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Couple Take Part in a Bizarre Experiment to See What Having a Baby Would Be Like

I don’t care what anyone says, NOTHING prepares you for how hard it is taking care of a baby during the first year of their life. The truth is, before our baby arrives, we romanticise how amazing it is going to be. And it is amazing, don’t get me wrong. It’s also HARD! Life as you knew it simply doesn’t exist anymore. Your body is different, your finances are different, your ability to sleep is…well, you forget what it feels like to get a full night’s sleep, and your responsibilities are forever changed. Having a child is, in the simplest terms, life-changing!

Faced with the conversation over whether to have a baby, one man suggested to his girlfriend that to see if they were truly ready for parenthood they should conduct a bit of experiment.

So, a few days ago, my girlfriend asked me if I would be interested in having a baby. I said that I was open to the idea, but that we would have to weigh all the pros and cons so that we would know what we would be getting ourselves into ahead of time. For instance, impact on finances and on physical and mental health.

When I mentioned the impact on mental health, she disagreed, and argued that having a baby makes people happier in the long-term. I agreed that while that might be the case in the long-term, having a baby decreases a person’s mental health in the short term. For instance, by impacting sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep is one of the biggest factors for a person’s mental health, and babies are extremely disruptive to sleep patterns.

My girlfriend didn’t believe that it could have that big of an impact on mental health, so I proposed an experiment. On average, babies wake up once every 2-3 hours needing food and attention. So I would set an alarm to go off every 2.5 hours throughout the night, at which point we would have to get out of bed and occupy ourselves for 20 minutes before returning to sleep. My girlfriend agreed.

Just to increase the realism, I downloaded a sound file of a baby crying and set that as the alarm tone.

The first night was hell. The anticipation of the alarm going off made it difficult to fall asleep in the first place. Waking up to the alarm tone of a baby crying was miserable. It happened 2 more times after that.’

The next day was awful. It was hard to pay attention at work, and my temper was shorter than it usually is. All I wanted to do was go back to bed and catch up on lost sleep, but in the back of my mind I knew that wouldn’t be possible, because the same thing was going to happen that night. And it did. The next night was just as bad as the first one. My girlfriend and I were bickering and snapping at each other. The third night after the second alarm, my girlfriend called it quits and we cancelled the experiment.


After we caught up on lost sleep and could have a conversation without biting each other’s heads off, I asked my girlfriend to imagine that with an actual baby, you can’t get out of it. You’re stuck for months and there’s nothing you can do. I said that I was still open to the idea of having a baby, but she said that she was less interested.

The next day, I got a call from my girlfriend’s mom. She said that my girlfriend told her what happened, and that I was a cruel jerk for doing what I did. I agreed that the experiment was rougher than I intended it to be, but I didn’t do anything out of cruelty, and I didn’t do anything that she didn’t agree to ahead of time. I just didn’t think she understood what she would be getting herself into. Girlfriend’s mom said I was being “too analytical”, and that I was an asshole for ruining her daughter’s dreams of having a baby.

Honestly, I do feel really guilty. I really didn’t intend on ruining her dreams. I wasn’t trying to change her mind; I just wanted her to understand that a baby impacts sleep and sleep impacts mental health. Maybe I am being too analytical, but am I an asshole?

Many people thought that his little experiment was a stroke of genius, agreeing that if she gave up after 2 days, she definitely wasn’t ready to care for a baby.

NTA. If that was enough to change her mind, she’s not ready. Lots of things become more difficult after having a baby, like lots – lack of sleep’s just one small part of it. I think the “experiment” was a practical way to figure out you all need some more time before taking on this responsibility. Maybe mom was pushing her to have a kid and you got in the way of that? Just a thought. (CelestiaLundenb3rg)

NTA at all. Not only does a child affect sleep, but also she’ll need to HEAL during that time. Your little experiment was while she was healthy, and she called quits after THREE DAYS. She’ll have to be A LOT more realistic if she wants to be a mother. Pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on your body AND soul. And you can’t catch a break for YEARS. (Beakha)

I think it’s fair to demonstrate that prospective parents have to want a kid MORE than they want to be well-rested. 😅(CharlotteLucasOP)

The truth hurts, lol. You were being reasonable, not “too analytical”. Your gf’s mom just wants grand babies one day and is a little salty that it’s been delayed. Don’t give it any more thought. NTA (Electronic_Fox_6383)

Some people even suggested that the experiment was too easy and didn’t go far enough.

I think your experiment should have lasted 1 month and should have should have included a reasonable reduction in finances for about a month. No money for morning or afternoon Starbucks. There would be no time for going to the gym, hanging out with friends. No time or money for monthly hair salon, makeup, eyelash, waxing, or massage appointments. Cherry on top, no energy or interest in intimacy. (Selena_B305)



As a mom who just finished going through that stage, it fucking sucks. I’m talking hours awake sobbing my eyes out on the couch because I was exhausted, leaking from multiple places, in pain, hormonal, and overstimulated.

She had a tough time just waking up to a baby crying every 2.5 hours. Now add in warming up a bottle or getting your boobs out, changing a diaper, and trying to get a baby to go back to sleep.

IMO you didn’t go far enough with the experiment. She got the briefest look at very tip of the iceberg. (thebreannashow)

Lol. Agreed. I don’t recall EVER only being up for a nice minimal 20 minutes! It seemed like it was at least an hour especially right after birth. (Prior_Benefit8453)

As a mother of 4 under 4 I was actually laughing (not cruelly) at the experiment and the way you guys were pretty much sums up sleep deprived parents. I think what you did was smart and realistic. You guys get an idea of what it’s going to be like. My current 11 month old twins wake up several times a night (teething and growth spurt/learning to walk) and I still have to function for a 2 year old and 3 year old. It shouldn’t shatter her dream but it’s something she has to be mentally ready for. She will survive. I mean hell I’m surviving. (sunsehtt)

Not everyone agreed that the experiment was a good idea or even an accurate representation of the challenges of caring for a newborn. According to some commenters the experiment was flawed.

Gonna go with NAH. Your experiment had a bit of fatal flaw, imho. Yes, it’s fucking awful getting through those first few months. I had post partum depression and early undiagnosed stages of MS on top of everything, so believe me, I know the suckage more than most. The flaw in your experiment is not having anything to represent that little tiny human who you irrationally love more than life itself, and not having anything to approximate the serotonin hit you get when you go pick up and comfort that tiny, helpless creature. Without that… well, yeah.

Totally get what you were trying to do, and I applaud the creativity. And your gf’s mom should butt out. Just remember that little part your experiment was missing, that’s all. ❤️ (ShinyDapperBarnacle)


FINALLY I was looking for this response. Once you have a baby, you’ll have actual, even subconscious motivation to wake up in the night and do all these things. Right now she’s only doing it so her 30 something year old boyfriend can prove a point. (ermmwhatthespruce)

Uncommon opinion: YTA. While an alarm really only pisses you off and won’t ever give you something in return, a child will. It does something to you subconsciously when you know what you are doing something for. It also triggers a bunch of hormones that more or less make you love your baby – without those, no child would last the first week, I bet. Comparing a random alarm to a living being that you are attached to is not the same. Any pet owner gets up at night when doggo puked on the carpet for the 6th time a night. Most people with children would react the same way you and gf did to an alarm, but still want and love their kids. Underestimating the impact of emotions on a situation is a huge mistake. Also, you express interest in having a baby some time in the future. What’s your excuse for that? Will you not be annoyed then? (ChiliCupcake)

Some commenters thought that OP was out of line and questioned whether he actually cared for his partner at all.

YTA You are absolutely the asshole.

Can’t believe I’m saying this, but your girlfriend needs to break up with you and you should absolutely NEVER have children. You sound like you literally do not have emotions. Do you even love this girl??? Have you ever even experienced that emotion?

Also fucking shitty experiment.

I wasn’t trying to change her mind

That is just a straight-up lie. You only showed her the worst aspects of having a child. (LaughingIsAwesome)


I think it was a major asshole move. It’s not like she’s a teenager wanting a baby, her biological clock is ticking. My partner doing this “experiment” would piss me off more than the alarms would. (PrestigiousWelder379)

What do you think? Was his experiment well-meaning and a good test of their readiness to become parents or was it an attempt to shut down the conversation with a manipulative tactic? Was the experiement fundamentally flawed and only geared towards the most negative aspect of being a parent

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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