'Pregnancy fail' ... The photo that sparked a campaign of hateful comments.

'Pregnancy fail' ... The photo that sparked a campaign of hateful comments.

‘Pregnancy fail: Woman waiting for her husband to come back from Iraq after 12 months of being at war,’ the caption reads.

The ‘fail’? The woman is clearly pregnant, with ‘Welcome home Daddy’ painted on her bare belly. And it’s obviously not her husband’s baby – after all, he’s been away for a year. How embarrassing.

Well, not quite. The baby was conceived when Kendra Kaplan’s husband, Joshua, was on a two-week leave.

“A lot of babies are conceived mid-tour. A lot,” Kendra told WISTV. “The husbands come home, they’re home for two weeks, and what else are you going to do? You’re going to make a baby!”   

But such a simple explanation didn’t stop the negative comments from rolling in. The photo spread around humour websites on the internet as the Kaplans were ridiculed – Kendra for ‘cheating’ on her military husband, and Joshua for turning a blind eye to her ‘adultery’. Even now, three years after the photo was taken, the image is doing the rounds on Australian Facebook pages.

"She should be ASHAMED of herself," one commenter wrote. "He's away protecting her country, and this is how she repays him. He's got to dump her."

"That $%#@ is a disgrace," another wrote.

The comments got so nasty that the Kaplans did a paternity test so they could prove that their son – born healthy four months after the photo was taken – really is Joshua’s.

"I can say ‘This is your daddy, there are no ifs ands or buts about it’," the Wisconsin mum said.

The Kaplans say they’ve lost a few friends over their ruined reputation, but have stayed solid as a couple. And they have good memories of the day, as Kendra had taken along their scan photo in an envelope so they could learn the gender of their baby together.

“It just sucks that it was taken to that extreme," Kendra said, adding that people should know the truth behind the photo.

“I mean you see this picture, she’s pregnant, 12 months, I get it. But it’s not okay.”