Lifting The Veil

When I “Met” Birth Without Fear

November 12, 2012
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The blogger and former Facebook page for Birth Without Fear is someone who I am not at all able to recommend to others, and I’ll be doing some posts to elaborate on that. This is just one of them, about the beginning. Alone it is the tip of the iceberg, but pairing it with the other future posts, helps to paint a fuller picture.

Back when I was on MDC (a troll cesspool, do not visit), it’s possible I may have interacted with her there without realizing. It may have been there that I first heard of her. She was becoming sort of a big deal. Her name is January, and she is known as “Mrs. BWF”. I think she may have only been around for about a year or so, or maybe that was just Facebook, but regardless she had a growing following.

After In Search of the Perfect Birth had already been written and published, I discovered that she had been battling the same trolls I had. Apparently she had made a lot of noise over her trials and tribulations with them, that they had put her through a lot, etc.  Since we had the same enemies, I thought, a-ha! Not only can we relate to each other, but maybe we could help each other. Surely she would sympathize with me, since I was in the same boat and like her, I was looking to protect my family.

I wrote her a note saying as much and she never responded. At the time I chalked it up to her being soooo uber popular that she may have been too busy for little old me, or maybe my e-mail wound up in spam, or maybe she suspected I was just a troll fishing. There were ways in which she could have verified this, as I believe I made it a goal to provide identifiable information to check my story, but if I did she did not act on it and respond to me. I was left alone to face the trolls. Specifically I’d heard she had a list of them and I was hoping we could compare notes and help each other stay safe.

Later as I came onto Facebook and started growing the page for the book, I would like her stuff, share her stuff, etc. After all, she was the big kahuna in the world of birth on the internet, blogs, and facebook. At that time most of her content was still Fan Questions and support only. This was before she started having an identity crisis. This was also prime ground for the trolls, so she was constantly on guard for their nonsense. They can’t stand our brand of information being exchanged.

At one point she opened the Wall for reader shares, of their children. I (as my page) posted one of my sweeties, but it was not visible. I did it twice. Not visible. I wrote her an email asking if she knew how that was happening, and she actually responded to this one, essentially saying she had no idea what I was talking about. I told her it was okay and not to worry about it. In the back of my mind, though, I was suspicious. It could be a Facebook fluke, but could she be intentionally trying to quiet me? I gave her the benefit of the doubt despite my suspicions. Since then I have noticed that when other pages post on my page, it is not visible to the general public, so it could be a weird page-to-page Facebook thing.

I started to notice that she was willing to respond to other pages but not me. She gave shout outs but none to me. She would only bother responding to me or liking a comment of mine if it were directly in support of her. One time in particular she was boo-hooing that the trolls were so mean to her and had called her fat and ugly and I told her absolutely not, she was none of those things and not to listen to them and to keep doing the “great work” she was doing. Yes, at that time, I did not know her that well. My support sounds like thousands of others who have the constant task of building her up so her ego can thrive, and it’s a meritless activity… but I digress. This was an example of something of mine she troubled herself to go ahead and press “like” for. I did exist, if it was to give her accolades. It didn’t matter if we had similar views on birth or if I ever came and offered a perspective maybe she could appreciate. My value to her was in whether or not I could stroke her effectively. I served no other purpose. I was not valuable as a colleague, as a woman, as a mother, as a human being. What I had to say was only valuable as a devotee.

The one-way street was exhausting, and I grew tired of her shenanigans. I didn’t expect her to do back flips for me but she had almost completely ignored me publicly. I became discouraged with how invisible I was to her when over the months I had given her so much love and support. It was not a reciprocal relationship. I had noticed that she had liked my page with both her personal page and even BWF, yet she only seemed interested in observing. Funnily enough, I would share something and sometimes it would wind up on her page later that day. I of course would never get so much as a credit or a shout out.

Okay, so my page is a book. I use it for exposure, the main purpose hopefully being sales. That’s true. But, what I do on that page has taken on a life of its own. It is totally voluntary on my part, I don’t use it to spam or anything, and most of what I do is just help get info and ideas out there. Some people have no idea that I’m even a book. Every now and then, though, if I’ve been around someone for a while and I have been an active and honest participator, I stick my introverted neck out there and ask if someone would be willing to share my giveaway or other promotional activities we are doing there. I’m sure I must have once or twice asked BWF and never got any response that I can think of. In fact, one time directly after I asked if her readers would be interested in a birth related freebie, she started talking about how she will only be doing shout outs for paid sponsors and that she was sick of people asking for her to promote them. On one hand, fair enough… she is getting paid via her blog, after all… it’s all business, right? and she must get lots of unwelcome requests often for shouts out. On the other hand, Eureka moment– I started to think that this $$$ was the key. All along she had been wanting payment in exchange for her support. She wouldn’t just look into a cause to see if it was worthy and tell her fans about it, would she? (Pay attention, this will come into play in later posts.)

So I was done, officially. I didn’t care how popular she was, she was never just going to give her love and support. Whether this was a monetary issue or something else entirely, she was not yet able to show love for me despite how long I’d been backing her, and now she seemed to be flat out ripping me off. I was this tiny page of only hundreds of fans and she had tens of thousands, so you’re allowed to be baffled. I was. In any case, I removed her from liking my page– both her BWF page and her personal profile. I wasn’t going to waste energy on her if she was going to pretend I didn’t exist, and frankly if she was going to keep ripping me off I wanted to a) give her a “break” from my page, to minimize the amount of copying, and b) not even be aware of her misdeeds. I of course unliked her page as to be less aware of whether or not she was doing this.

One more thing. FB relationship fail issues aside, I think the final straw was how I saw the ugliness of her personality shine through. She treated fans poorly, like little children she had to chastise, and for merely offering a different perspective. I could understand her being burnt out on true trolls, but she was starting to treat everyone as if they were a nuisance to her. She would bring up controversial topics and then tsk tsk her fans for bringing “drama” just for partaking in conversation! I mean, come on lady, what did you expect? Examples include her love of Ron Paul (“this is not meant to be a political debate!” Um, so why did you bring it up? Sure it’s your page but obviously some people might be confused when a birth page starts talking about presidential hopefuls and then insists that this shouldn’t cause a debate. Politics and debate, whoda thunk? And honestly most of the uproar wasn’t even about whether or not Paul was a great guy, but it was the confusion about why he was being discussed off topic on this birth page. It was understandable. You could answer politely, or you could blow up at people.), circumcision, and abortion. She would bring up a heated topic and then if someone gave a calm opinion which she personally had distaste for, she would treat them like insolent children and even threaten banning. I know trolls, I know troll names, these were not trolls. So yeah, after I saw her create the “drama” and then immediately start accusing her fans of it, I was officially done with her. I know when I start certain topics on my page, I’m going to get a variety of heated opinion. If I can’t take the heat on any given day, I stay out of the kitchen. She seemed to bring shit up just to have the opportunity to talk down to people, knowing what the responses should be like, literally telling them to behave, seemingly just to feel morally superior. She did it to be a jerk.

She had left the realm of helpful info, helpful question and answer format. She was testing the waters to see what got more hits. Controversy brought attention. Her erratic and even manic behavior became more noticeable. She apparently had PPD but her numbers were growing and so did her obsession to stay on the top. She “left” facebook for a “break” frequently, often returning very early from her intended return date. When my friend Sammy at The Skeptical Mother hit the scene, BWF started ripping HER off, bad and big time. Sammy’s style was mainly uplifting and beautiful imagery, sprinkled with her occasional Dr. Amy-outing blog post, and her numbers were skyrocketing. BWF obviously saw her as some kind of threat. She would even start publicly vaguely accusing others of stealing from her on the same day she’d rip from us. She started giving one-word name credit to stuff we had just posted, which was odd for her (but something I have been known to do), and this would of course appear that someone had shared this with her personally, but since it was so unlike her it came off as an alibi to her ripping off others. So she would completely morph and change her own style according to whichever way the wind was blowing, be it from Sammy or me or trolls, and in it she lost her message and the core and purity of her page and intentions.

I already wrote more than I intended, but this was the beginning. More on other happenings and dealings to illustrate the negativity of BWF later, because I truly cannot and do not recommend her to fans, regardless of how much I do believe in the concept of “birth without fear”.


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