares. I'm thinking of how the oldest sisters would be treated vs the youngest sisters' children."
"The oldest sister's classic narcissistic behavior is one thing but the absolute lack of empathy for her own sister of all people verges on the sociopathic." – RememberTaeko3
Suffering from a condition does not absolve someone from being an a**hole this Redditor who experienced both issues pointed out.
"I went through both....I had a rare cancer and now as a result of treatment I have fertility issues and both can feel like the end of the world and mess you up really bad."
"But Kate needs a reality check here, not being able to get pregnant can absorb your whole thinking but that is no excuse for being an a**hole to your dying sister. Kate is a giant AH here." – somanyquestiones
"NTA- OP sorry about your sister, as someone whose had to deal with cancer & the roller-coaster journey of emotions your family is dealing with i truly feel your pain."
"As for 'Kate' even tho she's the oldest she's acting like a spoiled child who doesn't get enough attention."
"Infertility can affect people in many ways but there's other opportunities & options to having a baby but with cancer it physically, mentally and emotionally destroyers peoples life's."
"Cancer is one of those things no family wants to go through & Kate complaining she's not getting the same support as her younger sibling who's fighting for her life is beyond selfish its down right disgusting."
"NTA & glad you spoke up & enjoy the time you have because every moment counts." – 20MLSE20
Anyone suffering from infertility does deserve empathy.
The family is already enduring enough challenges, but having cancer is not a contest. It's always best not to compare suffering.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*
The book Infreakinfertility: How to Survive When Getting Pregnant Gets Hard is available here.