When David Brinkley posted a photo of his wife, Alora, sleeping with their baby and 2-year-old over the weekend, he never meant for it to get as big as it did.
The Oklahoma dad wrote that he was surprised and bothered for days after hearing a friend ask Alora, "Doesn't your husband hate that? My husband would never let me do that," while talking about co-sleeping. So he decided to write a post to set things straight.
"I do NOT hate any part of what makes my wife the mother that she is," he writes on Facebook. "I would NEVER degrade or disregard anything that she feels like doing for my children. Do I have to squeeze into a small corner of the bed sometimes? Yeah? But my God how beautiful does she look holding my children? Making them feel loved and safe?"
The dad goes on to illustrate what makes the bonding moments between mom and baby so special.
"The thing is that our wives only experience these little seasons in motherhood for a short time. They carry our babies, they birth them, they nurture them and maybe while they are little they let them crawl into our beds and snuggle," he continues. "But eventually our babies get bigger (and) ... get 'too cool' for snuggles, so why would we as men want to steal a single second of this time from them? ... I just want to say that I am proud of the decisions my wife makes as a mom and I support every single one of them. I would never want to rob her of this time she has or these seasons that are in reality too short to not enjoy. Please respect your wives as mothers."
His post quickly reached half a million shares and the comments section became a battleground for the benefits and dangers of co-sleeping, a topic even experts are divided on.
“Co-sleeping is not safe. Children get rolled on all of the time, and this type of behavior creates children who can’t sleep on their own without touch!” criticized one Facebook user.
Others shared co-sleeping photos of their own and left encouraging notes like, “I love this. We did everything ‘right’ with our first child. Own cot, own room. ... We relaxed with numbers 2 and 3 and both co-slept till well past a year."
But the debate got so heated that David ended up deleting his entire account, though his words live on in a repost by Love What Really Matters.
"He deleted his whole account because some people were just being too negative and the amount of messages he was getting was just getting a little out of hand. He's a very private person and was just kind of overwhelmed but I love that it touched so many other women and mothers," Alora wrote when people realized the post was deleted.
The mom also took the chance to have the last word about the photo. Two days ago, she wrote a detailed post on Facebook defending her husband's words and her decision to sleep with her kids.
"This photo is one second in millions of passing seconds—it's hardly a full story," she explains. "This picture was taken when I was having one of the hardest days as a mom. I was tired, I was unshowered, I had a million things still to do and all I wanted to do was sit and cry and I was so emotional."
Alora went on to explain that this photo was a special nap time experience that was much different from their night time routine. During the nap, she laid down to nurse her daughter and her toddler son came in to snuggle with his baby sister. All throughout, David was supervising.
"As far as co sleeping goes that was not the point of my husbands post. That was only the reference he used to make a bigger point," she emphasizes. Instead, he was trying to encourage others to support their partners.
She tells readers that parents are just trying their best and are never going to please everyone.
"We are all aware that the list of things we can NOT do as parents is much longer than the list of things we CAN do. We are probably never going to do it all right but we do the best we can and go with our heart," Alora writes. "But I will not apologize or say that there is anything wrong with this picture. We live in a world where everyone is scared to be themselves—we are made to be afraid to speak from our hearts—afraid to be 'too' much of anything. It's impossible not to offend someone with a difference of life or opinion and that's so sad to me. I will never condemn or push my parenting or life views on anyone. You're not less because you see things differently and you're not 'dumb' for not agreeing with me."