Italian beauty pageant contestant and mother Alessia Spagnulo wasn’t sure what to do when she couldn’t find childcare for her 6-month-old daughter on competition day.
As The Times reports, her husband was busy at work at a paper factory and her mother at her nursing job — leaving the mom with nobody to watch her little Chloe.
Instead of dropping out of the preliminary heat for the Miss Italy pageant, Spagnulo put on her swimsuit and strapped her little one to her chest.
Other contestants offered to hold the child while she took the stage, but the mom wanted to proudly show off her infant. According to The Sun, she said:
“I thought ‘Why should I hide her?'”
The proud mom soon shared photos of the event on her Instagram page, but not everyone was enthusiastic about her decision.
It wasn’t long before Spagnulo started getting backlash online. She told The Times that she even got death threats:
“Someone posted ‘you deserve to die for this’, while another said it was ‘unnatural’ and another told me to stick to being a housewife.”
Though some applauded the working mom for taking her baby on stage, she said that she was “really upset” by the mean comments.
She’d never received so much negativity online before, she told The Sun:
“I have never felt this kind of violence before but I am refusing to respond.”
But all the negative feedback only encouraged her to speak out for other moms, according to Fox News. Spagnulo said:
“My message to other mothers is that your dreams can come true, even if you have a child and the 1,000 tasks that come with it.”
And regardless of the hate, Spagnulo still managed to defeat nearly half her competition and move onto the top 18 finalists of the pageant.