With everything happening in the world these days, you would think folks would appreciate to hear and see acts of love and affection. Especially between a parent and their child – sadly, it seems this isn't always the case.
Heather Whitten's intentions were good and what was intended to be a way of sharing a vulnerable and intimate moment – turned out to be an internet controversy.
Her reply to the negativity however, is something everyone could maybe learn a thing or two from.
Heather Whitten, who is a professional picture, took this picture of her husband and their 1-year-old son.
The picture was taken some time before, when their son was food poisoned with salmonella and high fever. Heather wanted to share the picture to show the struggles of parenthood as well as the beauty, so she posted the picture on her Facebook page. She motivates why she posted the picture initially in a recent Facebook post:
"Thomas had spent hours in the shower with him, trying to keep his fever down and letting the vomit and diarrhea rinse off of them both as it came.
It was a powerful moment for us as parents. Our intuition was starting to fire off that this was much more serious than just a virus but we've had much more experience with over reacting than not so we were trying to hold off."
Instead she was met with a stream of hate and negativity – people found the picture inappropriate and offensive due to its 'nudity.'
The picture was reported and ultimately taken off Facebook and even became the subject of legal battle with the Arizona Department of Child Safety, according to PetaPixel.
Heather has found the whole ordeal infuriating and unjust, she has recently reposted the picture and has this to say:
"As I sat in the shower with the two of them I was just overwhelmed with the scene in front of me. This man. This husband and partner and father. He was so patient and so loving and so strong with our tiny son in his lap. His whispers of reassurance to Fox, that he would be ok and that Thomas would take care of him were so steady and so honest.
Fox had always been more "my twin". He clung to me more than Persephone did in that first year and would always choose me over Thomas for comfort. But, in this moment, he needed and wanted Thomas.
I stepped out and grabbed my camera and came back to snap a few images of it and, of course shared them. I was taken aback by how many people missed the story or didn't even look past the nudity to find the story. They were just hung up on them both being nude and being in the shower. I had crossed a line. It was too intimate. It shouldn't be shared publicly.
But, I disagree.
My family may be different than yours. But, that doesn't make your way right or my way wrong. You may never take images of your family like I do... you may never share images of your family like I do. But, that doesn't give you the right to silence my voice. To take away my right to share our experiences in an uncensored way.
There is nothing sexual or exploitative about this image. There aren't even any "private parts" showing.
I wish I could express this all in a better way. I wish I were better spoken and not as rambling. But, this is important to me. And, I hope that one day there will be a platform that not only allows this kind of freedom for families and artists like my own... but, welcomes them without fear."
Human beings can be very judgemental at times and fail to see the bigger picture – sometimes we forget we might be hurting others. I think mom Heather's reply to this controversy is a great lesson on how we should treat each other.
Please share as a way to praise this brave woman.