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.