Two years ago, a mother lost her baby boy when she was seven months pregnant.
For anyone who has ever experienced such a tragic loss, there is no time limit on bereavement. Everyone responds to grief differently.
The mother and her husband dealt with their loss by acknowledging their deceased boy's first birthday with some angel food cake.
However, Redditor "Tiszatshi" resigned to focusing more on her other kids for the following year.
But just as she made peace with the decision on his second birthday, her sister-in-law wished the mother's stillborn son a "happy birthday" on Facebook without consulting her first.
The post consequently led to a heated confrontation between the two women.
"Two years ago I lost a baby, he was stillborn at 7 months."
"While my husband and I were devastated we've done our best to move forward."
This year, the parents both agreed to take a break from openly discussing their son on social media.
"So after the initial announcement on good old Facebook (at 7 months we had already announced the pregnancy), and an immediate family only funeral, we agreed it was better to not publicly talk about him anymore."
"On the the first anniversary of his delivery date we quietly celebrated with some angel food cake. This year we, my husband and I, agreed not to do that. We have other children and didn't want rehash bad memories for them, as they seemed to have moved on."
"For myself, this is true also. I guess we're just private people and don't want to share this part of our lives publicly."
Unfortunately, the Original Poster (OP) made a disappointing discovery online.
Her sister-in-law honored the deceased baby's second birthday with a public post on Facebook without the parent's consent.
"Cut to this year, when I see my SIL has made a public post saying: Happy Birthday (my sons name)!"
"It really hurt me because many people commented to ask who that is (she included crying emojis so that probably peaked their interest)."
"They went on to console her. She never even reached out to me that day to say anything like, I dunno, how are you or anything."
"Here's where I might be the a'hole: I sent her a text saying that she was inconsiderate and just looking for attention. That she's self centered and taking my grief to use as her own."
The sister-in-law argued that she had a valid reason for her public post.
"She said she lost a nephew and has a right to grieve too."
"My husband thinks she was inconsiderate but that I blew the whole thing out of proportion and should of just ignored her."
"I'm thinking I'm right, but maybe I'm a little jealous of the support she always seems to get."
"So AITA [Am I the A**hole]?"
Redditors agreed that the sister-in-law made a conscious decision to gain sympathy for a child that was never hers to begin with.
"[Not The A**hole] (NTA). She knew exactly what she was doing. Emojis? Come on."
"That is beyond inappropriate for a post about a dead child. The fact that she didn't say anything to you makes it clear this is not about grieving a shared loss, it's about gaining sympathy off the back of your tragedy. Gross."
"I'm very sorry for your loss." – jimmyjrdanceparty
"Definitely trying to steal the spotlight for herself. She had zero right to post anything without consent because it wasn't even her baby. I would have blown up too." – k_money55
"Yeah I agree that is just rude it is your son's life that she is piggybacking off of I mean that is just disgusting and she didn't even say anything to you about to." – thatonegamerplayFH4
This user called out the SIL's actions for what it was.
"Road to hell = good intentions. Doesn't matter if she did it deliberately or not, tacky is tacky."
"And if she's that deeply moved then why not console her SIL? She KNEW it was private. SHE KNEW and made it public anyway." – BrownBirdDiaries
Her failure to acknowledge the mistake spoke on many levels.
"The lack of apology when confronted I think says a lot about this."
"Even if I thought I hadn't done anything wrong, my first reaction would be to try and smooth things over (i.e. delete the post and apologise, and then if I felt it necessary, explain my side of the story i.e."
"I didn't know that you were using this strategy to cope, and I still feel sad thinking about it, I am sorry that what I did hurt you, I really wish none of this had happened... rather than argue..." – TryToDoGoodTA
This user reminded fellow Redditors that extended family members are still entitled to their despair.
"I lost a niece to SIDS when she was 4.5 months old. Because my sister was stationed in another country when this happened, none of our family had ever met my niece."
"We were all devastated anyway. Don't assume only the parents had a connection to that baby. My niece would be 22 or 23 now, and that's a huge loss for us." – WVUfan73
The SIL fits a certain stereotype.
"NTA. She's the woman who shows up to someone else's wedding in her old wedding dress." – MattLaneBreaker
Ignorance is bliss.
"And this right here is why I unfollow/unfriend certain family members."
"You can't really control what they post and the attention they feel the need to seek."
"But if it bothers you (which I completely understand), just avoid being able to look at their posts. At least you avoid getting upset or angry over them." – crownofpeperomia
These Redditors suggested the OP have a talk with her SIL.
"NTA, you have the right to feel however you want. I'm very sorry for your loss. My sister would be in her 30s now, but was stillborn, and I know some of how you feel as I choose not to talk about it either."
"Sounds like SIL wanted attention, but I would definitely tell her why you feel the way you do, and ask that she not make this a 'thing.'" – Tekwardo
"I'd explain that you are hurt by the fact that she didn't care enough to actually reach out to you and if her nephew really meant something to her, she would have at least reached out to his parents."
"The people he meant the most to. Instead, she posted on fb the #1 site to post for attention from acquaintances and fair weather friends." – ASBF2015
This user called ESH (Everybody Sucks Here) but asked to be heard and added that "grief is a tricky thing to navigate."
"ESH but hear me out."
"I have a cousin who had a stillbirth baby 'Nora' at 7 months old. She has a blog and has shared other blogs as well from grieving parents in the same situation."
"They all make the same suggestion; if someone close to you has lost a baby, it's important to still acknowledge that baby."
"My cousin uses her daughter's name when she can, she doesn't want people to forget. And most of what I've researched about how to help her grieve says to do the same."
"When her son was born, I said 'he has the red tint to his hair like Nora had!' And she thanked me for saying that. She said it's hurtful when people try to tiptoe around her loss and don't acknowledge Nora's life."
"It sounds like you don't take this approach to your loss at all, and that is 100% valid. My only thought is that your sister might not fully understand that."
"She sucks because she didn't ask. She didn't try to handle it how you preferred, which should be her main priority. There is a hierarchy of grief, and when it's a stillbirth, the mother is always at the top of that hierarchy."
"That being said, if she didn't understand how her post would make you feel, she may have thought she was honoring your baby's life by acknowledging it and I think you could have been more gentle in explaining to her why it was hurtful."
"If at that point she is not getting it, I think a call out is warranted. But I also think you should give a little bit of grace."
"Grief is a tricky thing to navigate, even if you're not on top of the hierarchy. So I guess my vote is ESH. She sucks more for not checking with YOU and for arguing when you called her out if that counts at all."
"But I do think your response could have been more gentle the first go around to avoid being a (lesser) a**hole." – pyperproblems
The OP took the suggestions to heart and acknowledged that "while my anger may be justified I could've responded better."
She plans to reach out to the sister-in-law and "explain without using accusations."
She did have one stipulation.
"If she doesn't respect what I have to say then I will distance myself from her."