Audrey Loving of Newport News, Virginia, was 18 when she met Corey Henry. The pair dated for a while, and things seemingly went so well that they ended up getting engaged. In fact, Henry became the father of Loving’s child. But the wedding never went ahead, and eventually the pair split. So how would Loving react when Henry turned up with a new girlfriend who would be spending lots of time looking after her baby girl?
In 2012 Audrey Loving and Corey Henry welcomed a baby daughter into the world and named her Riley Grace. However, Loving and Henry encountered some problems as a couple and soon realized that the relationship wasn’t destined to last.
So having struggled with the logistics of their long-distance relationship and some other disagreements, the couple made the difficult decision to go their separate ways. The fact that Henry and Loving live in different states meant that Loving took full custody of little Riley.
However, while this arrangement can often be fractious for newly-split parents, Henry was still able to see Riley. In fact, the little girl would often stay with him during weekends.
But eventually, something kind of predictable happened: Henry started a relationship with another woman. How would Loving react to this news? Would she get jealous? Would she get spiteful?
After all, this “other woman,” Whitney McGraw, would be spending a lot of time with her daughter. So would Loving end up feeling threatened by her? While it may seem surprising to some, the answer to all of these questions was no.
Why? Because according to Loving, she wanted to teach her daughter “love.” Loving felt so strongly about this that she even took to the internet to express how she felt about McGraw looking after her daughter.
Indeed, Loving posted a message on the Love What Matters Facebook page, where it quickly gathered momentum and soon went viral. What she wrote has, in fact, garnered more than 120,000 likes and over 3,000 shares to date.
The post focused on a cute photograph of McGraw with Loving’s daughter, Riley. Alongside the image, Loving posted some heartfelt words. She began, “This is my daughter’s father’s girlfriend. The sweetest thing ever!” Many other moms might have found it too difficult, awkward or painful to react in such a way to a photo of their child bonding with another maternal figure.
Loving’s post, though, went on to express her gratitude towards McGraw. She wrote, “I’m super thankful for her because when she visits her dad, she feeds her, takes care of her, buys her gifts and basically takes care of her like her own.”
Furthermore, Loving highlighted how difficult it must have been for McGraw to enter a child’s life in this way. “No-one said it was easy trying to be a mother to a kid you didn’t have,” she wrote.
Loving’s post went on to criticize other moms out there who insist on being spiteful towards the “other woman” for no good reason. She urged these moms to resist pushing the new woman away, especially if they are genuinely trying to take good care of the child.
The crux of her message was a warning. She explained that if moms choose to push the new girlfriend away too much, then she may simply get fed up and leave. Then what the child might be left with is someone terrible or, as Loving put it, an “evil stepmom.”
Finally, Loving’s post contended that having two moms is not necessarily a bad thing for a child. Why? Because all it really means is that more people love them. “The more people that love her I’m happy!” she wrote.
The Facebook post would suggest that Loving has accepted her family’s situation with real maturity and grace. And it’s perhaps one of the final sentences in her post that most effectively summed this up. “I would never make her [McGraw] feel like an outsider; I’m extremely thankful for this girl,” wrote Loving.
Talking to TODAY in November 2016, Loving explained that her attitude was derived from her own life experiences. “I come from a blended family – I have stepsisters, half-sisters,” she said. “Growing up, I heard the negative talk about the ‘other woman,’” she recalled.
So Loving didn’t want Riley to overhear similar sentiments about McGraw. “It’s not fair. Kids are smart,” she explained. However, that’s not to say the women’s relationship was smooth from the beginning.
Loving described to TODAY how she was perhaps “a little crazy” when McGraw first started taking care of Riley. She would be slightly overprotective by writing lists of things for McGraw to remember. But now the two seem to have a good relationship. “I’m at peace knowing [Riley is] being taken care of,” she said.
Loving’s mature and understanding reaction seems to have struck a chord with many people in similar situations. She told TODAY that she had received thousands of messages from other parents. Summing up her philosophy, she added, “Just be a grown-up and put the kid first. Teach the kid love.”
While many ex-partners might not be able to show such understanding and maturity in a similar situation, Loving has proven that it is possible to keep things amicable. Even if you didn’t picture things working out this way, the main thing to remember is that extra love for any child is never a bad thing.