A photo of Molly Lensing was captured in a Colorado airport in 2016, where Lensing and her youngest daughter, Anastasia, then 2 […]
A photo of Molly Lensing was captured in a Colorado airport in 2016, where Lensing and her youngest daughter, Anastasia, then 2 months old, were attempting to return home after visiting family.
In the picture, Lensing appears to be looking at her phone while Anastasia lays on the floor.
Lensing was quickly mocked online as a woman who found her cell phone more interesting than her infant, and the photo was passed around with various judgmental quotes attached to it.
One post about her circulating the web translated to: “Albert Einstein said, ‘I fear the day that technology will take on our humanity … the world will be populated by a generation of idiots,’” and it received over 65K shares.
“We had the unfortunate luck of being stuck in the middle of the Delta computer shut-down,” Lensing told TODAY Parents. Her flights were delayed and re-booked so many times that she spent more than 20 hours sitting in airports — with a two-month-old.
“Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch,” said Lensing. “And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were.”
A few months after her stressful travel experience, Lensing began seeing the image of herself circulating online. Once a few viewers identified her by name, she began receiving messages on Facebook. Some stood up for her, but others berated her for being a “terrible parent.”
“I absolutely feel as though my privacy was violated,” said Lensing, who works part-time as a pediatric nurse. “I had recently started working on a labor floor, 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.”
Mary Katherine Backstrom, who blogs at Mom Babble, shared the image in her Facebook community recently, with a message of support for Lensing and all mothers who have been unfairly judged.
“No. Just no,” it began. “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. My flight delayed, running on zero sleep, fearful that my baby might slip straight from my arms and unto the floor if I nodded off.”
Backstrom told GoodHousekeeping.com that she wanted to use her platform to potentially “change the narrative” and to make a “call for empathy” instead of shame. She went on to say that the picture “represented such a vulnerable, honest moment in parenting.”
“Most mothers who have traveled alone with young children would instantly empathize, so it infuriated me that there was a negative dialogue taking place,” the mom of two said.
Lensing revealed that after Backstrom stood up for her, it made all the negativity attention shift toward the positive, and for that, she’s grateful. Just looking at a photo, she stressed, “you have no idea what the story behind it is.”