Jennifer Campbell is a devoted mom of three, health expert, and parenting blogger, and just like the rest of us, she is far from a perfect parent. The only difference is that she has the guts to admit it.
Campbell penned a beautiful letter about her “failings” as a parent in the hope it would inspire others to be more compassionate to the parent’s of Winnipeg toddler Chase Martens, who tragically died after wandering away from his family home.
Many people have been quick to judge Chase Martens’ parents by saying that his death was preventable, and that they should have been paying closer attention. We all know it’s not that simple, and Jennifer decided to list off several examples of how it could have just as easily happened to her family.
Her story starts by telling about the time a neighbour found her toddler in the middle of the road. At the time, Jennifer was busy nursing her 6-week-old, and at last check her son was safely playing in their fenced in yard. Scary? Absolutely. An intentional move on her part? Of course not. That didn’t stop her neighbour from lecturing her and criticizing her skills as a parent though.
“I cried of course. It makes you sick to think that something serious could happen to your child, especially in YOUR care. It’s called an accident. And despite an accident being an accident, mother’s will still blame themselves for it and carry the guilt for life.”
She goes on to list several other close calls that many of us can relate to:
“A year after that we were back living in Canada and our middle son (clearly the escape artist) was found wandering around outside in boots and a t-shirt in -20C/-4F weather. Six months after that we were in a busy downtown area and I lost my oldest son. He just biked away from us (some of you might remember that story). A few weeks ago I walked into the kitchen and my youngest (now two) had a butcher knife in his hands and was trying to cut a block of cheese on the floor.”
We all know how fast toddlers move. One second they’re watching Paw Patrol, and the next they’re flushing your keys down the toilet. We’ve all “lost” kids in grocery stores, or even in parks. We’ve all felt that horrible feeling in the pit of our stomach when panic hits because our child may be in danger. Luckily for most of us, things usually turn out just fine. Sadly, Chase Marten’s parents weren’t lucky. Far from it. But, they are lucky to have an ally like Jennifer Campbell who was brave enough to admit what we were all thinking, and fearing: “that could have been me.”
Read her post in its entirety below, and support your fellow parents. It takes a village, after all.