Courtney Stewart who photographed Down’s Syndrome son playing inside a washing machine was made to feel the world’s most hated mum after photo went viral… story in the DAILY MAIL…
Forced to move out of her home as she was too frightened to go out.
Courtney reveals family photos and asks: Does my little boy look as if he isn’t loved?
But in her first interview since the photo of her little boy trapped in a washing machine went viral, she tells how she is a brilliant mum
When Courtney Stewart, 21, innocently posted a photo of her son, Caleb, 2, online playing inside a washing machine, she had no idea of the havoc it would cause.
The photo quickly went viral after a ‘friend’ reported it to the Police.
Subsequently a short, soundless video emerged showing Courtney vigorously jumping up and down with Caleb on a bouncy castle – with critics claiming she was being too boisterous.
Incredibly Social Services were called in but they like the Police did not raise any concerns with Courtney over her parenting.
However by the time Courtney contacted me in an extremely articulate and well written email, she was very upset and desperate to set the record straight.
In fact during a game of peek-a-boo Caleb had climbed into an unplugged washing machine, the door was never shut and she only took the snap to show friends how full of beans he’d become.
And if the video’s sound hadn’t been removed for some reason (to make it look more shocking?) then anyone would have heard Caleb laughing at the rough and tumble.
But in her first interview Courtney told how posting the photo and video has ruined her life. And she revealed how far from being a cruel mother, she is a most loving one.
Certainly speaking to Courtney – and as a real-life journalist I have spoken to a huge number of young mums – she comes over as a most loving and sensible mother.
Doctors suspected she was having a Down’s Syndrome baby when she was pregnant but it wasn’t confirmed until Caleb was born. But while other mums might have rejected their child, she immediately bonded with him.
Sadly Courtney’s relationship with Caleb’s dad finished shortly after he was born. But despite only being 21, Courtney has devoted herself to him and it has been hard as Caleb had to have emergency heart surgery shortly after he was born.
However she was with him all the time – even expressing breast milk to feed him throughout the four months he was in hospital.
Although he has a pacemaker, she does not treat him as a disabled child – she sees him as Caleb and he lives a completely normal life. He communicates using a sign language called Makaton. When other 21 year olds are nightclubbing she has been there for her son all the way.
She does regret posting the video and photo online and had she had any idea of the reaction it would cause she never would have done it. At no time was Caleb harmed or distressed in any way at all. In hindsight it was a huge error of judgement but it was taken totally out of context.
Courtney is now in a new relationship and has a six month old daughter as well. After having Caleb it took guts to have another child but she would never have aborted a Down’s syndrome child and she was happy to just go ahead and have another baby.
Her new man is great with Caleb and no things aren’t easy but she makes a happy family life for all of them. Caleb simply could not have a more devoted mum.
Courtney wanted to do an article to set the record straight.
She has no idea who the friend was who reported her but she hopes they understand the devastation they caused.
I am not sure what sort of person wants to hound a young mum with a disabled child the way Courtney was hounded – but they must be sad individuals.
I would add it is easy if you are anonymous to make nasty judgemental comments online but would you do so if you were identified? I only hope as Courtney does that the bizarre ‘friend’ who reported this and those trolls who made her life such a misery are happy.
Courtney says: “Thank you so much Alison for writing the truth. Since my story appeared in the Daily Mail I have felt so much better and I feel so relieved to get my side of this story out there at last!”
Her story has also appeared in Bild, Germany’s biggest national newspaper and Courtney has since appeared on ITV This Morning!
And she is now considering a further television offer from the US.
Want to set the record straight? If someone has spread nasty malicious rumours about you and you wish to put your side of the story, contact me for free and confidential advice.