The first time I ever met someone I knew only online in person, it was in a very public place and I brought my then-boyfriend, now-husband with me. The purpose? To finally gain possession of a Xena dollie. Oh yes, I'm hardcore dork and old school internet nrrd. And some thought I was crazy - not for the Xena thing - for meeting someone I only knew online in person. I think that with Meet-ups and Tweet-ups, we take for granted that people online are how they present themselves.
When I checked the news this morning I was still shocked that someone had made up a story of being pregnant with a terminal baby, wasn't having a late-term abortion and then had given birth. WHA???? What kind of crazy person would do that?
A Reborn doll-loving anti-abortion crazy person, that's who!
As more and more people were drawn to [Beccah's] compelling tale, eager advertisers were lining up. And established parenting Web sites that oppose abortion were promoting her blog -- which included biblical quotes, anti-abortion messages and a soundtrack of inspirational Christian pop songs.
By Sunday night, when "April's Mom" claimed to have given birth to her "miracle baby" -- blogging that April Rose had survived a home birth only to die hours later -- her Web site had nearly a million hits.
There was only one problem with the unfolding tragedy: None of it was true.
The most disturbing thing I have ever seen on TV was a story on 20/20 earlier this year about women who buy Reborn dolls and treat them like real children. These women dress up the dolls, put them in strollers and walk around as if pushing a real baby. In the 20/20 segment, a stranger comes up and compliments a woman about how cute her baby is. The woman then lets the stranger hold the "baby." And this is how the hoax came apart...Beccah had used one of these dolls in photos as her "miracle baby."
I tried to find her blog, but Blogger seems to have removed it and it doesn't appear in the Internet Archive. So why would a woman do this? "She really did lose a son shortly after birth in 2005. She started her blog in March to help deal with that loss and to express her strong anti-abortion views, she said" The outrage on her fans' blogs is strong.
I can't quite tell if people are upset because there was no baby or because there was no miracle baby.
What I find the most troubling about this story is that it throws all bloggers back into "how do I trust you" mode? I blogged my pregnancy, the death of my mother and the birth of my daughter. How do you know anything I said was true? How do I know anything you say is true?
The momosphere is a powerful place. And I don't mean just for marketers. But it's a great place to meet moms who are going through the same crap you are or have gone through it and can attest that you will survive. Please don't take this one incident as a reflection of the momosphere, other than how fabulous people are in reaching out to those of us in need.
5 Comments Have Been Posted
Well, shut my mouth.
Anonymous replied on
An anti-choice wingnut deliberately manipulated her blog followers? This is just about the least surprising thing I've heard all week.
However, let's talk about the cult of Reborn dolls. I saw that 20/20 special too, and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I get that the project started out as a therapeutic thing for the creator, but the women who pay thousands of dollars for each doll (and many of them are collectors of multiples) and then take them out in baby strollers looking for attention...well, it was upsetting. I would never want to downplay the trauma of women for whom losing or never having a child is truly unsurmountable, but from what 20/20 showed of them the real thing missing in their lives seemed to be not babies but support from adult humans, possibly in the form of grief counseling.
I am a teen. And I have a
KilljoyRoxy replied on
I am a teen. And I have a reborn. Not all people who have one are crazy. I know 36 girls who have babies and are younger than 20. Don't be rude and think that every person who has one is crazy. The reason why I have one is because I want a real baby so bad. But I know I am not aat all ready to be a mother to a human being. I take my baby out because it makes me feel good not to get attention. I cover my doll up well so no one will ask questions. People need to stop making certian groups bad guys. I love this magazine but just becaue I do does not mean I am okay with abortion. I once heard someone say that because I was reading this mag. Just because someone is in a group does not mean they are all the same nor believe all the same things. I really thinkk that if this is how some people grief than awell. It is not hurting anyone.
Posting again because I
lizzelizzel replied on
Posting again because I didn't read the button as Preview Comment...
Actually this type of crap happens regularly on livejournal mothering commities. If you are curious I suggest searching 'Fake LJers' to find communities based about people faking their identity online.
Reading the Chicago Tribune
educatedvagabond replied on
Reading the Chicago Tribune article, it seems to me that while she was trying to work through personal grief by creating a fictional identity on the internet, she got caught up in something she didn't anticipate. Her story fit into an anti-choice narrative and people pounced on an opportunity to use her tragic story to promote their anti-abortion views. When her story was true, it was sad. Now that her story is false, I think it is still sad. I suppose the overall lesson from this is not to take someone's story off the internet as fact without factchecking and corroboration, especially if you intend to use their story to advance a political agenda.
Oh, and Xena dolls are awesome. I believe eBay was created for the sole purpose of helping me obtain them.
Sad What Some Will Do for Attention
Greg holbert replied on
I know her story is sad and being a man I can only imagine what that woman would be going through in such a horrible situation. But if coping with your loss involves tricking people that isn't healthy for anyone. I hope that woman finds some real help and may someday have a chance at a real child who she can show off and be ooed and ahhed over. My prayers go out to that poor woman.
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