How Being Cyber Bullied After Going Viral Will Make Me A Better Parent

Sarah Martin Photography018What a week it has been!  I am beyond blessed and humbled after my What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body And My Confidence post has gone viral.  I have enjoyed every comment, email and message from mothers telling me they have “parallel stories”, “been inspired by my story” and “needed that honesty”.  I truly feel a bond to mothers across the world and know that me sharing my story is helping others who have been struggling with body image.  I partially wrote this piece for my three daughters.  I hope that one day they can read this and be inspired as well.

When I sat down one evening to write this piece it just flowed out of me within an hour.  I had been thinking about my own body image quite a bit throughout the previous week and decided last minute while going through my photos for another post to put it out there.  I never in a million years thought it would be shared thousands of times, read millions of times and be interpreted in countless articles across the world.  I thought I was writing an honest, from the heart piece that would be read by my few hundred wonderful followers.  I sat down at my desk after my kids were in bed while enjoying a glass of wine, chomping on Mentos and listening to Yo-yo Ma thinking “wow, I haven’t enjoyed writing a piece like this for a while, I must do this type of personal piece more often”.

Along with the incredible stories and thank-yous has come criticism and some pretty hateful words.  I learned quickly to stop reading comments on other sites when the bullies felt the most anonymous and address one that got to me a bit.Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 1Of course there will be people who disagree and want to challenge what I have to say.  That is not only expected but is good to create conversation.  But, I have learned that there are adult bullies out there and am learning how to take a breath, let it go and move on.

I grew up without social media.  Being born in 1983 I had a Walkman and then a Discman and finally at the end of high school ICQ became popular.  Remember the exciting “uh oh” noise alerting you to a message?  I can even credit ICQ for solidifying Mike and my relationship as official boyfriend and girlfriend.  But I never experienced cyber bullying.

We have a strict zero bullying tolerance in our home.  Our son Holden has been praised by many teachers as a sweet soul who has been known on more than one occasion to make deals to get a toy to another child who wanted to play with it.  He has also been the victim of bullying. I was able to help him in that situation by giving advice and relating as I too experienced bullying as a child and as much as it pains me to say so, was the bully from time to time.

In today’s society, so much, if not most of our social life takes place on social media and that has scared me for when my children reach the age where they use social media.  I had never experienced what going to school with social media being available was like.  The anonymity.  The cliques.  The judgement.Sarah Martin Photography025

Although I don’t have any pearls of wisdom or tricks on how to deal with cyber bullying, I can honestly look at my children and tell them that I have experienced it.  I have had to process hateful anonymous words and be able to let them go.  It’s okay to feel it, address it and defend yourself when necessary and find a way to move on.

I will continue to pour my heart out on my blog and from time to time (like now) use it as therapy or my own personal diary.  Even to just help sort out the thoughts and feelings in my head, get them out of me and move on.  It is so worth it when I stay up (too late lately) at night reading all of your amazing stories and comments and feeling such a connection with all of you!

Photography by Sarah Martin Photography

18 thoughts on “How Being Cyber Bullied After Going Viral Will Make Me A Better Parent”

  1. Wonderful response! Your writing is overall inspiring, heartfelt, entertaining and at times comical. You are reaching too many people that are grateful to read your blog to allow the few bullies to stop you. Keep it up Joanna, you’re amazing!

  2. Don’t ever listen to those negative comments, Jo! Your work is amazing and inspiring! I’m so proud to have you as my sister and best friend!!

  3. Oh honey I’m sorry people had hurtful things to say to you. You are wise to just ignore the bullies. No one has any right to put another person down. Think of how many women were touched by your words!

  4. Like you and so many of the commenters of your previous blog, I am the mother of 7 month old twins (mine are 2 happy little boys with 2 older siblings.) I also have a blog, that I recently started, so identify with you there as well. Of course, as new moms we struggle to get our bodies back. I don’t feel this is in any way because we are shallow, or ungrateful for what our body was able to bless us with. I just want my pants to fit again. DO NOT let these anonymous jerks get you down. Being healthy and feeling good about yourself are wonderful things to teach your littles!

  5. I really appreciate your message and want to add just one thing. I think it’s important for women who have had any number of children to realize that our bodies do this amazing thing of producing babies and when we birth them we need to look after ourselves and appreciate our bodies. Why do we feel the need to diet and aggressively exercise to look like we were pre-baby. At some point we, as a society, need to recognize that our bodies change and we will not look like teenagers forever. Every scar, stretch mark and bulge is from an important step in our lives and we should be happy with who we are. I like your attitude of being kind to your body and just working on being healthy and happy in your own skin. That is how I feel too. I have four babies and number five is on the way soon. I just workout because I like it and try to eat healthy. I don’t diet or go crazy but enjoy myself doing things I enjoy like weights, kickboxing, walking and swimming.

  6. Joanna, you are AMAZING to show up and stand up for yourself with this inspiring story. I am not a mom however I have considered it in my journey and yes, body image was also on my mind regarding getting pregnant. I want you to know just how you have touched me in such a remarkable way. I am teary with Gratitude and absolutely positively charged. THANK YOU for showing such strength. You are absolutely and ridiculously BEAUTIFUL. Much Love and Light Bella! <3 <3 <3

  7. I haven’t perused your website, but read about your story on Yahoo! I just wanted to say you are an inspiration and it is far easier to be mean anonymously so definitely keep doing what you’re doing and keep ignoring the meanies. My friend told me that no one wants to be insulted by a stranger, so it’s understandable that it’s hard to ignore strangers. But You’re fabulous and I hope I get my body back like you when I get pregnant as well. Thank you for all you do!!

  8. All I can say is “WOW” you go! You are a beautiful person with a beautiful mind, body and soul. You are an inspiration to the whole wide world! 🙂
    Namaste

  9. I had twins nearly 1o years ago, at 21 , who cares what some faceless moron says online, you are rocking the Twin Mommy Power!

  10. Hey.. you can’t please everyone. I wish people realized that your blog is not to please, but to share your journey.
    I am a Mom of one who has had weight issueser all my life. Your post was a delight to read. Glad to know that I am not the only one learning to accept my body post baby.

  11. Hi Joanna, I am an older guy who unfortunately has never found the joy (and from what my friends have let slip), the terror, the angst, the frustration and back to the joy, of having kids. Your personality shines through in your photos I saw on Yahoo, and now on your site, and they only brought a smile to me, and good feelings. Your statements, and thoughts on your, (and other women’s) situation of bringing life into this world and all that goes with it are spot on. That the wear that life, (and I have to say, not only about bearing life, being a guy) are nothing to be ridiculed, or be ashamed of. Not sure if I rambled a little, but this story made me proud of you.!
    Mikey!

  12. I am really shocked you were cyber bullied – and so very sorry!! I read the post and had nothing but admiration for it – you were honest, but not self-pitying and not over dramatic. I thought it was so easy to relate to! You are brave and beautiful and I wish you all the very best. Looking forward to further updates too 🙂

  13. You’re incredibly graceful. I don’t have any kids, but read your post on Huffington and then this response from there as well. I have to say what I took from all this is that I need to try to be as graceful in my interactions as you were in this last post. Thank you.

  14. so glad I found your blog, it’s beautiful. I too am a Mommy blogger sharing my passions and sharing some personal tales. Looking forward to reading a lot more from you xx

  15. I don’t know perhaps you have already read the book “I’m OK. You’re OK”.If not It will help you understand that the bullies comments are not about you they are about them and their own insecurities and lack of self worth. The only way to help them feel better about themselves is to tear you down. It helps them level the playing field in their own mind. You are clearly OK and that is a wonderful thing! Congratulations!!! It has taken me years to be “OK” it was my goal to raise OK kids. Yours are very lucky to have you. Keep up the great work.

  16. First, thank you so much for sharing yourself with the world. As a twin mommy myself, it is refreshing to see someone honestly sharing the challenges of twins (the body, the breastfeeding, etc.). Second, it crushed me to see that you have gotten comments that you were “too proud” of having twins. I have gotten that comment myself, and it hurts! After infertility (all of our babies came to us thru IVF), I felt like my body was broken because it couldn’t do the thing that women are supposed to do. When my body was able to carry first a singleton, then TWO BABIES, it was so healing for me. My body did amazing things and brought me 3 healthy children. I was/am SO PROUD of my body and the things it has achieved, and I hope you continue to be proud of yours. Those naysayers haven’t walked a mile in our infertile shoes and then carried babies, so they don’t get it…and I’m so glad! Wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone…not even those who say such ugly things! Thank you for sharing your inner- and outer- beauty with us.

    1. Marge, I love your outlook on what your body has done for you! It truly is incredible what our bodies have done. If you really think about it, even creating one baby is such a miracle. So much has to go right. Unfortunately most of those nay sayers were mothers who had missed the message. I would have hoped they would see themselves in my message and appreciate what they had done as well instead of pull someone else down. I am stronger today because of them!

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