By Teresa Carlton of Mama Tries
A recent visit to see a neighbor’s newborn baby resulted in a local woman’s removal from several women’s and mothers’ organizations.
Lynn Jacobs, 32, found her name removed from the local chapter of her Mommy and Me class, the elementary PTA, and other parenting organizations after commenting that the newborn daughter of neighbor Cheyenne Drawl was “beautiful.”
“It was pretty shocking,” said Jane Folds, another mother present at the time of the incident. “At first we assumed that we misunderstood her, but then she actually had the audacity to repeat her comment. She didn’t even seem to think she had done anything wrong. Maybe if she had a daughter, she’d understand the gravity and carelessness of this remark.”
Drawls said that she and her family were slowly coming to terms with what happened. “My daughter has been in intense therapy for the last three days, and my husband and I are holding out hope that all issues will be resolved by the time of her 1-month check-up,” she said optimistically.
“The fact that she chose to comment on my child’s appearance rather than on her innate ability to nurse or the pervasive sense of calm one gets by simply being in her presence just shows what kind of person my former friend Lynn Jacobs is.”
When asked how she felt about the negative backlash Jacobs has received, Drawls nobly stated that she hoped other mothers would see this as a warning, hopefully saving another innocent newborn. “I mean, to say something so ignorant and sexist to an infant? It’s like she wants my child to grow up feeling like her worth is measured by her appearance.”
Most of all, Drawls expressed her concern for Jacobs’ own children. “I feel pity. I just think of her poor sons being raised by such a woman, and my heart breaks for them.”
When reached for comment, Jacobs expressed regret for what she says was a “careless” comment. “I just wasn’t thinking. I was visiting after an exhausting day carpooling my boys around, and I just blurted out the first thing that came to my mind. I’m ashamed to say that I was raised thinking that this word was acceptable. My own mother used to say it to me daily — as a compliment, if you can believe it. I had no idea how harmful it was, and I suppose I momentarily reverted back to that old mentality.”
The president of the local chapter of Mommy and Me that revoked Jacobs’ membership, Dawn Richards, stated, “We just can’t risk someone using such dangerous rhetoric near the children. So many of our mothers are still suffering from the deep psychological effects of so-called well-meaning friends and family using this term to describe them in their formative years. To allow Jacobs to continue attending Mommy and Me would be a slap in the face to the progress these women have made.”
Nancy Rogers, president of the Erie Beach Prep PTA knows all too well the effects that this type of behavior can have on a child. “We recently had a third grader with ambitions of being a scientist. A woman in the grocery store called her beautiful and she suddenly started listening to Katy Perry and asking to attend cheerleading camp. We didn’t even bother giving her the paperwork for the science fair the following year. She asked for it, but I assume she just wanted it so she could write her phone number down for a boy.”
Some in the community are showing support for Jacobs. Local therapist, Shane Horton, has offered to provide sensitivity training to Jacobs, explaining that it would benefit the entire community. “When you have someone in the community running around town using a word like ‘beautiful’ to describe a newborn, imagine what else they are capable of. I hope that working with Jacobs will make this community safer for our female population.”
There is no word yet on whether Jacobs has accepted this offer or whether her memberships to local organizations will be reinstated after completing the program.
About the Author
Teresa Carlton is a wife and mother of two mischievous little girls who, with a little help from sauvignon blanc and sarcasm, has nearly mastered the art of appearing to have her life together. Her blog www.mamatriesblog.com chronicles her life of doing it all with mediocrity. Her writing has been featured on Babble, HuffPost Comedy and Blunt Moms. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, if only to feel better about yourself in comparison.