Piercing an infant’s ears is a hot topic among parents. There’s the cultural piece, where it’s custom for some families to pierce their baby’s ears when they’re infants. And others find it to be completely inappropriate because of the lack of consent of the child and view body modification without consent mutilation and assault. While there’s very vocal extremes on either side of the argument, this poor mom was put in a terrible situation by her mother-in-law when it came to piercing her infant’s ears. Not only did she not have consent from the baby of course, but she also did not have consent from the baby’s parents.
This mom with a 6-month-old daughter shared her story on the AITA Reddit thread, about how her mother-in-law took their baby to get her ears pierced without their permission, and after knowing they did not want this for their baby, she did it anyway.
Prior to this infraction, the mom shared, “I made it clear that I would not be doing that, and that I’d be waiting until she’s old enough to ask for it herself.”
She included in her post that in her husband’s side of the family’s culture, it’s not uncommon to pierce baby girls’ ears, and that her mother-in-law had been pestering them about it since a few days after her baby was born. When mom went to pick up her daughter from her mother-in-law’s house, she found her baby’s ears pierced and crying in pain, so she took her to the doctor to get advice on whether or not she should remove them. The pediatrician did remove the piercings because “they were clearly bothering her.”
Now the part where she’s wondering if SHE’S the AH. She said, “I decided at that moment that my mother-in-law and everyone else on that side of the family (except for my sister-in-law, who’s on my side about this) is going to have no alone contact with my daughter ever again (or at least until she’s a teenager).” The mom confessed she’s lost her trust in her mother-in-law entirely and she’s scared she’ll just re-pierce her ears again. The mom also informed her mother-in-law that if she had a problem with supervised visits, she’d report piercing her daughter’s ears without her knowledge to the police. While her husband is on her side, she says that he thinks it’s not as big of a deal as she’s making it out to be.
And boy oh boy, were people on her side in the comments, saying no, she is definitely NTA. “Putting aside the cultural norm to pierce baby ears… they’re not her parents. They don’t get to make decisions like that. They knew you didn’t want it done. And they chose to sneak around and do it behind your back,” one person shared. “I would personally find out where they had them done and not only leave a review saying that they’ll pierce a baby without parental consent but report the shop to whatever governing body they report to. Piercing a baby without parental consent is not ok.”
“NTA – That is a massive breach of trust, I would never leave them in the same room as the child again,” another person said. “There are a lot of stories on here about MIL’s overstepping boundaries, one deliberately infected a child with measles (?) and another got the child baptized so who’s to say what lies ahead.”
Others said piercing the baby’s ears without her consent and the parent’s consent is a form of assault and likened it to “mutilation.”
“In a modern world, body modification needs consent from the person who is going to have to live with the changes. Just because infant female ear piercings have been normalized in some cultures doesn’t mean it’s okay,” Schezzi said.
“NTA. It is a form of assault. I know some cultures advocate this barbarous custom. F*ck such cultures! And granny too. She had been given clear directions and she went directly against those. Good thing that your husband is behind you. A pity though that he doesn’t think it is a big deal,” said another.