Hi, this post today is from Elizabeth, In Search of the Perfect Birth. I’m going to tell you about how the Dr. Amy “Fed Up” troll clique always attempts to take ownership of the term “loss mother” and uses this and the concept of child death as a means to emotionally manipulate.
The reason this particular point is important to discuss is because you may occasionally be fooled into thinking these individuals are reasonable and that, despite your differences, civility can be had. However, this all goes completely out the window the moment the subject of loss comes up. Not only do they think they have ownership over the status of being loss mothers, they think they are the spokespeople for all loss mothers, and use it as an excuse to behave in all manner of perverse ways all over the internet. Their irrationality towards their identification with death and their demand that everyone put their own lives and needs aside out of respect and sensitivity for them (above all and everyone else) sends them into a frenzied state where they will not listen to reason. Incapable of comprehending the other comments, they will skim and misconstrue the feelings of others, and then lash out with all levels of vicious attacks to paint the other person as nothing short of a monster. Only the people who truly read and pay attention to what is said will understand what the hell is going on here. In a minute I’ll take you through some pics and we’ll show you what we mean.
First, some background. Not long ago Dr. Amy did a blog post that was nothing but pictures of babies who had died, where she insists that– here are the horrific results that “we” all want to cover up from homebirth. A page called Banned From Birth Pages posted it and others commented that people like The Skeptical Mother never share these things. It started a long conversation where Sammy attempted to explain that stories can be shared, links can be shared, trigger warnings can be added– but that simply a post with nothing but dead babies was not something most of her readers wanted to see. This caused much outrage, but even our friend Michelle (a loss mom herself) defended Sammy, because she knew that sensitivity to women during pregnancy for possible triggers is paramount. No one was talking about ignoring loss or these babies, or sweeping them under the rug. All anyone was ever advocating is being cautious and careful, using our discretion for each case. We run birth pages where women primarily want information and positive influence. We know our audiences and we know our messages, and our only concern should be addressing those to our best ability. This group, however, feels that catering to their wants is the only way to be sensitive to “loss mothers”. (I keep putting it in quotes because, again, they think they are the spokespeople and ultimate judges for how other people need to behave around others.)
Here you can actually see Sammy ask the question. One of the commenters, outlined in red, is a member of the fed up group. Notice how she mentions that “dead” is a very honest word. Note that she says parents have a right to share (none of us disagree with this). She seems to say that sharing somewhere else is appropriate, but it isn’t clear. A commenter right below her is typical of many of the comments, which expressed that sharing painful photos with no other explanation or warning would be insensitive.
Directly next to that, note an example of Sammy sharing a loss story link, with warning. We all agree that this is appropriate and sensitive, and up to our discretion. Sammy and I have both done this in the past, and in fact, many birth pages do this. We are regularly accused, however, of not.
Here are some more samples of comments on that thread, just to get a feel for Sammy’s audience (who represent a good sampling of the general public), and their tastes and needs.
The reactions on the left are some of the first comments on the thread. The reactions are typical of the majority of the thread. Please note how no one advocates hiding loss stories; most would just prefer warnings.
Also, seeing dead babies is not teaching something to pregnant people that they “need to see”. Every mother’s (pregnant or not) worst fear is losing a child. Pregnant people planning a positive and healthy birth don’t need help imagining the worst. It is something in the back of the mind of every mother. These women aren’t “not facing reality”, they are making a conscious choice to try to stay positive, for the sake of themselves and their baby.
The women on the right column are specifically loss mothers who said themselves how difficult it could be– even for them– to view a dead child.
There were also plenty of comments calling for the sensitivity for the mothers who had lost children, that we all think of how they must feel, that we were selfish to hold our healthy babies and not be willing to look at the “angel babies”. These were in the minority, however, and a lot of them were from the trolls themselves.
Now a word on “dead babies”. Above, it was described by a “troll” as “honest”. It is honest. The reason such a seemingly insensitive term is being used is because there is a difference between a “baby who has passed”, or “babies who have died” and “dead babies”. Not only are the euphemisms more lengthy, but in this discussion they are deceptive. It would be one thing to see a picture of a baby who later died, and another thing to see a picture of an actual dead baby. If we can’t speak frankly about what these photos are, then you have no right to dictate who should be made to see them. In other words, you want strangers to look this issue in the eye when you yourself are not willing to. And a reminder that we ALL agree that loss stories can and should be shared. The argument was about how.
Any other day, any other conversation, most of us would not use the words “dead babies” so loosely. To not beat around the bush and for the sake of honesty, clarity, and simplicity in this already complex topic, it was the easiest way to communicate.
To a loss mother, their “dead baby” photograph(s) could feel like all they have to celebrate the life of their child. No one challenges that this would be a treasured personal item. We all agree with that and no one begrudges anyone that. However, to think that the whole world sees what you see when they look at your child is incorrect thinking. You can wish the whole world would see your precious angel, instead of a tragedy, or a grim reminder of death, but it isn’t so. For a pregnant woman doing everything she can to not let this happen to her, she deserves the right to decide if this is the kind of thing she could easily cope with seeing. Again, let’s be honest. Any picture of a corpse at any age, no matter how beloved to you they were, is disturbing to most people. That may sound harsh, but this is the reality of how human beings react, and it’s not any more disgusting or wrong than you cherishing your pictures of your babies. Like one commenter had said above, you might just have to be in that situation yourself to truly appreciate it the same way.
The term was both criticized and praised by trolls. Here are some clips. This is just a montage, with some commentary. This took place on the train wreck of hysteria, Banned from Birth Pages.
Then I came in and had this to say. Everything I said on the thread was pretty blunt, and nothing I said was about ALL loss mothers or how I would treat ALL loss mothers. This particular group of women and their behavior is entirely why my comments were in this tone. My attitude is entirely towards them for their manipulation and selfishness toward fellow human beings.
They demanded I stop using the phrase and “show respect”, even though most people from both sides of the argument had been using the phrase the whole time. This is one way in which they choose to manipulate. If they are bothered by your POV, they will attack one aspect of what you say, preferably if they can make themselves appear morally superior. Then they all gang up on and join in on the attack. Logic has already disappeared– it is about being dominant, now.
This person insists I should lose a child of my own, because then I would know how it feels. 4 Likers are Marlo Williams, Tanya Rene Curran, Monica Barnes and Maria Miller.
This next photo was Michelle’s response. It shows likers that were not visible in the previous photo, because apparently they retracted their likes.
Yet, when it comes to “dead babies”, troll Kim Marie had this to say. It’s a good summation on this subtopic.
And of course, Tara (the one who hated “dead babies” and told me to shut up), and BFBP, both came in and “liked” the comment.
One thing you should know about this group: offensive is in the eyes of the beholder. If they want to be offended by you, they will. If one of their own says it, they are more than willing to overlook or even agree. It’s hypocrisy and mob mentality at its finest.
When getting into any dispute with these women, there is almost always some aftermath and backlash. Even after I had left (because they were beginning to put words in my mouth and construe things any way they chose), they made new posts just to keep digging into me. Here is some of what that contained, and why it mattered.
You can see that the truth doesn’t get in the way of good gossip.
Please note how noble the Raptors always claim to be when confronted (contrary to the activity here), and please note how members of and supporters of Stillbirthday were involved.
The lies don’t end there. Watch Bambi and Heidi get into denial mode over their notorious mistreatment of Michelle.
Banned from Birth Pages in the past HAS admitted that they saw Bambi attack Michelle, and when I called her a pathological liar, they agreed. This is a swift turn around from this kind of behavior:
No, I called Bambi crazy. But just like usual, they spin it to try to make their enemy look like a horrible person. These ladies are no longer friends and now Lindsay is probably inclined to agree with me about Bambi. So, just know that there ARE witnesses and you can’t always believe what these individuals claim. They will twist anything to suit their purpose in the moment. Hysteria, mob, manipulation.
Here they are bitching about how horrible I am, seemingly forgetting that I was not the only person to say “dead babies”, and most of them totally unaware that my comment was directly in response to Monica, who specifically stated that seeing live babies had been disturbing to her.
Unfortunately, with this group, there is never such a thing as Compromise. Just when things begin to look civil, emotional manipulation and lies rear their ugly heads. Because they want you to know– THEIR feelings matter more than yours. Their experience trumps yours. Their pain is more powerful than yours.
And you are to shut up and respect them, whatever they say or do, or you hate loss mothers everywhere. Even if you are one.