Since I launched the Take the Pledge Campaign a few months ago, I have received emails thanking me. Women have volunteered their personal experiences. Told me how much The Mom Pledge means to them. They touch me.
One woman's story stood out. I have been unable to get it out of my mind. She wrote that I could post it. So I want to tell you about Emily.
She was raped when she was sixteen years old. As a result of that violent act, she became pregnant. She chose to have the child, whom she loves with all her heart. Of his birth she says, "I never looked at him as a child of rape. I saw my son. My everything."
Life has not been easy since then. Emily had to drop out of high school, but did receive her GED. She has struggled to make ends meet. She has battled depression. She strives each day to be the best mom she can to the little boy she loves, "With everything I am."
Emily is "different." She has tattoos. Big, bold tattoos. And she likes to color her hair. Not blonde or auburn. But pink. And purple.
Complete strangers would walk up to Emily and tell her she should be ashamed of herself. They said she was not fit to be a mother. Because of how she looked. Because she was so young. They knew nothing about her.
Now in her twenties, Emily is married and expecting another child. But the scars of what happened to her, and how others have treated her since, run deep.
You can judge somebody because they are different from you. Because they made choices you would not make. It's easy to do. And I'm not about to sit here and tell you I haven't.
But I draw the line at being nasty. I keep whatever thoughts I may have to myself. And try to put myself in the other person's shoes. I recognize I don't know him or her, and it is not fair of me to make assumptions.
We never know everything about another person's situation. Before you choose to say or write mean, hurtful things to others, stop. And just think.