After YouTube star Brittani Boren Leach opened her heart online after her 3-month-old son Crew suffered brain damage and died, she received a number of hateful messages online. Leach took to Instagram on Sunday to explain why she continues sharing her journey on social media. Leach's husband, Jeff Leach, also noted that not every comment they have received has shown "pure intentions."
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On Sunday, Leach shared a screenshot of a very long comment she spotted on Instagram criticizing her for continuing to share intimate moments of grief in the days since Crew's death. The person even asked "Is it real?"
"I know it is so hard to take pictures or family moments or even worse, hard for me to imagine going through so much grief and pain then posting it on Instagram or social media," the person wrote in part. "I just can't understand how someone can even have pictures taken in sad moments like this."
Leach responded by defending her posts, noting that she wanted Crew's life "to be known."
"I guess I always wondered this as well," Leach wrote. "How could a mother or father possibly take pictures or video at a time like this? How do I have time to get on social media, a few moments each day? As much as we want to erase this from our minds, we don't want to forget it either. Jeff takes our pictures, and I take his."
"I want pictures laying with my baby," Leach continued. "And I want his life to be known. To mean something. The only way I have any amount of strength right now is because of God. If you haven't been in my shoes, consider yourself blessed, and go watch TV because this is MY real life. As for me, I'm about to get vials of MY blood drawn for his organ donation since he was exclusively [breastfed]."
Jeff also shared a statement on his Facebook page about the response the family has seen.
"My wife & I have received an influx of followers on various social media channels. We appreciate everyone who wants to connect with us to offer their love & support," Jeff wrote. "Unfortunately, there are also people out there who do not have pure intentions when they follow or comment on our family. Only they can explain their motivations."
"The last few days have been a nightmare for our family," Jeff continued. "We love our son with all our heart. We didn't ask for this. We don't expect anything from anyone. We are not prepared for the attention we are receiving."
On Dec. 26, Leach revealed that Crew was found not breathing on Christmas Day and was later diagnosed with catastrophic brain damage. Leach shared photos of every step of the process of saying goodbye to Crew on Instagram, including a photo of herself crouched by a hospital door with her head between her knees.
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"It's all just too much," Leach wrote on Sunday. "All of it. I know God has a plan for this, but I'm really really mad at him right now. I cry behind the bathroom door while Jeff holds me, because in the room over everyone else gets to laugh and go on with their lives, and it makes me so angry. Running tests on my sons body to see how his organs are functioning before they take them. Pumping breastmilk just to pour it down the drain. Hearing a baby cry. Seeing a baby his age. Shopping Nordstrom for the dress I'll wear to my son's funeral. It's all too much. I'm sorry to vent, but this is my heart. And I need all the prayers to get through this."
Leach said her son's organs will be donated to "save another child's life." On Monday, Jeff confirmed Crew is being taken to an operating room.
"Crew is scheduled to go to the operating room shortly," Jeff wrote on Facebook. "Please pray for him and the babies who are receiving his organs."
Leach is a popular YouTube user with more than 136,000 subscribers and 10.4 million views. She even has a bigger presence on Instagram, with more than 681,000 followers on the platform. A GoFundMe fundraiser helped raise more than $112,000 for her family.
Photo credit: YouTube/Brittani Boren Leach