"Albert Einstein said, 'I fear the day that technology will take on our humanity ... the world will be populated by a generation of idiots.'" That was one of the rude comments shared alongside this photo of Molly Lensing.
The pediatric nurse and mother-of-three from Illinois is the woman in this viral photo, which has been endlessly spread around on social media since last year. It paints an unflattering picture: a mother on her cell phone while her baby lies on a blanket on the floor, with another woman looking at her disapprovingly.
For many strangers who saw and shared the photo it seemed to perfectly sum up the problem with "Millennial Mothers" these days, women who are supposedly more interested in technology than spending time with their children. And commenters added lots of spiteful messages about Lensing to each new version of the post.
Except that's not what's happening in this photo at all. After a year of being insulted, dragged down and shamed on the internet, Lensing is ready to fight back against the strangers who have judged her. And she has a message for people sharing her photo:
"You have no idea what the story behind it is..."
The photo of Lensing and her two-month-old daughter Anastasia was snapped by a man she didn't know while they were waiting in a Colorado airport.
Along with being an invasion of Lensing's privacy (he didn't ask to take her photo) she says there's important context missing from the photo. It was taken during a "Delta computer shut-down" that left Lensing and her daughter stranded in the airport for almost a full day.
"Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch," Lensing told Today. "And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were." Ever since that day, Lensing had been living in fear that she would be judged by one misleading photo.
"I had recently started working on a labor floor," she explained, "and I was terrified of my co-workers or boss seeing the photo and comments and believing that I should no longer work with infants. Thankfully, this never happened."
Now she's sharing her story to save other mothers from being unfairly judged by strangers on social media.
"I ignore the photos and the comments and lean on those close to me who know the real me," she says. "I am powerless compared to the internet, and I know that I am the best momma to my girls and I know that I cherish them and am raising them the best I can."
Share this story to remind people not to shame strangers!