To the Woman Who Questioned How I Parent My Surviving Child
You’re fat. You’re ugly. You have an awful cheerleader voice. I’ve heard it all over the years. As a television news anchor, it comes with the territory: not everyone will like you. It was a tough pill to swallow early in my career, but the older I get, the more confidence I have about who I am. Viewers often attack the appearance and performance of news anchors, but that’s about as personal as it gets. That was until now, in my case.
My family was thrust into the spotlight recently as we shared our story of child loss with major media outlets like People and Yahoo. No longer was my story of two angels and one amazing survivor geared towards an audience of parents and those who have experienced a loss of their own. The masses were now reading my family’s journey, and not everyone was a fan. “Oh puke. Some people just aren’t supposed to have kids,” read one comment. Another said, in part, “It’s probably a good idea to accept it when a doctor tells a woman to abort some of them.”
My friends were appalled by the comments and couldn’t believe how insensitive people can be. But I was honestly not bothered by the harsh remarks. I knew that people around the world were reading about my family, and much like television news, not everyone is going to like it.
It wasn’t the national attention that finally got to me. It was a recent comment on my Facebook page that brought me to tears. I posted a picture of my daughter, Peyton, during a Children’s Miracle Network event (she is one of the organization’s miracle children). This is what someone wrote:
“She is beautiful and a miracle. BUT, have you ever wondered if Peyton might resent that every time you mention her, after all she is an individual, you always reference her siblings. Recently, you put up a pic of her, but it is all about the fact that she was premature, had siblings, [that you] lost babies, [you’re a] speaker for moms [who] lost children, etc. She is here. Now. Live. Focus on her, not the fact that she is the only surviving triplet.”
In the two and half years since my children were born, never have I felt so hurt. It’s taken over two years for me to get back to feeling like my old self, yet it only took a few seconds to read this and kick my happiness to the curb.
In the moments after I read this comment, so many thoughts and snide remarks came to mind. I wanted to yell at this woman. I wanted her to know how simple words can hurt. And I wanted to shout, “You have no idea!”
Instead, I walked away from my computer and calmed down. I put my life out there on the Internet, so I have to realize that people can share their opinion, good or bad. I responded to the woman’s comment and explained how we find ways to celebrate Peyton every single day and that regular followers of my blog know that. What people see on Facebook or on the news is just a snippet of my life. And while the lady apologized, it’s something I still can’t get out of my head weeks later.
To the woman who criticized my parenting, try to put yourself in my shoes. Not only am I a first-time parent, I am also the parent of two children who died. I have to figure out the normal tricks of the trade when it comes to raising my daughter, and I also have to balance the grief with my beautiful, living child.
Peyton is an individual and an amazing miracle child who we celebrate every day. She will always know how special she is, and we will find that perfect balance to celebrate her, along with remembering her brother and sister. Yes, Peyton is here. Now. Live. But I’m not going to forget that she was a triplet, and I’m not going to hide the fact that I am a mother to two angels.
To the woman who criticized my parenting, please cut me some slack. I’m doing the best I can…and I’m proud of the mother I have become.
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