Woman Backed for Telling Daughter-in-Law About Son's Tragic Past: 'Shocked'

A woman has been criticized for revealing to her daughter-in-law that her son had a baby in a previous relationship who tragically died.

According to the mother-in-law, writing in a post shared to Reddit under the handle u/Low-Buy-7112, her son was left furious, telling her she had "no right" to tell his wife and "it was almost nine years ago and didn't need to be brought up."

But while he was left apoplectic at his mom's admission, many online felt it was important for him to be open in telling his partner about his tragic past.

People deal with grief in different ways. While some prefer to be open in discussing the painful loss of a loved one, others would rather move on with their lives. Not out of disrespect, but rather because the pain associated with it can be too much to bear.

A couple looking unhappy over dinner.
Stock image of a couple looking unhappy over dinner - an expectant dad has come under fire after it emerged he had been withholding information about a previous family tragedy. KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty

The loss of a child may well fall into that category. In a 2003 study, researchers from University of Washington found close to 70 percent of parents who lost a child found it took between three to four years to put their deaths into perspective and continue with their own lives.

The man at the center of this particular online debate, Jason, has been doing exactly that.

According to a Reddit post written by a user claiming to be his mom, Jason married his partner of two years, Amelia, seven months ago and they are now expecting their first child together.

The dispute arose when his mom told Amelia that "this is technically Jason's second child." She said her comment left Amelia "very confused" and she asked her to elaborate. Her mom-in-law went on to explain how, when Jason was 18, he ended up getting his girlfriend Jenna pregnant.

Though they broke up, Jenna went on to give birth to a baby boy. Tragically, when her grandson was just 2 years old, he and Jenna were hit by "a drunk driver." "Jenna is handicapped and is being taken care of in a home, but my grandson didn't make it," she told her.

The revelations left Amelia "shocked," with her mother-in-law equally surprised. "I thought Jason would have told her, I was shocked he didn't," she wrote. Now Amelia wants to visit Jenna and see the grave of Jason's young son.

It's a situation that has left Jason furious. According to his mom, he called her up "fuming and cursing" at her for telling Amelia what happened.

Reflecting on the dispute, Amy Morin, editor-in-chief of Verywell Mind, told Newsweek: "Everyone grieves differently. And some people work hard to avoid going through the pain associated with grief. They may spend years distracting themselves from painful feelings. Grief, however, is the process by which we heal. And it's important to work through a lot of painful feelings, like sadness, anger, regret, and anxiety."

Morin, who is a licensed psychotherapist, said: "In families, people often grieve and at different paces and in different ways. That can lead to conflict as family members might be confused or hurt by one another's actions. When family members can talk openly with one another about their grief and pain, it often facilitates healing for everyone. But, sometimes people are uncomfortable bringing up a loved one who is no longer here for fear of causing someone to feel sad. Avoiding the subject over a long period of time, however, often prolongs the pain and leads to increased confusion."

Most commenting on social media felt the mother-in-law had done little wrong in mentioning her late grandson to Amelia. Far-Juggernaut888 said: "You had no idea that she wasn't aware. Your little grandson should not be forgotten and his memory should be kept alive."

Thaliagorgon agreed, writing: "I would have assumed she already knew too. Unless he told you he wasn't telling her or didn't want her to know why would you think she didn't?"

SkyReveal6 was similarly confused, commenting: "How would you have known he would keep your grandson a secret? This was your grandson and you acknowledged his existence."

Newsweek reached out to u/Low-Buy-7112 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

If you have a family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.