Over a year ago, a story about Kendra Kaplan, an Army Wife who was humiliated in a very public manner, was brought to my attention. I almost wrote about this situation, but in the end decided that this military family would not benefit from more coverage, so I let it go. But Kendra is now telling her side of the story, and what she's been through has been simply awful.
Two years ago, this photo of Kendra Kaplan's painted and pregnant belly was selected as one of Life's Photos of the Year. The caption which accompanied the photo read:
Ayden Kaplan, 3, spots dad-- Staff Sgt. Joshua Kaplan--while standing next to his pregnant mother, Kendra, in Fort Carson, Colorado. Kaplan had just returned from a year in Iraq. Inside Kendra's hand is an envelope with information on the gender of their unborn baby--she'd held off on opening it so she could find out with her husband. (It's a boy.).Military families reading this would understand, but someone posted the photo on a popular satirical website and it went viral. The implication was that this was a baby-daddy fail. Or, as they described it, a "pregnancy fail." Poor SSG Kaplan. He's been away for a year fighting for our country and he comes home to a wife who is pregnant with another man's baby. Yikes....
Not that it's any of our business in the first place, but other than the fact that there's this little thing called R&R, there are also other explanations for Kendra's pregnancy. Fertility treatments, anyone? Putting that aside, I recall reading comments about this photo in various venues and feeling nauseous. One of the happiest moments in the lives of a military family was made into a farce and a military family was humiliated. All over a failed implication.
At the time, I had no idea what Kendra was thinking or feeling, or even if she was aware that she and her unborn baby were the butt of a joke. But if she was aware, I imagined that it would be tough on her and her family, which is why I chose not to call more attention to the story. Turns out, she was aware. And it was tough. Kendra spoke out last week in this article:
The comments got nasty and haven't stopped since. The truth, Kaplan says, is Tomas was conceived on her husband's two-week leave.This went so far that Kendra got a paternity test to keep the critics at bay.
"A lot of babies are conceived on mid-tour. A lot," said Kendra. "The husbands come home, they're home for 2 weeks, and what else are you going to do? You're gonna make a baby!"
Kaplan says it got uglier when the picture got copied without the original description that spelled out the story of conception.
It's definitely missing from websites that describe it as "pregnancy fail" -- websites that do manage to print her full name.
"It's my name, they're saying my first and last name," said Kendra. "That carries on."
Kendra worries about when Tomas is old enough to read and get teased for what other kids might find on the Internet.
It was enough for Kaplan to get a paternity test that she says she wanted to make her point to the world and her son.
Unbelievable! Read the entire article here. I'll let Kendra close us out because really, this sums it up perfectly:
"It just sucks that it was taken to that extreme," said Kendra.
It sure does.