As a parent, reading the story of a little 4 year old boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati zoo sent chills up my spine.
I know what it feels like to see your child in danger. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish on any parent. I read comments from people disgusted that the zoo had chosen to save the life of the child over the life of the gorilla.
I can’t reason with those people. I won’t even try. I would be willing to bet that most of the people making those comments do not have a child. The zoo staff made the only humane decision they could.
What really gets under my skin though, are the comments towards the mother.
This poor mother watched her child come face to face with a gorilla and was helpless to do anything. We do not know the events that lead up to the moment when her child fell into the enclosure and we do not know the type of parent that she is.
We definitely cannot comprehend the fear that she experienced during those ten minutes.
The internet judges her though. The internet knows that she is a terrible mother. Several commenters suggest that she should be fed to the lions. Others suggested she should have her children taken away from her.
The perfect parents have spoken and have found her unworthy.
I don’t know this woman but I do know what it feels like to have the internet judge you as a failure as a parent. After my daughter’s near-drowning was picked up by several news outlets last year, I made the mistake of reading the comment section.
Without knowing who I am as a parent, people called me an unfit mother, neglectful, called for CPS to take my children away.
It is not a good feeling to have your worth as a mother judged by one mistake.
I don’t know the mother in this story but if I met her today, I wouldn’t judge her. I’d give her a hug. The world would be a much better place if we just accepted the fact that everyone is doing the best that they can.
Let’s help more and criticize less.
I’m sure that mother has enough guilt of her own. She doesn’t need you throwing more blame her way. Moments like this are why we need a village.
The world was built by imperfect people. Not a single one of us is perfect. We all have shortcomings. We have lapses. We make mistakes.
What we do is learn from our mistakes. We work on becoming better people, still not perfect, but better.
The events at the Cincinnati zoo were tragic. Not a single person involved wouldn’t change it if they could. But the events of that day would have been more tragic if that child had died.
I won’t value animal life over a human child. I also won’t make any mother who had an imperfect moment feel like she is a failure.
I stand with imperfect parents who are doing their best.
Want to know how we avoid losing kids in public places as a family of 8? Check out this next post.
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