BlogHer Voice of the Week: Is There Any Mommy Out There
Sometimes you read a story, and the appropriate reaction seems like it is perfectly clear, black and white, obvious, no gray areas here, thank you, none at all.
And you can bet that when you get that absolute feeling of certainty, there is almost always another side to the story that you've never considered. Now, you won't always get to hear that side of the story. Sometimes no one will share that side of the story, because doing so is risky. Stacey from Is there any mommy out there takes that risk in her post Threads, and for that courage, she is our BlogHer Voice of the Week.
So, what is the story in question? It's the tale of an American adoptive mother who put her adopted son on a plane to Russia with a note in his pocket that she couldn't handle being his mother anymore. We discussed it on BlogHer last month.
What other side could there possibly be?
Stacey offers that other side, starting by asking: "I understand parenting one child to the detriment and trauma of another. Do you?"
You will hold your breath when Stacey shares what must be every parent's nightmare: She discovers that her oldest, adoptive son has been physically harming her baby. To us, it seems like it must be the climactic scene of a terrifying movie capitalizing on that parental nightmare, but for her, it was all too real.
I went to him and I took his hand and he writhed and screamed and fought and bit and scratched and I don't blame him. Pure survival instincts. He sensed the danger as well as I did. I pulled him up the stairs as gently, but quickly, as I could, protecting myself as best I could and I put him in his room and I locked the door.
I didn't lock the door to keep him in.
I did it because I didn't think I could open a locked door to hurt a child.
And I didn't. But I wanted to...
Why does Stacey share this intensely personal look into what she her self calls "the bottom"? Because she doesn't see how twittering and blogging and commenting on our disgust over the parents who have such public failure is actually helping the children. She suggests a compassionate path; she suggests realizing that "Maybe the situation is ten million more times complicated than I realize", and she suggests meeting the eyes of a parent in crisis, and smiling:
Because maybe, an hour ago, she walked away from that child's door. And maybe, for the cost of a smile, you gave her the strength to do it again.
The post is long, challenging, troubling. It is definitely revealing, and potentially redemptive. We are honored to name Is Any Mommy Out There this week's BlogHer Voice of the Week.
Thanks to everyone for continuing to send in your nominated posts. Remember to nominate individual posts, not entire blogs, and keep them coming! If you want to check out all these posts, check out the BlogHer Voice of the Week archive.
For Elisa, Jory, and Lisa, BlogHer Co-founders