While Kiernan's April 12 Facebook photo received encouragement from other mothers, a handful of trolls decided to bombard her post with negativity. One person even commented that the anchor didn't "even look like the same person" in her at-home photo.
"I just kind of lost it," Kiernan told TODAY. "And then I thought, this is ridiculous, I am not this object that people see on TV all the time."
The anchor responded by posting a side-by-side photo the next day on Facebook, to show a contrast between her professional photo and the photo she took at home.
"The reason the [comment] made me so angry is that it went on to imply that I am a 'fraud' or somehow disingenuous because of the stark contrast between those two photos," Kiernan told Us Weekly.
She paired a sarcastic message with the Facebook photos, writing that yes, in fact, they were "not pictures of the same person."
"The woman on the left is well rested, spent two hours on her hair and makeup, had a professional photographer take her picture (and photoshop it, I'm sure), and is in the 'glowing' second trimester of pregnancy," she wrote on Facebook. "The woman on the right got two hours of sleep (maybe), hadn't looked in the mirror, took a selfie, did not put a filter on it and is covered with spit up and drool from a teething and very crabby baby. You are an idiot if you think these are pictures of the same woman."
Her second post went viral and earned praise from other mothers, and Kiernan said the experience changed her for the better.
"I'm in a really different place now than I ever have been in my life," she told the Des Moines Register. "I just feel stripped down and I don't have it in me to fake it anymore and I don't want to. I am at a point and I have been through enough stuff that I am just like, this is me. If you like me, great. If you don't, well, that's fine, too."