Friday, June 12, 2009

Beccah Beushausen Admits 'April's Mom' Hoax: Opportunities for Forgiveness

I hadn't heard of "April's Mom," the heartwarming story of a single mother bravely "giving birth to a child diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb," as a Chicago Tribune article put it.

"April's Mom" had a great deal of support, including nearly a million hits on her blog.

And, people were praying for her and her baby.

Just one problem: The whole thing was a hoax.

Beccah Beushausen, a social worker near Chicago, wasn't pregnant.

She also doesn't say why she started the "April's Mom" hoax. I think we get a little insight in what the Chicago Tribune writes:
"...'I know what I did was wrong,' she said. 'I've been getting hate mail. I'm sorry because people were so emotionally involved.'

"There's no evidence that Beushausen benefited financially in any significant way or committed any crime.

"Still, Russell said she doesn't understand how anyone could create such a convincing tale that preyed on other women's emotions.

"Beushausen said she really did lose a son shortly after birth in 2005. She started her blog in March to help deal with that loss and to express her strong anti-abortion views, she said.

"She had expected only a handful of friends to read it, but when her first post got 50 comments, she was hooked.

" 'I've always liked writing. It was addictive to find out I had a voice that people wanted to hear,' Beushausen said.

" 'Soon I was getting 100,000 hits a week, and it just got out of hand,' she said. 'I didn't know how to stop. ... One lie led to another.'..." (Chicago Tribune) [emphasis mine]
The hoax unraveled partly because Beushausen put a photo of a fairly lifelike doll on her blog, and said it was the baby. A dollmaker, Elizabeth Russell, recognized the doll.

Hurt Feelings and Hate Mail

Beushausen has been getting hate mail. I think I can understand how people who had become emotionally involved with "April's Mom" would feel hurt.

Beushausen seems to realize that she's done something that isn't right:
"...'I know what I did was wrong,' she said. 'I've been getting hate mail. I'm sorry because people were so emotionally involved.'...

"There's no evidence that Beushausen benefited financially in any significant way or committed any crime...." (Chicago Tribune)
I feel sorry for the people who believed the "April's Mom" hoax, but I have some sympathy for Beushausen, too.

Losing a Baby isn't Fun

My wife and I were looking forward to the birth of a child several years ago. On February 4, 2002, my wife went into labor, and the two of us set out for the hospital. On the way, my wife reported that the child moved very rapidly, and then was still.

Elizabeth Marie, based on information from the medical staff, died sometime before midnight that day. She was born shortly after midnight. We nearly lost my wife in the process.

It was a very unpleasant experience.

I'm not making an excuse for Beushausen: but suggest that perhaps she was dealing with moderately intense feelings, and that this should be considered when thinking about what she did.

Lying isn't Nice, and You Shouldn't Do it

" 'A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving.'..." (Catechism of the Catholic Church (2482)) In other words, if you think it's an hour after noon, and tell someone it's one o'clock, and it's really two, you're not lying. You're just saying something that isn't true.

And yes, intent does matter.

It looks like Beushausen knew she was lying. And, knew it was wrong.

The Catholic Church teaches that it's important to tell the truth. There's a whole article in the Catechism on the Eighth Commandment: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Exodus 20, 16)

There's also an article on forgiveness.

I don't know what Beccah Beushausen is going to do, to deal with her elaborate lie and its consequences. And, I don't need to.

I do know that I need to remember the standing orders Catholics have, to forgive those who hurt them. In the case of Beccah Beushausen, it's easy - because my feelings weren't engaged by her hoax. But I am quite sure that I'll have an opportunity to practice forgiveness: sooner or later.

When that opportunity comes, I pray that I will forgive, instead of harboring ill will against another.

I may fail.

It's easy to say "forgive." From personal experience, I know it's hard to do.

Related posts: In the news:


Michelle said...

Unfortunately the "son" she lost was also a lie. It was confirmed by multiple sources, both friends and family, that she never had a baby...ever.

She was also involved in a scam a few years ago where she picked out adoptive parents for the baby she needed to place for adoption...she wasn't pregnant then, either.

I believe she has very serious mental issues and I hope she gets some help and is held accountable for the emotional distress she has caused.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Thanks for your comment. I don't have the resources to track down those multiple sources - but it's plausible, given what got into the news.

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.