This was part of a lecture for my BLS American Motherhood class:
Well, 30 years later, with mothers’ entrance into the blogosphere, these domestic cats have certainly been let out of the bag in a huge and complex way. The web is flooded with blogs where mothers and fathers capture all the joys and frustrations of parenthood, and though it may be too early to tell, these honest looks at parenthood have not appeared to have damaged children or undermined marriages. In fact, if the literature on ‘mommy blogs’ is to be believed, this new abundant access to no-holds-barred accounts of parenting and ready advice from one’s peers has mainly provided a positive source of support for struggling parents and reassurance that even if we don’t all live up to the traditional ideals, our shortcomings will not permanently scar our children or make of them maladjusted serial killers. Though the corporate media will continue to sensationalize stories of ‘mommy wars’ and women’s judgment of one another, the overwhelming message of the blogging community seems to be that ‘we are all in this together.’
It’s no secret that I’m a mommy blog addict. I’ve read them for years. I watched the rise and fall of the phenom blogger known simply as MckMama (Jennifer McKinney) and veteran mommy-blog readers probably remember the Little One April Rose scam and even worse the Munchausen’s by proxy case involving a real live child at The McDonald Five. That brings me to the purpose of this blog entry: Biggest Mommy Blog Scandals: Legal Woes. Unfortunately, since Professor Levesque wrote this piece, it appears that mommy blogging IS damaging children and ruining marriages. I’ll tell you about some of the
scandals that rocked Mommy Blog Land.
The most egregious offender is that of The McDonald Five mother Emily McDonald was arrested for smearing the child’s IV with feces, as well as putting it into a feeding tube. Her problem started innocently enough when she had premature children, and reached out into the online preemie community, where she found support. Unfortunately she became addicted to the attention and sympathy especially reserved for those special women among us that nurture their sick (sometimes dying) children as only a loving mother can. Here’s where it gets tricky, would this mother have had such a support system without the blogosphere? Had we rapt readers not have been hanging on to every post, begging for updates on sweet little Dakota, and sending well-wishes that included gifts, cards, and simply our time would she have continued to abuse this child? There is no way to know, and frankly, I wouldn’t want to know because I certainly don’t want to shoulder that guilt. She is serving a 20 year sentence in the Texas penal sytem. Reports about Dakota have been sparse in the mommy blog world, but it was mentioned in passing (and I couldn’t find the link) that she was reportedly doing extremely well now that her mother can no longer inflict harm.
Next there is the infamous April Rose scam. A young woman, who only identifies herself on the blog as “B” weaves quite the tale. The story is not atypical, she presents as a single unwed young woman that finds herself pregnant, but because of her deeply held Christian Convictions she decides to have the child. Here’s what’s not so typical, she claims the child suffers from a rare genetic anomaly (Trisomy 13) and brain defect (Holoprosencephaly) that is incompatible with life, but again, because of her faith she goes against the medical establishment insistence that she should abort the child, and decides that as long as the child will live (whether it dies naturally in utero) or lives the few hours/minutes after delivery.
Now to attest to the power that is the internet community and the clout of mommy blogging, this story made it to Angie Smith, author of a blog called Bring the Rain as well as several books and wife to Todd, part of the famous Christian band Selah. Angie has been very forthcoming in her own blog about the real loss of their fourth child, Audrey Caroline, who Angie DID carry to term that passed shortly after birth. Angie was asking for support and prayers for this young mother who was facing all alone something that had so recently brought Angie’s own family to its knees.
Reaction to the treachery was swift, with many women that lost infants themselves expressing outrage. In fact, every day “small-time” bloggers like Mary at Every Day Endeavors reacted, “So many people were deceived. I didn’t get scammed financially but I definitely have lost a lot of TIME reading the blog, checking for updates and even emailing “B” a couple times (to which she replied). So it’s all so sad how far people will go for selfish gain.So that’s the latest gossip going around bloggy land. It’s too bad because B was a good writer and spoke on many truths.”
In the photo you can see, that even four years later “April Rose Scam” on Google brings up a variety of information and identifies Rebecca “Beccah” Beushausen. It appears that no charges were filed against her as they were unable to substantiate the claims about her obtaining money fraudulently. The photo below is of the doll that she tried to pass off as her dead baby.