Its easy to see why a story like that would compel readers, especially Christians with an interest in parenting and the pro-life movement. And they came to her in droves; her blog got more hits in one day than, say, the Egg has received in its four years of existence. (We're not jealous, mind you; we're just envious.)
The story had a sad ending, though. Actually, it had two:
- First sad ending: April was born, survived a few hours, and then died.
- Second sad ending: It was all a lie.
The blogger, now revealed as Beccah Beushausen, posted a picture of her putative daughter, which a sharp-eyed reader recognized as a doll. Needless to say, fans have been outraged.
Now, look. We could jump all over this in some pejorative political way, and suggest that the anti-abortion movement is driven, at least in part, by the mentally unstable leading the gullible. (And in fact, we have long suspected as much). But deceit and credulity aren't restricted to any one of America's cultural ghettoes. Jayson Blair, anybody? James Frey? Bernie Madoff?
But, at least in this case, we are struck with sadness by the (apparent) psychological backstory of the hoaxer. It seems she did lose a son, a few years back -- a terrible thing, which we would not wish on our worst enemy. And it seems that she started the blog in an effort to deal with that trauma.
In fact, her losses and traumas may run deeper than the article suggests. Here's Beushausen's own rambling apology-cum-explanation. In it, she says (among many other things): ... I am no stranger to losing a baby. I have suffered this type of loss, more than once, to varying degrees, and while the circumstances and times vary (spanning from between my college years through just this last year), the pain is very constant.
We believe her. But we are wondering about "more than once, to varying degrees." What exactly does this mean? The LA Times mentions one loss, which is bad enough; but what are the others? Miscarriages? An abortion? (She does also mention having been "a young, scared woman who didn't know how to handle an unplanned pregnancy," which is often how abortion stories begin.
Anyway, it is a reminder not to believe anything one reads on the Internet. Why, for all you know, Father Anonymous himself could be a strapping six-footer with a lush baritone and Pietistic bent.