Molly Lensing was sitting in an airport in Denver, Colorado, last year when a stranger took the above picture of her and posted it on social media.
Immediately, the photograph went viral and the mom-of-three was ridiculed for leaving her two-month-old baby on the floor while scrolling through her cellphone.
But now Lensing is speaking out against the original poster and the many people who mom shamed her.
In an interview with the “Today Show,” Lensing explained that she had been sitting in the airport for 20 hours when the picture was taken. While Delta was rescheduling her flight, the mom was texting her family to let them know what was happening:
“Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch. And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were.”
After the photo went viral, someone identified Lensing as the mom in the picture and tagged her to the post. People started messaging her hateful messages.
She told the “Today Show” that she felt like her privacy was violated:
“I had recently started working on a labor floor [in a hospital], and I was terrified of my co-workers or boss seeing the photo and comments and believing that I should no longer work with infants. Thankfully, this never happened.”
For weeks, Lensing tried to simply ignore the comments and the photograph. Then, two weeks ago, a mom blogger named Mary Katherine Backstrom decided to post a response. Backstrom wrote on Facebook:
We do not snap photos of exhausted mothers in the airport and shame them publicly. This is gross and needs to stop. I’ve been this woman.
Lensing read the post on Facebook and reached out to thank Backstrom. She told Good Housekeeping that Backstrom’s post inspired her to take a stand against the shaming:
“[Mom shaming] makes us scared. Scared to let kids be kids. Scared to enjoy life outside the safety of our homes for fear of being shamed.”
Both women now want to use the photograph — and others like it — to fight mom shaming on the internet and in the media. So far their tactic appears to be working.
In the comment section of the original post, dozens of people have jumped in to share their support of Lensing:
Lensing isn’t after revenge. She told the “Today Show” that she did feel “powerless compared to the internet,” and now just wants to be a good person and mom.
But she didn’t have to spend a year fighting trolls for resting her baby on the ground. While the floor was not an ideal resting place, the baby was unharmed and she was always under the watch of her pediatrician mother.
Now Lensing hopes to fight unwarranted negativity so other moms can raise their children without fear of shaming.