It’s supposed to be one of the happiest moments your life — but one bride in the United States has revealed the cruel insults she was forced to put up after sharing news of her wedding.
Hannah Aylward married Shane Burcaw in a backyard ceremony on September 4, taking to Instagram to announce their happy news last week.
Shane, who has spinal muscular atrophy, and Hannah have more than 700,000 subscribers to their Youtube account, Squirmy and Grubs.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a genetic condition that affects the nerves that control muscle movement. Muscles become weak and damaged before eventually wasting away.
But among the thousands of comments wishing them well, Hannah had to deal with cruel comments saying their wedding was “some kind of joke” and even that it must have been “photoshopped”.
“But for real thought … does she also have another partner for having sex with?” one brutal comment read.
“I’m saying this without any kind of apologies. I’m pretty sure that woman married him because if (sic) money and not for love,” another hurtful comment claimed.
“Some of us women will do anything and everything for money, even if it means putting up a front, pretending just to get what they want. No not true love.”
In response Hannah wrote on Instagram that despite documenting their relationship on Youtube for years they had still had to put up with people claiming it was fake.
“A few years ago, reading words like these was painful,” she said.
“For a while, I held onto the idea that once Shane and I were married, all the people doubting our relationship would realise it was real.”
Hannah wrote that she was “not that naive” now and had instead learnt to dismiss the hurtful claims made and focus on the positive impact sharing her relationship had.
“Shane and I continue to make content and share our story with the hopes of showing as many people as we can that disabled people are worthy partners,” she said.
“Comments like these only encourage us to continue!”
Her post attracted hundreds of supportive comments from Hannah and Shane’s followers, one of whom said they were “beyond sorry that you have to deal with this kind of disgusting commentary”.
“You two are the definition of love and if these people don’t see that than they don’t know what love is,” one person wrote, while another added: “I don’t know what possesses people to spew such hate. Congratulations on getting married, I’m so happy for you both.”
‘OUR MARRIAGE IS NOT FAKE’
In a Youtube video addressing the cruel comments, the couple revealed they had a legally-binding ceremony.
This was despite the risk that it could stop Shane from claiming government medical benefits in the future because of US laws.
The couple said they had been bombarded with people accusing them of not being able to get legally married because of Shane’s disability.
According to Shane, the couple’s inbox was “filled everyday with a dozen messages from mean people telling us that Hannah is only after my money or that she could never love anyone as disabled as me”.
“Know our marriage is not fake, but there are a lot of really unfair things that disabled people have to take into account when they get married,” Hannah said.
‘STRANGERS ASSUME HANNAH IS MY NURSE’
In an article for Today last year Shane wrote about how many people thought his then-girlfriend Hannah was his caregiver.
This one feels quite obvious, but you’d be shocked by how often strangers assume that Hannah is my nurse, my mom, my sister or my babysitter,” he wrote.
“Hannah and I were once checking out at a liquor store when the cashier said to Hannah: ‘Does this big guy want a lollipop?’”
Shane said he and Hannah had a “satisfying intimate life” and their relationship was “not special”.
“As our YouTube channel has grown, hundreds, if not thousands of couples in similar situations have reached out to us,” he wrote.
“It turns out, people with disabilities are in fact still human, with emotional wants and needs like everyone else!”