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Mom Refused To Spend Christmas With Teen Daughter In Hospital — And Wonders If She Did The Right Thing

Photo: Stephen Andrews via Unsplash / Zivica Kerkez and IgorAleks via Shutterstock
worried woman, hand in hospital bed

A woman is being accused of "abandoning" her 16-year-old daughter after she refused to spend Christmas with her in the hospital.

Posting to the "r/AmITheA--hole" (AITA) subReddit, a Reddit forum where people seek input into whether they were in the wrong in a conflict, she explained her decision.

The mother explained her decision to leave her daughter in the hospital alone on Christmas.

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In her Reddit post, she explained that her daughter has had a "sensitive stomach" since she was a small child and that certain foods cause her to throw up for hours.

Doctors have been unable to diagnose her, and have recommended instead that she identify all "trigger foods" and avoid them entirely.

The woman said she and her daughter have identified most of her triggers, which include "soda...chips, cheetos...processed snacks, anything oily or fried and most sweets."

But like most of us, those foods are "exacty the kind of stuff my daughter loves to eat the most."

She says her daughter eating these foods "always ends with her in the ER, crying and shaking because she can't stop throwing up."

But despite how violently ill they make her, her daughter "refuses to cut them out of her diet, which...led to her spending a lot of time in the hospital during the past few years."

On Christmas Eve, her daughter "chose to eat nothing but her trigger foods."

Such was the case on Christmas Eve, despite their feast including "a variety of home-cooked, traditional dishes...with ingredients that don't upset her stomach" and that her daughter loves. 

As any mother would, the mother reminded her daughter that "they'd make her feel awful, but she said she didn't care, because Christmas is only once a year."

You can probably guess what happened next — she began "violently throwing up in the ER a few hours later" and even had to be hospitalized for a few days.

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The woman chose to stay with her family celebrating Christmas, and not at the hospital with her daughter.

She wrote that "unlike all the previous times when something like this happened," she decided to keep in touch by phone but "made it clear that I would not be visiting her during her stay."

She says she "chose to spend my Christmas relaxing at home with the rest of our family, and not in the hospital by my daughter's side."

But even though her daughter brought this on herself, the Redditor says she "didn't take this too well."

She said her daughter cried every time we talked on the phone, begged me to come over, told me how horrible I was for 'abandoning' her there all alone."

Her family took her daughter's side too, telling her she was "everything from 'a little extreme' to downright cruel and heartless."

The people of Reddit, however, mostly sided with the mom.

One Redditor wrote, "she's 16 and...smart enough...to know better. As clichè as the saying is... Play stupid games, win stupid prizes."

Another applauded the mom for "dishing out a little tough love in the most appropriate way."

Another, who herself struggles with chronic stomach disease, agreed the daughter "is old enough to be able to manage that and weigh the consequences of what she’s doing."

And one user said that they initially thought the mom was way out of line, but after getting the whole story felt that the daughter's "misery is very much self-inflicted."

They went on to say, "she needs to learn that just because she wants to 'live a little' and make herself ill doesn't mean everyone needs to drop everything to console her."

Several wondered, however, if there might not be something else at play in the story.

After all, it's not exactly normal behavior to deliberately make yourself violently ill, and many users suggested the mom get her daughter into therapy.

As one put it, "repeatedly engaging in self-destructive behaviors that hurt you enough to land you in the hospital is something that definitely bears looking into with a professional."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.