How does one show up in the face of adversity? When you feel like you are being knocked down left and right, how do you “keep on, keeping on?”

I wasn’t so sure that I could continue the fight. Instead, I blamed myself. I felt like it was my fault that my child was out there, her story, our story, the fight for acceptance, awareness, advocacy. It was my fault that someone, someone that clearly needs to focus on their own self, had the audacity to say something about how my child looked, publicly, on the internet.

Hiding behind a screen, we can all do that. Heck, here I am writing about it. It is easy to hide behind your words, when you are not face to face with another.

What Happens When a Reel Goes Viral

When an Instagram video reel went viral, I was in utter shock- 32,554 plays of a video (but hey, who is counting?) featuring Hailey spreading messages of positivity, love, and acceptance. But I think some people missed the memo- instead, I received some of the most shocking messages talking about my daughter- A CHILD!

As a parent, my heart was shattered. How could a stranger, someone sitting behind a phone, computer, their own self-esteem issues, say something so vile about my child. I became angered that someone would remark on my BEAUTIFUL daughter’s appearance.

If I sat here and said I didn’t cry, I would be lying. I could not fathom how someone, clearly old enough to get on social media, peruse media, and type out something, could be so utterly insensitive and cruel.

My blood boiled and I was seeing red. I thought of a million different responses. But I took a breath, I mean, I advise my child to do the same, so I should be following my own advice. I took a breath, and I gave it some time. I decided that blocking this individual would be my best possible choice.

But this brought up so much emotion within me. This was on the internet…I could simply block the individual and my daughter will never know about this interaction. What about in real life? What about the real-life bullies? Will they come out from behind their screen and actually have the insolence to say something?

What to do With Adversity

I decided to turn hate into love. I posted on my social media about my platform and what I stood for. It read something like this:

“I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your love and support throughout this journey. Unfortunately today, there were some unkind comments left, which I have decided to delete. Even though it was deleted from the Instagram post, it has not been erased from my heart. I still remember those words that were said about my beautiful baby girl.

I just want everyone to remember that the purpose of this page is to raise awareness and advocate for my child with a rare genetic syndrome and others with disabilities. The video that I posted today was made to show that everyone should consistently be kind to others, accept differences that exist in our world, and be accepting of those around us. Please kindly excuse yourself if you don’t feel that it is something in your interest. This is the platform that I created to help our society be a better place.”

And with that, the outpouring of love that I received from family, friends, loved ones, and my new amazing community on the interweb outweighed the ignorance and disgust that came from individuals who decided to be hateful and cruel.

While there are so many people in our society that struggle with disabilities/ chronic illness, etc, there are also people who struggle with maintaining human decency. And for those people, I truly feel sorry because they are the ones who are truly struggling. I hope they get the help that they need.

This is the reel that was featured on Instagram
This is author Jessica Parham, known for her books, Good to Be Me and Baking Up a Storm. Her writing helps to normalize disability and differences in books for children while utilizing pictures and beautiful content. This video went up in response to what I posted and other issues that she has seen other families face.

1 thought on “Adversity”

  1. Michelle,
    This post brought me to tears. I’m sorry we have so many unkind people in our world today. I just want you to know I think you are an amazing Mama. I also want you to know your little girl is beautiful and so precious. She absolutely melts my heart.
    Sending you lots of hugs,

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