Author’s Note: I originally wrote this article after seeing an photo that went viral last year—of a woman who put her baby on an airport floor—inside of a Facebook Group of which I was part. I was so disgusted by people’s comments that I immediately quit the online group. It wasn’t until last week that I found out a bit more about the story behind the viral photo, Out of respect for this woman and her child, I have not included the image with my post, but it can be viewed at the link above.
Here is the original letter that I wrote to that woman not knowing anything more about her or the backstory, aside from only the image and the negative comments around it.
To the mom who put her baby on the floor at the airport,
I’ve got your back, because apparently most of the rest of the world wants to stick a virtual knife in it. Yep, I was privy to a photo taken of you without your permission. That’s gross, right? And completely obtrusive. Yet, also so commonplace and standard in the world we live in today. As for who it was that took your picture, I don’t know. I was just one of the many members of the general public who was faced with your photo on my newsfeed as I scrolled through Facebook this afternoon.
When your photo breezed by as I swiped, I thought “Aww, that sweet baby is sleeping.” It looked like you had gently placed your young child on the floor, lying on their back atop a soft baby blanket, right next to your chair and feet. To me, it looked like you were doing everything right.
But then I became disgusted. Not at you, but by the horrendous comments to the picture taken of you and your baby without your knowledge. The comments truly made me sad and broke my heart. What’s worse, if the general public’s lack of compassion and rush to judgement made me feel so uncomfortable and disappointed in us as a society, I can only imagine how it made you feel.
What was it that these people were seeing that I wasn’t? They commented that you should have had your baby in your lap. They commented that putting your child on the floor was careless, because someone could step on them. They commented about how you were such a bad mom, because you were looking at your phone and not gawking at and swooning over your baby.
But, hun, you know what? Thankfully, the rest of the general public doesn’t think like these nitwits. Intelligent and respectable people in the real world don’t make rash judgments without an actual and factual basis to create them on.
What was really happening in the picture that I saw was likely an exhausted, yet extremely loving mother. One whose young baby was tired and needed a comfortable nap, on his or her back, in accordance with AAP guidelines. You knew that both you and your baby would likely be uncomfortable and disrupted with her in your lap, and the angle and curvature of the airport seat next to you made it an unideal spot for such a young child. Your baby was no closer to other people’s walking feet than your feet were, as she was right next to you.
Although I can, on a minuscule level, understand one’s concern for the germs your child may encounter—those were inevitable as you were in an airport for goodness sake. Oh yeah, and your use of your phone (which very well may have been to check in with your spouse, your child’s grandparent, your work or even to check your social media) was completely appropriate and the same damn thing that any one of us parents do when we have a moment of silence.
Listen, some people are just jerks, and as much as I hate to hold that contention, it’s true. So please, disregard anyone that wants to give you a piece of their mind when they don’t have any actual brains. It is just not worth your time or your energy—and you should be saving both of those for your sweet little baby.
A mom who’s got your back