One Canadian woman who proudly puts family first said she never thought a candid image of her blended family would go viral, and that the overwhelmingly positive response from social media users has taken her by surprise.
Two months ago, Madison Holley and fiancé Cody Pietz welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Waylon. The new mom, who shares son Cade, 3, with her former partner Tyler Mcilveen, quietly took a photo from behind as her toddler happily walked hand-in-hand with his father and Pietz, Good Morning America reports.
In his other hand, Pietz carried little Waylon in an infant car seat, as the blended family left the hospital together, 24 hours after the new baby was born.
“Just because a relationship doesn’t work out between two people DOES NOT mean the relationship with the child shouldn’t. I would never take that away,” the Ontario mother of two wrote in an Oct. 3 Facebook post published by blog Love What Matters.
“Every child needs a mother and father figure and my son Cade just happens to get some extra love,” she continued. “Be civil and co-parent. If you made the child together it’s both your job to raise the child.”
In the days since, the woman’s opinionated take has gone viral with over 148,000 likes, 46,000 shares, and thousands of comments to date.
Holley said she never expected for the emotional picture to go as far and wide as it did, and that other blended families have since shared with her photos of their own unique crews.
“We were leaving the hospital after Waylon was born and my son was holding his dad’s hand but he also wanted to hold Cody’s hand,” the parent told People. “I just found that super adorable because they both have important roles in my son’s life.”
“I guess this isn’t something you see every day. I wish that it could be that way for more people.”
“That photo captured all the love they have for my son. It was a really nice moment,” she continued, exclaiming that the sudden viral fame “blew my mind!”
In a larger sense, Holley credited some of the smooth co-parenting dynamic she shares with Mcilveen in caring for Cade to a good relationship with his current girlfriend, Karin Gray.
“She’s the reason why everybody turned out the way it did. She helped us all be civil. She helped me to be able to even speak to Tyler again after we broke up,” Holley said of Gray. “Not only did me and her build a friendship, she’s been awesome with my son.”
Gray also got Holley, Mcilveen and Pietz together at Easter to “talk about how we could make it work,” Holley said, an all-important meeting that Holley is truly grateful for.
“So many people actually struggle with co-parenting. I guess this isn’t something you see every day,” she mused. “I wish that it could be that way for more people.”
Moving forward, Holley said that she hopes their story can inspire other blended families to put any differences aside and embrace a shared commitment to their children.