An Oklahoma dad's social post paying tribute to his wife quickly turned ugly when judgment started pouring in over the moment he photographed and shared between the mom and their babies.
David Brinkley's sweet shot of Alora and their two children was honest and real. It depicts the mama cuddling and snoozing in the same bed as the kiddos.
In the accompanying caption, Brinkley writes in part, "My wife is a best friend kind of woman." He then goes on to recount how a friend asked Alora if he hates when she co-sleeps with their kids, and adds this passionate declaration:
"I do NOT hate any part of what makes my wife the mother that she is. I would NEVER degrade or disregard anything that she feels like doing for my children. Do I have to squeeze into a small corner of the bed sometimes? Yeah? But my God how beautiful does she look holding my children? Making them feel loved and safe? The thing is that our wives only experience these little seasons in motherhood for a short time. They carry our babies, they birth them, they nurture them and maybe while they are little they let them crawl into our beds and snuggle. But eventually our babies get bigger they grow up they get 'too cool' for snuggles so why would we as men want to steal a single second of this time from them? Being mothers is part of their identity and what's a year or 3 out of decades of life spent together?"
Although this amazingly-supportive dad's words were meant to celebrate his wife, sadly, the negative comments were swift to follow. Here's a sample of those comments:
"This is dangerous for the baby. Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back, in a Crib."
"How can you snuggle with your husband or be intimate with a child always sleeping with you? Nurturing your marriage relationship is very important too. Balance your life."
"Love that you love your kids and your wife, and clearly you do. With that said, I work with CPS in the fatality unit and it is extremely dangerous to sleep with babies age 1 year and younger. Practice safe sleep."
It's important to note that most of the comments were highly complimentary, both of Brinkley's post and the photo. Many people admitted that in their homes, bed-sharing happens too.
Ultimately, whether you "agree" with how the Brinkleys parent or not, the judgment needs to stop! First of all, we don't know the exact circumstances surrounding this photo. Was the mom truly asleep or closing her eyes for a moment? And remember, the dad is awake, in the room. But even if he wasn't, let's get real: Haven't most exhausted moms found themselves in this situation, planned or unplanned? Bed-sharing may not be ideal, but it's a reality—something even the AAP recently admitted, and even went so far as to release safe bed-sharing tips.
That being said, babies are still dying from SIDS, and we know that bed-sharing can raise the likelihood of this awful tragedy happening. But in the end, as Alora later commented, the pros and cons of bed-sharing were not meant to be the focus of her husband's post; rather, it was to showcase his love and support for her. And no one can say that isn't beautiful.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.