Britta Eberle never thought she could forget her child in a car. So when it happened, she decided to share her story and an important message about parenting mistakes.
“Today I did the unthinkable and forgot about her in the car,” she wrote. That day, Eberle and her family arrived at a friend’s house and went back and forth bringing in food and other items. In all the excitement, each family member wrongfully assumed someone else had grabbed Ada.
“But no one remembered her,” the mom wrote. “And she sat for about twenty minutes crying alone before one of us grabbed her. It was such a small mistake but it could have had devastating consequences.”
Eberle said her family is grateful they were parked in a safe place, it wasn’t hot outside that day, she wasn’t alone for very long and the toddler has already forgiven them and forgotten what happened.
“But it will be a long time before I forgive myself,” she wrote. “I usually think I’m a good mom. But I made a huge mistake today and I feel terrible. There are no excuses for what I did.”
Though she hesitated to share what happened, Eberle said she ultimately felt she needed to.
“I don’t want the world to know how badly I’ve failed. But then I think that I have to share this,” she wrote. “I have to own up to my mistakes. I have to tell the world how far I am from perfect. And how if I did this, anyone could do this. And that scares me but also makes me judge a little less and makes me pay attention a whole lot more.”
Eberle, who also has a 5-year-old son, concluded her post with a call to fellow parents to hug their children tight, realize how close anyone can come to making fatal errors and try to forgive people who make mistakes ― including themselves.
The mom told HuffPost she wrote post as a way to process her feelings, as she “was still reeling” from what happened ― and almost happened.
According to the child safety organization Kids and Cars, about 37 kids in the U.S. die each year in hot car-related incidents.
“I started thinking about how I never thought I was capable of making this mistake and how other parents have also had this experience and I decided that it was worth putting this out there,” Eberle said. “I wanted other parents to know that we all make mistakes, even when we try so hard to be good parents and to keep our children safe.”
The mom said she’s been moved by the mostly positive and supportive responses from parents in the comments section, where many shared their own experiences and mistakes. “These are really dedicated parents. They feel terrible but it’s also a common experience that no one talks about because it makes you feel so vulnerable,” said Eberle.
Ultimately, she decided to open up about what happened to raise awareness and help people understand how easily a change in routine could lead to a fatal mistake.
“I’m a very cautious, conscientious parent,” Eberle told HuffPost. “I never thought I was capable of doing something like this. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anybody.”