Lifting The Veil

Online Bullying Club for Mothers: TWWS

June 17, 2013
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“We aren’t really trolls!”

Trolls With Wooden Spoons is a forum that is more or less a club for women to get together on the internet and bond over judging other women and mothers. It’s not just that, it’s so much more. It’s a place to plot and scheme. Small plots involve just deeply hurting feelings of people they’ve been quietly watching, or on nice days ripping their lives to shreds for entertainment without inviting them to witness it. Bigger plots involve stepping into the personal lives of their targets in various menacing ways.

Some people are only familiar with either this group, or the Dr. Amy trolls. Not everyone is familiar with both. The line blurs sometimes, however, and sometimes the same members are found in each. At the end of the day a troll is still a troll. Even if each group thinks they are special or different from the other, their behaviors and reputations are pretty much the same.

You’ve heard the common refrain– “disagreeing is not trolling!” Of course not, but that’s not why you’re trolls. From Fed Up with Natural Childbirth, the snark site Trolls With Wooden Spoons is brought up.

^ Also, Trolls are smart even though there are homebirthers there, and others (including Stacey Westover Martin) say that they are part of that forum, too.

It’s kind of interesting, since there have been problems between these groups of trolls before. (See: Trolls Collide). It even gets referenced over here, at Mama Tao (run by Dr. Amy trolls). It’s worth noting that chronologically, this image \/ actually takes place before the one just above.

Likewise, TWWS often complains that Dr. Amy and her trolls are far more cruel and closed-minded than they could ever be. Neither one seems to realize just how similar they are to the other. They are all in total denial of their level of malice.

The next couple of pics below show ongoing snark on one particular woman they found on a parenting forum. The woman has had an unassisted birth. They pool resources and try to sleuth how to interfere with her life, including future births.

How do people come to be trolls? Sometimes they start off as women who’ve been targeted and come to look up to the bullies. Here’s troll Zilch’s introduction.

Zilch (aka Charlotte Cohen) would go on to be a very involved troll, doing activities such as using Facebook to message the friends and relatives of people she was targeting, as a “warning” to them. Some people so admire abusers, they want to copy that “strength” and become abusive themselves. She won’t tell you who she was when she was being mocked, but she assures she can troll with the best of them.

“I don’t appreciate being called a troll!” we often hear. Tell us one more time, please, how you are not trolls.

Trolls of any kind really just crave a sense of belonging, and in their warped minds this is best done when getting together with others to tear other people down. Needing a group that feels supportive is something we all feel from time to time. If your group is dedicated to tormenting strangers and you call that fun, you’re a troll and a bully. You’re wrecking real lives. You don’t even really know the people you choose to harm. You earned your title. Your group isn’t actually helping you, it’s enabling your sick behavior. Get help.


Anj Fabian: Exception & Expectation

May 30, 2013
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Anj is a noticeable Dr. Amy troll, participating in all the usual haunts. Anj is found on Fed up, “Banned” pages, etc. She can be fairly mild compared to some, but is still active and bothersome. Here we’ll touch on which qualities she sometimes brings to the troll group(s).

This shot shows a conversation about Dr. Amy deleting people. She “almost never” does that! Anj makes note of why he was the exception.

Yes, Myrisa. It can be tiresome to have others with different agendas never let up. Anyway, the reason why this post was interesting was that whenever these individuals rag on birth groups and pages, the common accusation is how full of censorship it is (and also, how you will never see this on an Amy blog or page). Yeah, usually if you can’t adhere to basic etiquette, but who cares about that? Just keep checking off the scorecard at Banned From Birth Pages and you too can be a cool kid. Exceptional, exceptional. The double standards are mmm… exquisite.

Here she admits that there are other ways of knowing things, other than taking courses or getting degrees. This is regarding her own knowledge on a particular topic, and how she gained it.

The hell you say! Well, clearly Anj and her topic of interest are the exceptions. (Or is it, things which make her uncomfortable are?)  Most people within her group (perhaps even she herself) would normally consider statements like the above to be totally ludicrous. It’s good to see she has an open mind, when it comes to herself, though.

Here, Anj attempts to add a troll blog to our list. Way to throw your friend under the bus. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Anj was not happy that Jeevan was the exception here.

Anj and “Yet

Anticipation! Suspense! Anj loves the word “yet”.

“No reviews yet.” Yeah, so if you want to trash the new edition of a classic, hated based on regurgitated ideology, hint hint– now’s your chance. Amazon reviews are the only things keeping mothers and babies safe on the internet anyhow.

“I haven’t met the woman. Yet.” Because no identity stalking intimidation on the internet is complete without implied threats. Keep them guessing. Is Anj around the corner? Maybe. Nice touch.

Anj, many may mistake you for a normal troll, but we say you are full of surprises. The biggest and best surprise of all would be if you would quit using your time for trolling with hate groups. Please?


More on Trolls With Wooden Spoons

May 30, 2013
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Who needs soap operas or reality TV? With the vastness of the internet, the world is your oyster.

That’s how Trolls With Wooden Spoons feel.

Their forum was created as a frustrated off-shoot from MDC (mothering.com). Feeling overrun by the “woo” (natural parenting), they needed a place to bitch and moan. Being a mother can be so dull, after all. They needed a place where trolls could be trolls.

These women are very harsh on things they have a distaste for. It’s like a no holds barred competition of who can be the rudest, foulest, judgmental woman towards other women and mothers. Why women who hated “woo” were every interested in Mothering Magazine or mothering.com in the first place is a point oft overlooked. Some say they were “steeped in the woo” and then “detoxed” with the help of TWWS. Others simply seem to like floating to any forum as long as it fills the hours in their days. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Hey, as long as you have some place to log into on the internet where people can tell you what’s okay to think, right?

The following pictures show examples of just some of the snark coming from TWWS. Most of the snark had been and still is based off of users of the MDC forum. They had a huge thread crash back in early 2011 which cost them some of their most disgusting behavior.  Therefore, some of their most offensive antics are missing.

(These ones start with concern for someone and devolve quickly into something a little disturbing.)
twws1

twws4(Next they discuss their favorite “trainwrecks” of the MDC forum, with much joy. The same user from the previous posts is also discussed among them.)

Yep, such a snoozefest you had to remember her and discuss her in your best-of. Pathetic.

Snark and frustration in and of themselves are not crimes. Everyone has an opinion and having a place to express that with like-minded folks is understandable. What is most worrisome about TWWS are the following things.

  • People stay members of (a) forum(s) they despise merely to try to cause disruption in sub-forums, find entertainment “material” (other people’s lives) to bring back to their lair, or find things to be pissed about.
  • People inform others about when they are being discussed. They are then directly or indirectly invited to TWWS. Sometimes this is done under the guise of compassion, and with a link provided. It would be mean enough if they kept their negative thoughts only to themselves in their forum (you have to be a member and log in to read), but to then purposely try to hurt others or engage them in being shredded by a large group of mean-spirited trolls is totally different.
  • Obsession and amusement. They would sometimes have 50 page threads all dedicated to how much they hated one particular user. Their comments would be full of speculation, lies, gossip, and some of the nastiest things human beings could ever say about other human beings (especially those they’d never met). They often “break out popcorn” to enjoy disputes or entertaining lives at the expense of their victims. They will follow a person’s every move just to report back, and will try to locate them in other internet places in order to track the “adventures”. They will go on to remember this individual for years after they started in on them, having a whole timeline as one might recall a favorite television series. A lot of times their opinions and recollections are mish-mashed from several people they lump in together who must have seemed similar to them.
  • They do not extend the same courtesy to others that they would like for themselves. They don’t want people to be judgy towards them, yet they feel free to judge others. They want a forum where they can have a home to snark on natural parenting, call those forums oppressive in their attitudes and moderation, but they aren’t willing to let natural parenting folks have a safe place for forum– free of their judgments and mind games (which skillfully make it past moderation, plenty).
  • The worst: interference in personal lives. Examples? Women use internet forums looking for help with a situation. Maybe they are having money or relationship troubles. The trolls get close to them at whatever forum they find them. The women are obviously already desperate to even be posting on an internet forum asking for advice from strangers. The trolls send private messages offering to help somehow (“I’ll get you a bus ticket to come stay near me for a while, and get away from that abusive deadbeat. There’s a job waiting for you here.“, etc.). As soon as the victim gives up ANY identifying info (address, full name, kids names, significant other and friends names, personal facebook address, etc.), things take a dark turn. Women get CPS at their door. Sometimes children are removed from them, even if temporarily. Women spend the night in jail from trumped up “concerns”. Others have their small businesses tampered with. Some have had to close due to trolls successfully scaring off all their customers and ruining their reputation. Phony bad reviews are left for people. The list goes on.

The harassment goes well beyond a single forum and begins to follow the victim, whether just on the internet or in real life.

The trolls will have many aliases, sometimes even within the same forum, just to play these games. These come in handy when pretending to be different people or in case of being banned from a forum (which is almost inevitable).

You may say that people with common sense who are careful can never be truly hurt by the trolls. It is fair to say that common sense goes a long way in protection. However, if they take a personal interest in you, they sometimes go to great lengths to keep affecting your life in whatever way they can manage. Despising people also comes quite easily to them. You’re a game and they’re bored. They’re also great “concern trolls”, acting like they care about your issues, your life, your children, and this justifying their interference. When they can be heartlessly cruel in one moment and switch it to pretending to want to help in the next, and when their whole forum was based off of and continues to specialize in hate, the act falls flat.

Some members of TWWS will tell you how great they are. They have helped each other through tragedy. They have helped each other have nice holidays. They have met up in person. They have sent presents. They have braided each other’s hair. Whatever. Everyone has good in them somewhere, and if you’re fortunate enough to see their good side, great for you. Someone else out there was less lucky. Their good does not at all dismiss the very painful negative impact they are having on the world (especially when the good is so selective, and their hate so easy and merciless). You could be the pregnant mom crying at home at the shock of “meeting” them, or the businesswoman closing up shop for good, or the woman finding herself answering authorities while her children sit in a holding room. It’s all wrong and decent people don’t do that to each other. End of story.

They like to say that they aren’t really trolls. The name references something else, and they’re just an innocent forum of smart, sassy women. Right. Maybe there are better ways to feel more happy about your own unsatisfying lives than attacking other women you encounter on the internet. HTH.


Sara Savel: Troll Genealogist and Super Sleuth

May 29, 2013
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According to the anonymous trolls like Candace Rice who’ve been hounding us left and right, Sara Savel is responsible for finding out as much about The Skeptical Mother as possible. Once they had her name from another source (thought to be January Harshe, aka Birth Without Fear), Sara was able to use that info to find out even more, including legal matters, details on her husband, address information, and even the woman’s family tree.

But why would someone want or need that info? For what purposes would this be used?

We already know that Candace is correct about Sara being smart and being a bit of a genealogist. We’ve seen her discuss this before. All the pieces began to fit. It just made sense. It turned out that Candace was an actually credible witness when it came to the trolls and their roles.

The chronology of how this came to pass goes something like this. Birth Without Fear grows increasingly threatened over The Skeptical Mother’s success as a Facebook birth page. As she is about to surpass BWF’s numbers, BWF followers go to TSM’s page to pick fights. In one fight, Ruthie Davis came to claim that TSM was copying January by celebrating gay parents and essentially made it clear that this was January’s turf. She also started publicly sharing TSM’s full, private name right then and there as an act of intimidation.

Once the name was *officially* out (as in, not being exchanged between a few trolls in private messages or groups), people were more open about sleuthing. Bambi Chapman claims she then found TSM on ISOTPB’s (Elizabeth’s) Pinterest. Of course she wouldn’t know who Sammy (TSM) was from just a friends list, so she came to Pinterest already knowing the name (from January) and looking for confirmation.

Next Sara was their girl, and Candace credits her for being the smart one in the Raptors. Sara took it upon herself to locate everything she could on Sammy, and then had private message conversations in which she suggested that Sammy should, if she wanted to be left alone, publicly denounce this project. Sara implied that her word alone would not sway all the people with sharing the info (some of which she herself had helped gather). That’s right… Sara, a respected Raptor, longtime Dr. Amy fan, member of Fed up and admin at Banned From Birth Pages’ word would not be enough to influence her friends and groupmates not to share personal info of an innocent person. Think about that for a moment.

Sammy refused to denounce the project but tried to speak words of peace to Sara. Then, trolls on Fed up with natural childbirth began publicly stating TSM’s full name and location repeatedly as they bashed her. This was all in retaliation for supposedly being involved in this project, which she was not.

What Came Next?
Sara then contacted us threatening legal action if we did not fix these already innocuous sentences (from You’re Destroying Birthy Land) : “I believe it was Sara Savel who told her she should publicly denounce us if she wanted to be left alone. I guess her word and our word weren’t good enough when we privately and publicly (respectively) clarified. You [Candace; the group] demanded public defamation by her [Sammy, TSM]. When you didn’t get what you were after, you tried to inflict harm. Sounds a little like terrorism, blackmail, extortion.”

In an effort to be accommodating, we then changed it to read: I believe it was Sara Savel who suggested she should publicly denounce us if she wanted to be left alone. [Remember, Sara is the same one who reportedly used her genealogical research skills to find everything she could on The Skeptical Mother’s personal life, including addresses and family trees.] I guess her word and our word weren’t good enough when we privately and publicly (respectively) clarified. You demanded public defamation by her. When you didn’t get what you were after, you tried to inflict harm. Sounds similar to terrorism, blackmail, extortion. Similar.

You want to take it to the law, Sara, spending your money and/or time over this paragraph? Here are the facts.

1. You enjoy genealogy.
2. You used skills you acquired in genealogy to gather information on an enemy– a woman your group had been bashing and hounding for years now.
3. Yourself and a group of women on the internet who take part in various bash sites were now all privy to the woman’s name and personal details.
4. You, by your own admission, stated that you asked TSM to denounce this project.
5. You then suggested to her that your belief in her innocence was insufficient to convince the group of women you associate with not to use the gathered info to retaliate against her.
6. Said group did publicly and privately use this info to retaliate against her, when she failed to comply with your suggestion.
7. You deemed this a “moral failure” on her part, showing that you had placed a judgment on her choice– the implication being the results are hers, and just.
8. You continue to associate with said group and said activities.
9. We have screenshots proving all these activities and continue to gather more.

Sara, I would ask this of you and all of your associates in the various birth-hate groups you participate in over the internet:  are you prepared to commit perjury in a court of law?

Or, you could just let us continue to tell our sides of the story. It’s up to you.

Despite the obvious issues here with corruption and deceit, we don’t hate Sara. We hate what Sara does. Any other day and topic, maybe she would be a reasonable human being and a good friend. It’s getting swept up in internet birth wars and attempting to control environments and people that totally warps a person into something they’re not. Factor into that a history containing birth trauma, child loss, and forms of depression, and sometimes people get a little off balance. We have no doubt like many have suggested that Sara is smart. Maybe even the smartest Raptor. It doesn’t change what is right and what is wrong.

Sara, the time to stop pushing people you didn’t even have to know… is now.

Just let people be and leave us alone. Do us all a favor and unknow us. Stay off natural parenting and birth forums if it’s so upsetting to you and inspires so much hate in you. Focus on the things which matter most, such as love, and your family. If you want to pursue certain forms of legislation or better health care for women, let that path guide you instead.  We wish you peace.

For a little more on Sara’s background and what brings her to the Birth Troll groups online, this may explain it.


Dear Veil: You’re Destroying Birthy Land

May 19, 2013
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Welcome to  “Dear Veil”! This is where we answer your letters.

“Cindy Jones” writes:

it sad what you are doing. honestly it is nutty sweetie. many of them won’t admit it because of pride but you are hurting them and u don’t have proof. u don’t even know what some of them are going through right now. you are the most destructive person in all of birthy land right now

Hi, Candace Rice.

First, none of us are your “sweeties”.

Second, hurting people is not our aim. If they are too proud to admit it, that problem is their own. They could try leveling with us. If they don’t want to, it’s understandable- they have hurt so, so many people themselves being part of these troll groups that letting their guard down might not be well received. That’s because there is a level of shame here. Should you be ashamed of being outed for being part of internet cliques that torment people? Probably.

Proof. See screen caps.

I am truly sorry that anyone is going through anything right now. I hope that as you all struggle with your personal pains you stop and think for a moment how any time you dealt harshly with other women online (tampering with their personal lives, or mocking them nonstop, etc.), maybe they were put through a lot of hardship too. I’m sure there is a lot of unnecessary pain that you will never know about, either from denial or from ignorance. If you want it to end, all you have to do is turn over a new leaf and disassociate with all the creeps who go around bashing people for their births.

The most destructive in all of birthy land, you say. If Birthy Land were a kingdom, it would already be wrecked by chaos and war and corruption. We’re messengers in that land telling the people the news. This is only destructive to you if it ruins your game. If you were standing in the light and doing right, you wouldn’t have anything to complain about here.

If you keep playing the victims without acknowledging how much your plotting and scheming over the years have deeply impacted birth communities online- real women and babies- you haven’t earned sympathy for being publicly outed over it. Everything is not all about you. Think of the pain you’ve caused others and not just yourself. Show some remorse.

sara savel is smart like a whip but she would have never shared skeptical mothers information publicly. never.

No, she just spent time researching every available detail about her personal and family life that she could, for no purpose at all, only to lock it away in a vault and keep it a secret forever.

and alexis is a educated lady, she doesnt troll or set outs to hurt others.

Which is why she’s a member of troll groups which keep tabs on groups that live their lives differently. For no purpose, really. Certainly not to jab at or interfere with.

your main beef seems to be with bambi. why not talk right to her?

We’ve tried. She was closed off. She is welcome to talk to us, though. We are very big on trying to talk to people before talking about them or judging them. We wish your group behaved the same.

what has heidi really ever done to you? bwf? liz? many many of these peoples what have they done to u or even anyone?

We have numerous screen caps and posts explaining all of this. If you choose not to look, address, or read, that is your own willful ignorance and denial.

or if she [The Skeptical Mother] would have said somewhere public that she had not a thing to do with your LTV blog [she would not have been targeted].

I’m sorry, I don’t think she or we realized we had to follow instructions of people harassing us. I believe it was Sara Savel who suggested she should publicly denounce us if she wanted to be left alone. [Remember, Sara is the same one who reportedly used her genealogical research skills to find everything she could on The Skeptical Mother’s personal life, including addresses and family trees.] I guess her word and our word weren’t good enough when we privately and publicly (respectively) clarified. You demanded public defamation by her. When you didn’t get what you were after, you tried to inflict harm. Sounds similar to terrorism, blackmail, extortion. Similar.

all this eye for eye is wrong. when it end?

Since when is justice “eye for eye”? We’re just telling the truth about what is happening to us. If you had stuck to birth issues and only trying to make mothers and babies safe, there would be no problem. When you use that to troll after people, then we’ve got big problems. “It end” when everyone stops being abusive. You’ve been abusive to innocent people who did not know you and you expect no consequences. This is foolish. You’ve expressed yourselves when you’ve gone after others (“free speech”, “the internet is public”), and we have the right to express our feelings in return.

But as Sara Rose says, it’s not about “feeweeings”. She said she is not going to coddle anyone, and while we have a little more compassion than that, it’s not our job to coddle internet bullies who are sad for being told on.

feewing

Then, Sanctimommy declares that it’s an all-out war. “They declared war on us,” they proclaim. Who is they? Anyone they think is sanctimonious. Who is sanctimonious? Anyone with a strong parenting opinion that they don’t like.  “Fight back” and “laugh at them“, they instruct. Only problem is, a lot of these are just innocent women in internet mommy groups who do things differently than the trolls. It wasn’t the sister-in-law who made you feel inadequate for bottle feeding, or the former friend who talked crap about your cesarean section. You are laughing at people who have nothing to do with your “feeweeings” of inadequacy.
sanctI do agree with the last two sentences. For the most part every woman is making the best choices she can for her family and no one needs anyone’s approval (especially not from trolls). Lashing out at strangers is not the answer. You’re not even getting back at the right people. You’re just hating people based on prejudice, which is why we say the trolls take part in hate groups.

Ironically, troll Isabelle puts the concerns of “Cindy”, Sanctimommy, and any other griping trolls into perspective.

waahSomeone must have been mean to her, too, since she joins pages like Banned by the Feminist Breeder.

So, back to “Cindy”, you were saying, about Birthy Land?


“Candace Rice”: Trolls Behaving Like Trolls

May 17, 2013
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Shortly after our project became public, several people started receiving threats and intimidation. One example is “Candace Rice”, who was created for the purpose of harassment relating to our page and blog. Here are some private messages she sent to ISOTPB (who is part of our project) to try to encourage her silence.

CLICK IMAGES FOR BETTER VIEW.

In this first shot, Elizabeth believes she is talking to Liz. This was based upon her tone (unable to take blame for anything, dishes out blame, obtuse, oblivious to double standard) and typing (all lowercase).

This is a shot from the list Candace and ISOTPB were referencing.

One of the more recent examples of how this behavior continues: Alexis Coxon created a Subscription list on Facebook with a vague “Birth” title, and it is followed by mostly trolls. This allows them to keep track of fresh material for fodder and who to attack without having to actually “like” a page.

The conversation continues: Candace threatens that they will reveal Sammy’s (The Skeptical Mother’s) identity and that they found out everything about her, all because she is a friend of ISO. It had already been expressed clearly and publicly numerous times that Sammy had no involvement in our project. Then Candace continues with more threats, including for a counter-blog.

A counter blog/page was in fact created, and this is the point where speculation could turn to Heidi; the rival page used the phrase “Birthshit” in reference to ISOTPB. This was something previously only observed specific to Heidi. The page also took the specific tone of “why can’t ISO leave innocent Heidi and BWF alone?”, which also supports Heidi’s usual tone and agenda (the two of them in big business, together). “Candace” then used that FB page all over FB, including troll pages, to draw attention. Just like Heidi’s previous alias “Kallie Bloom”, they get sick of her antics pretty quickly, but her behavior proves incessant. This would also be typical of Heidi’s personality, perhaps to a better hidden extent when using her real name. Update: We then thought Candace was actually Florence, just copying Heidi’s insults. Now we think it was a different Heidi copycat.

Next shot: “Opinion” vs. “Fact”. Either we’re all allowed to express ourselves and talk about other people, or we’re not. Which is it?

Candace did go on to share Sammy’s photo and identity publicly after this, through her page. Out of spite. Notice how additionally, the Barberton area of Ohio points to the identity being Bambi again.

Below, ISOTPB urges Candace to stick to real help for women and babies and to stop taking part in “mommy wars” on the internet. I love how Candace admits that “there are some twatty trolls”. She goes on the name the “best raptors”. She then details who found out Sammy’s information and who shared it. All signs still point to Bambi, here.

UPDATE: the Barberton clue came from a comment left during these conversations which used some of the exact same phrasings ISOTPB and Candace did, making us think the person was the same harasser. That person was traced to Barberton. We then believed Candace was likely Florence. See why we’ve reconsidered.

(The “April” alias they are discussing was telling The Feminist Breeder to kill herself.)

We need to pause here and mention that another reason this suggests Bambi is the true identity of Candace is this:  Bambi could not simply have “found out” who Sammy was in the 2 minutes she claims merely by looking at Elizabeth (ISOTPB)’s Pinterest. Elizabeth had a bunch of friends on there and any number of them could have hypothetically been Sammy. Bambi would love to take credit for this, and in fact she bragged about this because we here at LTV claimed she was not so bright. This was by Bambi’s own admission on Fed Up. Taking credit for something like this serves her own interests. She and Candace both wanted to prove us wrong, that she is “a smart cookier”.

Even though this is not possible, she would have been able to verify Sammy’s identity if someone else named her first. Once named, Bambi could look on Pinterest and notice that Elizabeth and Sammy were indeed friends. The name would still have to be spilled first. The only people we think were capable of doing this would have been BWF’s January Harshe or Ruthie Davis, or possibly Heidi Faith. Signs point strongly to the first two. Please do searches for these individuals on our blog for more details on this.

Below:  Sara Savel, resident genealogist, used her research skills for unscrupulous means. Uses of “dude” and “babe” hint at Bambi again. Candace does not deny it when she is called Bambi (or Liz, far above, for that matter).

Candace does not come clean and lets each one of Elizabeth’s suspects passively take the blame.

The convo closes, but with a warning. We have personal info too. We hope there is no need to use any of it, and we have no plans to use it, but it is there. We want what we’ve always ever wanted: for Trolls to stop pushing us against the wall.


“Loss Mother” Hysteria & Emotional Manipulation

February 8, 2013
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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.)

skepHere 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.

reactionsThe 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.

“Dead Babies”
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.

deadbabies2Then 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.

myintrodeadbabies3They 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.

deadbabies4This 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.
needloss
This next photo was Michelle’s response. It shows likers that were not visible in the previous photo, because apparently they retracted their likes.

needloss2Yet, when it comes to “dead babies”, troll Kim Marie had this to say. It’s a good summation on this subtopic.
deadbabiesAnd 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.

Aftermath

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.
lies
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.

bambiliesWe knew that apology was never sincere (search: Unity & Healing). And these people are supposed to mentor loss moms?

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:

crazy

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.

lies2Here 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.

manipulation
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.
mary
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.


Birth Without Fear Gets Called Out

January 14, 2013
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As previously mentioned, Birth Without Fear had said goodbye forever to Facebook. Of course, she was back within about a month… but no matter. Here is some of what transpired in response.

(Images are clickable for larger visuals.)

Facebook was apparently too negative. ISOTPB got something off her chest that day. BWF had been unfairly treating people who were actually FOR natural birth, including actual fans, while giving anti-natural birth trolls special privileges and even promoting Stillbirthday.

Addie is a fed-up/Amy troll who came to defend BWF, which of course she appreciated and approved of. ISOTPB reference to The Skeptical Mother was of course deleted, while her “Fuck you” comment remained visible for an extended time.

 

Star comes to defend. She is also part of the troll group. She seems to believe that since she was treated okay that everyone must be, because what happens to you is somehow indicative of the whole. What she really means is she knows they are all on the same side, which is all that really matters.

“Star”, another Stillbirthday member and Dr. Amy troll.

Meanwhile, on another page dedicated to bragging about which Birth pages you’ve been banned from, they (the trolls) take a vote. This includes people who are closely involved with Stillbirthday and whom defend January when it’s convenient.

These are people who selected BWF. See any familiar faces? They will defend her out of one side of their mouth, but brag about how they’re pissed off (or whine about how “unfair” she was to their trolling) out of the other. And these are the people BWF chose to cater to.

Bambi (Stillbirthday, Dr. Amy, Raptors, Fed Up, banned from the birth pages, etc.) comes to defend BWF. Calls ISOTPB “Evil E” (the troll nickname for her), and mentions that she would have a go at her if she were still allowed. Unfortunately Heidi (boss at Stillbirthday) told her being publicly vindictive was no longer allowed. Suppressing true colors has been the new order of the day in light of ISOTPB’s exposé’s of the Stillbirthday organization. Naturally, January (BWF) liked it.

ISOTPB comes back to respond to those who were opposed to her statements, and provides much background and explanation for insight. Of course, this was swiftly deleted, as it was far too damning. Bambi’s libelous blog post remains despite several corrections Elizabeth (ISOTPB) made for her, including the one in this pic. Please remember that Bambi is a grief mentor for Stillbirthday. This is what Heidi at Stillbirthday and January at Birth Without Fear are okay with, promote, and support.


Guilt is a Destroyer, Part 2

January 4, 2013
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This piece was previously published for The Perfect Birth blog. The subject matter explains the dynamics behind a lot of the anti natural childbirth trolling.

Guilt is a Destroyer, Part 2

12 10 2011

I see the problem here as guilt and denial. One feels guilt in incredible ways, and then lives in a state of denial about how all these other things are at fault. The denial is also, therefore, a denial that they had the primary role in their own life events. Rather than accepting that something just occurred and everyone was there and had a choice, there is a need to blame. Rather than blame oneself and admit the guilt that is plaguing oneself, one then opts to direct all or primary responsibility onto somebody else. It’s a coping mechanism. It goes a little something like…

Natural birth is at fault– it’s not that great, medical advancements are far better, what’s so great about vaginal drug free birth anyway, you aren’t winning a medal for it, it’s killing women and babies and is archaic and stupid.

Midwives are at fault– they aren’t educated, aren’t properly licensed, mine should have known I was in trouble.

The NCB community is at faultthey indoctrinate people, it’s like a cult, they all believe in BS and not in science, they guilt mothers into making wrong choices.  ETC.

It’s never up to the woman. Do you see? You can never “blame the mother”, or use “blame the mother mentality”… which is cried if anyone tries to further examine the mother’s choices in the event in light of tragedy. If blame is going to be placed at all, these are the questions that we need to be asking. Sorry.  It’s never her choice, her responsibility, her consequences. It’s always somebody else.  She is automatically innocent (and how dare you, btw), and somebody else is most definitely guilty. You see, I’m not just saying question the “guilt” of everyone… I’m saying consider that everyone is innocent.  Blame usually doesn’t have to take place at all, but if you are pointing the finger at me or damaging other people, someone has to step in and point out the accountability here. It’s gone too far, too long. There are worse things than blaming the mother. You could be blaming people who are just as accountable, less accountable, or not accountable at all.

For example, when a practitioner does their best to provide the service you have hired them for, that’s all you can ask of them. The rest is up to you.

IF you are present at a birth and you feel something is not right, it is your duty to yourself and child and all involved to act accordingly. IF something goes wrong, and you always had the final say, you must own up to your part in things. It is an admission of the truth and the first step to moving forward in a healthy way. As I see it, all normal-intelligence adults available are responsible in a time of need. This does not all rest on the shoulders of one. When you hire a midwife as your naturally-minded caregiver, it is not so she can take the fall in the event of misfortune. If one feels that way, one should not hire a midwife. If they have committed an indisputable count of negligence or abuse, obviously I think they deserve blame. However, if you still had a choice and didn’t make it or take it, you shoulder some of that responsibility. You have a voice.

[Recently I heard a troll say that the reason midwives should be properly licensed and insured is so that if a tragedy occurs, a lawyer would be willing to take the case because there would actually be money worthwhile to come of it. Ah, I see… So, everyone, get an OB so that if your child dies, you can properly get a lawyer and sue and at least get some $$$ from it. ] Good reason to change your birth plan, natural childbirthers.

So no, I am NOT advocating blame, but when I see projections and misdirections of anger, rage, hate, and guilt, I think we need a reality check. Midwives are trained professionals, but they DON’T know everything. Neither do OBs for that matter. The most important piece they are missing is YOU and your intuition. People, no matter how educated, make mistakes. It’s not all homicide, bloodshed, and manslaughter. Sometimes no matter how much it is KILLING you inside, these mistakes are completely innocent. You are ALL accountable for your choices. No ONE single person takes the fall, and no one always has to take the blame, automatically. A death should not automatically be assumed as the fault of anyone. Investigate, ask questions, but accept reality and live in it rather than create a false one where you are less accountable. Sooner or later, no matter how skilled a person is, they are going to witness a tragedy. Sometimes, these things just happen. You hate to hear it? Yeah, it sucks, but it’s true.

No, don’t blame yourself, don’t beat yourself up, but don’t do those things to ME either. Be brave, face your problems head on. It’s cowardly to direct the hurt you feel you deserve to instead hurt others.  I would never tell a mother how accountable she was in her child’s own death… until she starts pointing the finger at others. Those who believe it’s always the other guy’s fault, those who believe that with their pain comes a sense of entitlement, those are the only folks who need a reminder that they were also an adult in that room and also capable of making a choice. It’s something that could and should go without saying most of the time, unless you keep shoving it in the world’s face in order to create suffering and remove your own accountability in the process. My theory: you don’t hate me, you hate yourself for not making the choice you knew was right. I wish I could magically take away your pain, but I can’t. You need to get serious professional help if you are trolling the internet and calling it “helping others”.

Guilt, you see… it’s a destroyer. It will change your whole world. Friends become enemies, demons become friends. Things you used to believe in become false. You lose faith in whatever God you may have previously claimed. Activities that harm others become the norm. They do things which cause more pain for themselves and those who come into contact with them.  Others who love you feel put out or neglected by you. You are withdrawn, putting on a fake face to be acceptable in society while inside you feel you are someone else. You don’t have to suffer alone, and you don’t have to live with this intense pain your whole life. Your children, living and deceased, would not want that for you. You all deserve better in life.

People reject healing when they think the hurt seems insurmountable, or they are undeserving. This comes from self-loathing. A partly aware admission of accountability which translates as guilt says, “how could I let this have happened to my baby?”, and hate and beating yourself up follows. Guilt is a real bitch, but you had it coming, or so the logic goes. So, one resigns to a life of pain and guilt and blame, because they don’t see any other path clearly. They even think it would be disrespectful to the memory of their baby to NOT feel this way. I suggest that the worse disrespect is the mistreatment of other women, mothers, and babies in the process of your rage and guilt. Even the very midwife deemed the culprit is probably not so worthy of hate. Granted, it would take a lot of forgiveness to ever feel that way. Baby steps.

I’m telling you, people, there’s an imbalance here, and it’s not healthy and it’s not right. It’s toxic– to your mind, probably your body, and your soul, and it’s affecting others. You want consideration for your feelings and it’s been given to a fault, but even through the pain, you need to offer your consideration to your fellow (wo)man, because we all have pain, and you aren’t the only one (and this includes infant loss). It does NOT have to be this way, so ugly and nasty and cruel.

In any case, hate (which guilt has produced) is not productive or conducive to goodness or healing for you, or anyone. Some think healing from baby loss is impossible– so why bother, right?  If healing is impossible, why try to “help” anyone who has lost? I hear that a lot, about reaching out to others who have lost, as if that means anything. “I’m here for you.” What comfort is that with a dead baby? If nothing can fix it, why the community? Because you are looking for understanding and looking for something to feel even a tiny ounce better than the loneliness of your grief. You are living with the unreasonable burden of guilt. And let’s be real, here– it’d needn’t be. Other women have gone through losses and not reached the same conclusions. It is possible, but you have to want it. Your pain is not reality, it’s just your reality. There are other truths out there to explore if you would only let yourself. If you can accept this as true, you can also begin to see how other realities of other people– loss moms and other moms– are their truths. The healing stories, the stories of love and overcoming pain, are the ones that are going to be of service to people. We need to spread those, promote those, give hope, and help people get better. Instead of resisting those, maybe you could listen to those and when you are ready, believe in yourself once again and your ability to let go of guilt and have peace.

Quit letting your guilt destroy you, who you were, what you want to be for your family, and who you have become. Break the chains and ties that keep you part of a destructive lifestyle. Live and let live. Find the path to end bitterness and guilt now so that when you are an old lady and preparing to leave this life, you can look back with fondness and gratitude rather than wrath, and you will be surrounded by children and grandchildren and more, who lovingly embrace who you are and their time with you. You cannot get a dead baby back, but you cannot get back lost time, either. Every hour you’ve spent persecuting strangers on the internet is lost time. Pain is an addiction, an obsession. Find the road to recovery. I may never know your pain and I hope to never have to, but I do care about your well being and want you to find peace and joy. If I were in your shoes, I’d want someone to do the same thing for me.


Stillbirthday: A Dr. Amy & Raptor Organization

January 4, 2013
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I am going to explain to you the history and background of Stillbirthday as I have come to know it.

Many of you know Dr. Amy, the infamous retired OB/GYN who is adamantly opposed to homebirth and even natural birth. She is known for running blogs and groups such as The Skeptical OB, Hurt by Homebirth, and Fed up with natural childbirth. She has a relatively small following, but they are passionate about what they believe in. They roll their eyes at the thought of unnecessary Cesareans, they mock people who feel they’ve been birth raped, and they think that birth trauma is really just another way of saying “I successfully delivered a healthy baby”. Dr. Amy has also (directly or indirectly) spawned a group that calls themselves the Raptors.These are a group of women who fancy themselves something as mommy birth vigilantes.

The Raptors in numbers are somewhere in the neighborhood of 100, but Dr. Amy has a following on her blogs and groups of over 300.

One of their main activities is to search for baby loss stories, preferably in real time as they happen. I imagine tools such as Google Alerts are used for this, as when the bad news hits, they get it fresh off the presses. And, since almost all of these members are also fans of numerous birth related FB pages, they get fresh wind of loss even before anything hits the media, and they bring it over to the Amy group to discuss. Both members and Amy herself will do this.

But there is a criteria they are looking for: must have something to do with natural birth, homebirth, midwive-attended birth, or anything that deals with not having a hospital medicated, doctor-managed birth.

This is how they found Vylette’s mom and Margarita. Vylette’s mom is now a FB fan of Stillbirthday, and Margarita is now in the group that is fed up with natural birth, even after she had discovered how many people associated with the group ripped her apart and attacked her (which is not uncommon in anything Amy-associated).

The way they do it is this: they go straight for the throat. They extend their sympathy and try to win the friendship of the mother. They do this by swarming in with large numbers. They want to make her feel embraced, loved, understood, and accepted, and they do this while the mother is still fresh in grief, probably still in a state of shock. When they can’t hold back any longer or when the time feels right, they will express to the mother how dangerous midwives are, or out-of-hospital birth, and they will begin to deliver messages that say or suggest that their baby would not have died in a hospital. Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn’t, but none of us are coroners, few of us are doctors, and none of us were on-scene or privy to the medical records. Basically, none of us would 100% know what we were talking about in order to diagnose or determine a cause of death. This fact has of course never stopped Dr. Amy, and naturally her fans and followers are cut from the same cloth.

What happens when they reach out to the loss moms fresh in grief? Typically it only goes in 2 directions. Either 1. the mother will resist, and then she will be attacked. See Michelle. 2. the mother will become recruited (even if slowly, gradually, or to a smaller degree) and become part of their groups. Obviously the goal is active recruitment.

Enter Stillbirthday. A resource started by a close friend of the Raptors, and run by Raptors. Endorsed by Dr. Amy herself.

Stillbirthday founder Heidi is helpful to Dr. Amy. Stillbirthday mentor Lisa Miller is also pictured. This is from the Fed Up with Natural Childbirth Facebook group, of which they were/are members.

Here Stillbirthday founder Heidi is lauded as the religious go-to person for Dr. Amy anti natural birth trolls.

 

Elizabeth (from In Search of the Perfect Birth) was shut down when she did a collection of posts regarding what would seem like obvious concerns about Stillbirthday (search for Getting Qualified Care in our search bar), one of the mentors (Liz P.) accused her of being a heartless bitch, and January BWF told her she was a trouble maker and a troll who was not really interested in healing. Just for asking these questions. Just for not feeling automatically convinced that everyone was on the up-and-up just because they promised to be good. In fact, whenever anyone expressed legitimate concerns, founder Heidi accused them of trying to squash her dead son’s legacy, which is what Stillbirthday represents to her. These individuals were unable to see past their own individual interests and into the broader scope.

That lack of concern for anything besides their own pain, coupled with the laundry list of unsavory affiliations, and the methodical way they seek and approach loss moms is compelling to any outside observer as to why one may be wary of such a group.

In fact, this will probably be accused of being “false”, and if history repeats itself, I would ask for clarification on what is false and get no response. Some will call this paranoia or conspiracy theory.

This would be really interesting coming from a group that has a secret group just for Raptors that reportedly, after infiltration (?), supposedly forced members to submit photo identification to be allowed in.

And when they visit your favorite birth page to voice their dissent (“troll”), they will insist that no echo chambers be allowed, shouting that they are tired of being silenced. However, they have silenced others, like when Dr. Amy deleted comments by loss mom Michelle on her blog, or when Heidi deleted Elizabeth and Michelle’s comments on posts about them for Stillbirthday. Despite the hypocrisy, they cling tightly to their identities as victims as they enter groups meant for support and encouragement… and then discourage and mock.  To point out what is becoming glaringly obvious in their agendas will be largely denied, in spite of all this.

Heidi to this day says things which are not true, such as critics of Stillbirthday admitting they lied or were wrong, or were only after popularity or page views when they chose to “attack” her, etc. The truth is, talking about this stuff makes people unpopular. The truth is, most groups shy away from posting this stuff because they are afraid of losing hits (not gaining them). Anyone who outs Stillbirthday is taunted with threats like “you’ll never be as big as Birth Without Fear!” or dangled promises, such as joining in a Master Blog with all the greats in exchange for cooperation or silence.  Psychologically it is classic to accuse others of something you yourself are actually guilty of (being only in it for money or fame, for example), but we can assure you– like Elizabeth’s past posts, this blog will not be bought out or silenced. Even if only 1 person ever reads it, the satisfaction lies in the truth being out, and you can’t put a price or a bribe on that.

The “Stillbirthday Doula” is a self-made credential and designation, but would-be doulas have alarming “homework” to do to complete the process (along with hefty fees). For people who are so tight with Dr. Amy and the Raptors (anti homebirth/natural birth crusaders), to say this is not a conflict of interest would be scarily delusional.


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