Blogger Fakes Baby's Death

Filed under: In The News

Rebecca Beushausen

Blogger Rebecca Beushausen lied about her terminally ill baby. Source: David Pierini, Chicago Tribune / MCT.

Imagine finding out that the baby you are carrying is terminally ill. Now imagine choosing to carry that baby to term, knowing she will not live. That's exactly what one Chicago area mom blogger recently went through. She chronicled her doomed pregnancy and home birth, and then told her readers that her baby girl had died a few hours after she delivered.

Heartbreaking, right? Here's the most heartbreaking part: The entire story was a lie.

Twenty-six-year-old Beccah Beushausen had captivated readers with her story of a single mother facing a difficult pregnancy. Her blog, Little One April, drew thousands of readers, who offered prayers and support and help. On June 7, when she posted about her baby's birth and subsequent death hours later, her site had nearly a million hits.

But when Beushausen posted a photo of Baby April, readers got suspicious -- the baby wasn't a baby at all, but a Reborn doll, a baby doll made to look exactly like a newborn. And that's when Beushausen's story began to unravel.

Click above to watch a video report of this story. Screengrab courtesy of ABC.



Beushausen, who started her blog in in March, had struck a nerve with Christian and anti-abortion bloggers; they saw her as a beacon for their beliefs. But now those same bloggers are questioning Beushausen's motives. Jennifer McKinney, the blogger behind My Charming Kids, was one of Beushausen's biggest supporters. But no longer. "I feel emotionally exploited," McKinney told the Chicago Tribune. "My readers were praying for her, and I feel guilty about that." McKinney says that in retrospect, Beushausen seemed more interested in driving up the traffic at her web site than she did in her unborn baby.

Her pretend unborn baby, that is.

What does Beushausen have to say about all this? In the wake of revelations that she lied, she initially deleted both her blog and her Twitter account -- but now she's posted an apology at Little One April. It says, in part:

"In my life I've had good days and I have also dealt with a lot of pain, including the sorrow over the loss of life, among a lot of other things. I don't say that to garner your sympathy or to lessen your anger. I say it because it is true. Was the loss present day? -- No. But true, none the less. In my "calendar past," perhaps, but still very much so in my present day to day.

"I lied and I am not trying to hide that, nor am I trying to minimize it. Worse still, I lied to a community of people whose only intention was to support me through this time and that is wrong, and for that I am sorrier than you could know.

"The #1 question I have been asked in the last few days is what I would tell people online who followed my story, who are now upset to find it is not true. - The simplest and most honest way that I can answer why I started lying (even prior to opening my blog) and started my blog is that I am struggling with my life. I have been dealing with unresolved pain that weighs heavy on my heart and which I have been unable to handle alone."

Beushausen goes on to say that she did not recieve money or gifts from anyone, and that contrary to public reports, she was not paid for advertising placed on her blog. She also says, over and over, that she is sorry.

But that's not cutting it with other mom bloggers, particularly those who really have lost a child, and who came to Beushausen's aid. Bloggers Angie Smith, Jennifer McKinney and Raechel Meyers, who befriended and supported Beushausen, are hurt and angry: "There is an issue that all three of us feel needs to be addressed, and that is the fact that we really want you all to know that we are hurting with you. The fact that we want to honor the Lord doesn't mean that we aren't experiencing anger, disappointment, and deep sorrow. Two of us have walked through this journey and lost our babies, and the third came closer than most people can relate to."

So what is the lesson here? It's difficult to tell right now. We've seen bloggers reach out to support each other in times of need, and it is devastating to see that trust abused. But it is also incredibly sad to think about what drove Beccah Beushausen to create this fiction, and to lie to so many people.

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