A woman whose touching story of being pregnant with a terminally-ill child drew nearly a million followers on the internet has apologised after it was exposed as a lie - and her baby as a doll.
For two months, Rebeccah Beushausen, 26, kept readers updated about her pregnancy with "April Rose" and about how, due to her deep Christian faith, she had chosen to carry her baby to full term rather than have an abortion.
She said she was an unmarried mother whose child had been diagnosed with a chromosomal defect that can cause severe mental retardation and death.
Readers promised to pray for her and her baby, and sent letters and presents to a post office box that she had listed online.
But when she wrote about the child's birth and posted photos last week, one reader spotted the baby was actually a life-like doll.
Miss Beushausen, from a Chicago suburb, then posted a lengthy apology saying she started lying because she was dealing with "unresolved pain".
"I have suffered this type of loss, more than once, to varying degrees, and while the circumstances and the times vary ... the pain is very constant," she wrote.
She said she began writing the story as therapy but became addicted to the attention it generated.
"I lied to a community of people whose only intention was to support me through this time and that is wrong, and for that I am sorrier than you could know," she said. Miss Beushausen, who insisted she was a Christian, said she had received some presents.
She said she would give them to charity but denied reports that she had been sent money.
She had made an agreement with an advertiser but was never paid because the advert was not up on her blog for the required 45-day minimum.
The apology has done little to appease her critics. Jennifer McKinney, of Minnesota, followed Miss Beushausen's blog and helped promote it.
Mrs McKinney, who detailed her own hardships with a seriously ill baby on a blog, said the apology did not include enough information to explain why Miss Beushausen had lied.
"To be honest, I think she is far from recognising the true gravity of the situation," she said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
This article is from The Irish Independent