Sunday, June 14, 2009

make-believe babies


You've probably already heard about April Rose, the blogging scandal du jour. The blogger, who called herself "B" or "April's Mom," claimed to be an unmarried, devout Christian, pregnant with a little girl who had been diagnosed as terminally ill. B claimed that her doctors had urged her to terminate, but she had chosen to continue the pregnancy.

Thousands of people read and commented on the blog, praying for April Rose, sharing their tragic stories and even emailing photos of their own children dressed in pink to show their support. B wrote that she was planning a home birth, so she could spend the most time possible with her daughter and, on June 7, after reporting that the baby had miraculously been born alive, though gravely ill, posted a photo, supposedly of the newly-born April Rose. (e/t/a: click here to see the photo.)

The photo turned out to be her undoing, since one of her readers immediately realized that the "baby" was actually a so-called reborn doll, a doll that's been painstakingly (and, some would say, creepily) enhanced with painted skin, rooted hair and a weighted body to look and feel almost exactly like a real baby. Some reborns even have a magnet in their mouths, so they can "suck" on a pacifier. In fact, reborns are so realistic that, the story goes, a police officer once smashed a car window to rescue an unconscious baby left in a car seat, only to find it was actually a doll.

The blogger turned out to be an artist who runs the aptly-titled See Through Me Studio and while, admitting the April Rose story was entirely fictional claims to have actually lost several babies. Though the blog has been taken down if, like me, these kind of hoaxes fascinate you (and, no, I do not slow down and gawk at car accidents and train wrecks) you can, at least for the time being, find the deleted posts about April Rose here (click the "cached" option) and here and learn more about the fraud and how it was discovered in these articles

Anyway, aside from the obvious issues, the whole thing makes me wonder about the following: though I'm sure you're far too honest to do anything of the sort, if you were to create a fake blog, what would it be about?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Life with the man I love but am not with.

ewe are here said...

Ugh. What a horrifying, icky thing to do...

As for creating a "fake blog", I'm not sure I have that kind of energy. The most "fake" I do is imaginary conversations for the picture sequences of my boys from time to time, all in fun.

G$ said...

When that blog popped up on LFCA, I added it to my reader and told my husband, as cynical as I sound, I am waiting for it blow up as a scandal. I hate that I was right.

If I created a fake blog it would be a blog about how I got pregnant the first month I tried, how my baby didn't die and how I went on to have 2 children and live in the burbs, happily ever after. Oops, I just threw up a little.

k@lakly said...

She makes me ill and she is ill. I hate seeing her get anymore attention from people than she already has. No one who has really lost a pregnancy would ever do what she did. I just can't believe that.

No time for fake blogs here...barely enough for the real stuff!

Rhea said...

That is sick!!!

Hummmm fake blog. How about my travel around the world!!! but I do not have enought imagination to pull that one

Kristen said...

So much has been said about her already but I just find it all incredibly sad. But I am more sad for the people who were duped out of their time and energy to support her when everything was a hoax. Babyloss is hard enough without needing to wonder whether you can trust others in the community ever again. Hopefully, one bad apple won't spoil the bunch in this instance. As for her comment that she has lost babies, I find it hard to believe that she would outright lie about something so sinister if she had in fact experienced a devastating loss.

If I had a fake blog - like I have the time when I can barely keep up with my honest one - it would be about cooking or baking. Neither of which I can do (maybe marginally) but aspire to be. Or maybe I would write about life as an alter ego - single and childless. That would be more of a challenge.

Kristin said...

I don't think I'd waste the time creating a fake blog. Its way too much effort for something that isn't real.

Mrs. Hammer said...

I stubbled on your blog because i was curious about this april rose stuff and thought you and your readers would also like to see this link as well. Apparently on Sunday "B" posted a blog appology at her site: http://littleoneapril.blogspot.com/

LawMommy said...

Considering some of the stuff I have going on right now...I might make up a fake blog about living in suburbia where nothing remotely interesting ever happens.

The evil part of me might post mommy recipes that are destined to fail. Does that make me a bad person?

Amanda said...

As for a fake blog, I think I'm like most of your readers -- I don't have the time! Not only did this lady have the time to keep up with her blog on a regular basis, but she had the time to invent a backstory and other characters and tweet about it and have a facebook and so on and so forth. I'm exhausted by all she's done -- and deeply, deeply disturbed.

When I saw the shocking apology, I wondered if maybe you suspected her in particular when you asked about hoaxes before. I knew the April Rose had so many skeptics, and I wondered how I could have been so naive, particularly when you probed the subject not so long ago. Was this a surprise to you as well, or did you know?

As I was looking around on the internet for more information on the story, I found a link to another blog called "Down with the Trolls." (http://exposetrolls.blogspot.com/) The entire thing is dedicated to exposing people who pull such hoaxes and it's a much more rampant problem than I realized. Not only do people like this Beccah lie to have interesting blogs, but people are committing crimes, harming their living breathing children in what's been coined "Munchausen by Internet," just so they have blog fodder. Can you imagine such sick people?! I'm so incredibly disturbed.

Aunt Becky said...

I may be one of the few people that feels sorry for the owner of the April Rose site. B or whatever her name is (wait, is it Becky? No, I think I read her name was Becky. Which, I should add, is obviously not me) not because I don't think that what she did was awful--I do--but what sort of person FAKES a dead baby for attention?

Someone very, very fcuked up.

If I had a fake blog, I'd be a sassy trophy wife with silicon injected everywhere. With my PhD in astrophysics.

niobe said...

Amanda: That particular blog wasn't what sparked my earlier post, but I admit that when I first noticed the blog (I think it was mentioned on some other blog I read -- or maybe I saw one of the "praying for April Rose" badges), I, like G$, was rather sceptical.

But, to be honest, since the vast majority of the blogs I have doubts about turn out to be perfectly legit (or at least haven't been proven to be chock-full of made-up stuff) I thought I was being overly cynical.

Deshaine said...

Personally, I feel it's the responsibility of the reader to judge for themselves if what they are reading is real or fiction. I read her blog from day one. I was astonished at the number of followers and comments she would get with every post. I found her writings curious, at times, but she seemed to "logically" explain away all of my doubt (and I'm a doubter). I have never experienced babyloss, so I have no frame of reference; with that I had to take what she wrote at face value. Niobe, I'll be honest, when I was reading the archive of your posts, I found some of what you said/did curious, as well. I have commented about that before and another posted about how they knew you personally and how you were absolutely real as well as your history. She ("B") had the same reassuring comments. As you can see, I am still here. (Whether I believe your posts to be real or fiction is not important.) I am still here reading daily, commenting some, exchanging e-mails rarely. I am still here because (as Beccah) you intrigue me. If the writings stimulate my brain, bring to light alternate views/opinions, cause me to soul search... then whether the information is 100% accurate is not important to me. The writings I read change me emotionally, spiritually and (rarely) physically, sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse.

I have neither the time, desire, nor creativity to spin the web of a fake blog. I currently have two blogs that I haven't the time to update as often as I would like and probably need. I'm a photographer. Not a creative writer. Sorry.

Tash said...

I barely have time for the two blogs I do write on (both public! yo!) -- I have no idea how people do more than one blog, tweet, and hold down a job. Not to mention the added time of having to invent stories and keep things/dates straight. wayyyyyy to confusing and relying on too much organization for me.

There must be creative writing sites out there, are there not? can't people create stories in full and dump them someplace else?

Like I've said before: these stories really irk me because I feel like they invalidate my experience. As if it's so minimal, someone could just dream it up in a few afternoons and wham, there's all I've ever felt. She really didn't address that in her apology -- how this hurts people outside the range of those who spent time commenting, investing time, and sending her things. I really think she's clueless.

Christina said...

I would do something like the anonymous attorney-the law student who wrote a blog like a partner--soooooooo funny. It would be silly. Of course, like everyone else-I think the fake dead baby blogging is sick.

christina.apronstrings said...

"christina" is apronstrings. God forbid someone think i am fake commenting.

Artblog said...

I cant think of a fake blog at the moment because after reading all that and the cached bits, I'm left speechless!!!!!!!!!!!!

Betty M said...

Not enough imagination or time to fake blog.

I never saw her site or the badges but she sure is a very ill woman to have done that. Though the mother faking a child's cancer for donations has happened a good few times so I suppose we should not be surprised, sad , but not surprised.

erica said...

I realize that the internet is fair game for all sorts, but the April Rose blog incident makes my blood boil. To use something so hard, that is so horribly real for some people, as a way to get attention - I don't see how anyone could do it.

If I had a fake blog, it'd be as obviously fictitious as I could make it, and fun, and as lighthearted as the person I used to think I was - probably about my life as a deviously clever cat burglar.

Melissia said...

I am not sure that I could muster the realism for a fake blog. I stopped writing mine after a few months because it seemed that all I did was whine about my health and the death of my daughter many years ago. And to be honest, with so many more recent and fresh losses out there in the blogsphere my angst seemed disingenuous even to me. I mean good God shouldn't I be over it already?
Perhaps that is the guilt that comes from having other living children when so many other don't, or from having survived for so many years after the death of your child, that your grief seems no longer valid; but to construct a fake blog, to fake grief that really is beyond the pale.
But to answer your question, the reason we read blogs, isn't it because we are reading autobiographies in real time? At least that is why I read. I want to know what people are doing and thinking and how they are living, so a fake one is to me, like reading fiction, which is a totally different genre. Something I read, but am aware that I am reading when I pick up the book.

Aurelia said...

I'm just ticked that various people keep saying she is mentally ill, and you know, everyone who does something wrong isn't mentally ill. Some of them are just jerks.

Like she is.

I think what disturbs me the most about her blog or anyone who fakes a blog about this is that it might inspire someone to change their mind about terminating a pregnancy based on a fake story and not reality. Many of these pregnancies are extremely high risk for the mother and carrying on with one is not a simple matter.

It makes me sick to think about a woman possibly losing her life or risking her ability to have more children in the future based on a fake weblog. If a woman makes the decision to continue a pregnancy based on her own medical doctor's assessment and her own belief's and values that's one thing, but on some faked up little mary sunshine story crap? *Speechless with anger*

Anyway, I can't imagine writing a fake blog about anything, because really how does it end? Blogs go on and on and on. I can imagine writing a fictional book about something someday, but then, that would be clearly marked "fiction" on the shelf and I would still never ever put fake medical information in it.

angie said...

i agree with k@laky. it makes me mad that she is getting what she wants--attention. i mean, she made up a sick/dead baby for attention, and now, she is getting the attention for her trying to get attention. and yet, i am also guilty of reading about this crap, because munchausen by internet fascinates me, even though i learned about it here on niobe's blog.

funny. i dropped her comments and love, and lindsay had to remind me of it. i just plumb forgot. i'm an idiot.

if i had a fake blog, it would be a hilariously cheeky blog about my alternative life with a live baby and no belly flab.

Rebecca said...

I've been following the drama for a week because I love internet drama. As long as I'm not involved. Cold? Possibly.

Maybe some people think my posts are untrue. Maybe people think my dad didn't really kill himself last April. How much proof would be enough, you know?

My Reality said...

I don't have the energy or creativity to have a fake blog.

I like the trainwreck aspects of these kinds of things. It really makes you wonder what makes people tick. I am sure that statement will make people wonder what makes me tick, but whatever.

Quadelle said...

I don't have the time to read the fake April Rose blog, let alone write a fake blog.

I do, however, think at times about starting a completely anonymous blog that I tell NO ONE about (i.e. not even my nearest and dearest) so I can talk honestly and stridently about stuff without hurting people's feelings, which is precisely what I did last week. By accident. *sigh*

But it's enough keeping up with the regular blog, the one that is meant to be updating all my nearest and dearest, particularly those who are literally thousands of miles away.

Hannah said...

I hadn't heard about this one. I think I was happier not knowing.

Since I barely have the energy and time for a real blog, I don't know about a fake one.

Or, I could pretend to be a superspy and write about my amazing adventures.

~Denise~ said...

This woman amazes me. How awful.


As for a fake blog, it would probably be all about the hot sex I'm so not having.

painted maypole said...

oooh... a fake blog kind of excites me, but then I think of how much work it would be to come up with a fake story to keep telling... and really, shouldn't I just write a play or a novel or something with all that creativity and time?

Hope's Mama said...

I think I am the only person who hadn't heard of this girl. The first I heard of it, was when it all blew up in her face. Then I started seeing the hate-blogs about her.
I don't have time for a fake blog. But most days, I wish my real blog was fake. Oh how I wish my story was one big sick and twisted lie. Sadly, that aint so.

Monica H said...

I would have a blog about a happy, perfect family. Probably not too hard to fake.

lifecanbeashit said...

Well i found the whole thing really off BUT to answer your question, I have trouble keeping up a real one!! lol
No time to do a fake one.

Hugs
xxx

charmedgirl said...

fakers really don't surprise or confuse me anymore. i remember being very confused about fakers when i was pregnant with the three. since then, i realize some people will say ANYTHING for attention. ANYTHING. multiple pregnancies, dead babies, incest...ANYTHING.

if i were to write a fake blog, i'd probably want to be an escort with a PhD in anthropology.

leanne said...

I hadn't read about April's mom before. I find it rather cruel that someone would perpetrate such a fraud. Then I wonder what kind of effect these fake blogs have on the trust level in the babyloss community. It makes me sick.

Oh, I haven't even taken the time for a real blog so a fake blog... well, I like Hannah's idea of writing about life as a spy. Oh, but I'd give myself a spy partner... a Matt Damon lookalike.

Bon said...

i only heard about the blog when it all blew up.

my thought, when i read the article wherein she (corroborated by her father, apparently) mentioned a previous loss of an infant, was that perhaps she'd never gotten the support or processing she needed to cope with that experience, and so it was all coming out...albeit in a tacky, manipulative way, but...i'm not entirely sure that i believe no one who'd lost a child would do that. not if she saw it as a coping mechanism and the "other people" out there more as fictions.

mind you, she'd still be an asshole, either way.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the ones who followed her from the beginning. She really put a ton of time and thought into making it seem real. And it pisses me off that in the Chicago Tribune article, she talks about how she started the blog for a few close friends, and one lie led to another. Bull#%$%! The name of her blog was the name of the fake baby, and wouldn't her "close friends" know that it was all fake? Come on! Anyway, you can tell I'm a little worked up by that. Also, she talked about losing her son. It was verified that she actually had a very early miscarriage. Not to say that miscarriages aren't difficult, but she did not make it out to be a miscarriage in the article. Just saying. Hmmmph! :)

Caro said...

That doll is creepy. As for a fake blog - I hardly have time for my real one at the moment and it's taken me ages to catch up with all the ones I read since getting back from Italy.

red pen mama said...

This is the first I've heard of this scam, or of Internet Munchausen [sic]. I'm a little disturbed. Weirded out but the whole thing.

I have to admit laughing at "unmarried, devout Christian, pregnant". I mean, hello?

anyway, if I were to have a fake blog, it would be filled with violent stories of my life as an international assassin. And probably some hot sex.

ciao,
rpm

CLC said...

Did she at least apologize? And why would she do that?
I am so disgusted I can't even think about your question right now.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard enough time trying to explain my actual baby loss in a way that sounds authentic to other people, b/c some of the things that happened were just out of the norm even for people who lost babies. I can't imagine trying to make up something. I also hate the amount of pity our losses inspire, and I can't imagine making something up to make people feel sorry for you -- the reality of that is very unsettling. It makes relationships very unequal feeling, like growing up in poverty, and being forced to attend an affluent private school. I would never seek that on purpose!

docgrumbles said...

I just learned about this today while catching up on my blogroll. It just amazes me.

I can't say I would have a fake blog, even just a hypothetical one. I think those who have one do it for the attention. I don't blog for attention as much as I do it just to get things out of my head and into written form.

Anonymous said...

internet is an ideal medium for projection. we're easy marks.

i used to create fake online dating profiles. had amazing e-mail conversations with people ordinarily far removed from my scope. it was entertaining but probably too strange to confess.

-Shamela

Anonymous said...

first of all i dont agree with what she did but what most dont understand is that as a woman we are genetically made to care for children and those dolls do in some ways give u that feeling...i have lost two babies myself and it is a experience i cannot explain and although possing is wrong some women do go somewat insane after a miscariage. My reborn doll will never replace my lost children but holding it n cuddling it makes me feel like for one second maybe thats how they would have felt if they was still alive.

but if i wrote a fake blog it would probably be about how my life turned out so great when supposibly god ceated us all equall...bout how my father doesnt hit me n my mother stays home every night. i am 15 years old and i lost my first child at 13 because i didnt kno any better...my second one was 3 months ago and finally my teacher asked to take me to the obgyn...so next time i hear some shit about how a woman with an ill baby is refusing to give it up even tho she knows its gone anyways that not my problem...everyone has shit they gotta deal with...they need to suck it up and go on...maybe then this world would be a better place