A picture indeed paints a thousand words, but does it always reflect the real story? In the case of one viral photo of a mom and her baby, it apparently does not.
Over a year ago, this photo was being shared on Facebook and other social media platforms such as Snapchat and Twitter. It showed a mom at a Colorado airport bench looking at her phone while her baby lies on a small blanket on the floor. Here was a screen capture of the original Facebook post, which has since been taken down.
At a glance, the photo shouted "negligent mother" -- the kind of image that instantly riles up people, and sadly, brings out a vicious streak. Not only did the woman got bashed and branded as a lousy mom, but some people also managed to find her on Facebook even if she was not identified, and they sent her horrible messages. The mom was Molly Lensing from Illinois U.S., and she is now speaking up about the incident.
Molly told Today Parentsit was the time when her airline had a computer shutdown. After her flight got delayed and re-booked several times, Molly and her then 2-month-old youngest daughter, Anastasia, ended up spending more than 20 hours sitting in airports.
"Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch," Molly said. The reason she was on her phone? "I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were," the mom of three explained.
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Molly knew the photo was making the rounds, and she feared she was going to lose her job as a part-time pediatric nurse. "I was terrified of my co-workers or boss seeing the photo and comments and believing that I should no longer work with infants," she said. Thankfully, it didn't happen.
Molly shared with Scary Mommy she is thankful for the positive support since she came out as the mom in that photo. "It affirms what I always knew about the situation -- I did nothing wrong, and my baby was perfectly safe," she said.
Her advice: Ignore the photos and the comments and draw support from the people you hold dear.
With the Internet and social media, viral posts may be a passing moment, but it leaves a digital footprint. Even if the status, photo, or post had been taken down, screenshots have already been taken and anyone who finds it online could easily re-share it. And the nightmare repeats itself.
One supporter, Mary Katherin Backstrom of the blog Mom Babble, puts it this way, "We do not snap photos of exhausted mothers...and shame them publicly. This is gross and needs to stop."
She added, "I wish she knew that there are mamas who understand exhaustion and imperfection and don't choose to pounce someone in their weakest moment."
Think before you click is the way to go. Before posting or writing comments, ask these five questions:
Is it an informed post?
Is it helpful?
Is it necessary?
Is it inspiring?
Is it kind?
If the situation is reversed, you'd be thankful if kindness and love overpower everything else.