Lifting The Veil

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.


“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.


When Hero Worship Goes Wrong

March 7, 2013
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You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

You can tell a Dr. Amy fan that she’s prejudiced, but they’ll excuse her as still bringing the “facts”.

You can tell an Amy fan that she (and her fan base) go after innocent women they’ve never met who’ve just lost their babies, and they claim that it’s for the purpose of saving lives (not the enjoyment of crushing people).

You can tell an Amy fan that Amy isn’t even respected amongst other skeptics and peers, hasn’t practiced in decades, and that she may have simply been asked not to return to work. They will tell you that’s preposterous and that Amy is just as reliable for medical advice as any other qualified in-practice birth pro.

You can point out to an Amy fan all the good doctor’s errors and fallacies, which happen fairly often. They will usually not respond and continue to repeat later how she provides the real science. Not only does she, but as if she were the only one (even forsaking other doctors).

And yet, what do they really know about Amy?  (click image for better view)

This happened on Fed Up. A fan brought this up and they didn’t even know their beloved Amy when they saw her. Yet, the rest of us already knew this… Why is that?

Have they researched her? Have they tried to determine her credibility? Are they so in love with her snarky tone and exclusive message that they will ignore every piece of info that comes their way and makes Amy questionable?

Just like researching the birth and parenting methods they mock, it’s too inconvenient to even ponder. Better to just be lazy, bitchy, and static.

If we know your idol better than you, maybe it’s time you actually reconsidered how you feel about her and her info.


Trolls With Wooden Spoons, Names & Faces

February 17, 2013
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These people delight in using other people for their own amusement. They troll internet forums looking for fodder, and like to lure people to their site for bashing. They intentionally instigate debates in places they despise and lure people to their hate site(s). Some of them are more guilty of this than others. However, the original purpose of the site was to rag on and bitch about and ridicule people on natural parenting forums.

For many they will be the first introduction to natural parenting “trolls”, even before you ever know who Dr. Amy is. Please note that these trolls are not the same as Dr. Amy trolls.

twwsJust like they always say, if you don’t want something publicized, don’t put it on the internet.

trolls2

That’s not even all of them, but it’s a lot.


When Trolls Collide

February 17, 2013
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There are all sorts of different trolls. They believe in different things and congregate in different places, but every now and then their common bonds (the need to be oppressively judgy and mean-spirited over the internet) have them cross paths.

Dr. Amy trolls and Trolls With Wooden Spoons do this at times.

kathryn
Kathryn here is Kathryn Mathis, the photographer at Sweet Feet Photography. Despite being on an “anti woo” hate website, she had a triplet homebirth (!).  She is a really talented photographer and her homebirth photos were so inspiring that we were very saddened to discover her associations with these individuals.  Mommyto6 is Bambi Chapman, also of Stillbirthday, MDC, Skeptical OB, Hurt by Homebirth, the Raptors, Fed Up With Natural Childbirth, etc.

The Liz mentioned here is Liz Paparella, of Dr. Amy/Skeptical OB/Hurt by Homebirth/Stillbirthday fame. She is in this thread, as you will see, as ECmama. Hopefully the quotes within quotes are not hard to read, but the inflammatory stuff is from Liz.

kathryn2This discussion is also taking place along the same time that the secret Unity & Healing group was. (Search our site for Stillbirthday, or Unity & Healing).

kathryn3kathryn4

kathryn5kathryn6kathryn7kathryn8kathryn9

On this thread, they later revealed that Liz was not the one blasting Kathryn all over Dr. Amy. That must have been another Amy fan.

kathryn10

Check out this next one. Truer words were never spoken!

kathryn11


A Candid, Casual Purging About Birth Without Fear & Stillbirthday

January 14, 2013
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This is a post by Elizabeth, from In Search of the Perfect Birth.

Here’s my story. I run a birth page. My page/book came at the end of my having discovered the trolls, the same ones who torment January. I never even heard of BWF before so when I finally did hear of her, and I knew what happened with her and trolls, I reached out to her and told her my troubles, asked for her help. Any info, etc., because at that stage I was scared for my family and thought she’d be sympathetic. She never responded to me.

Fast forward a lot later. Over time I support her page, share things, comment on her page thru mine. Trolls make her cry, boo hoo I’m fat and ugly (No, you’re not fat and ugly, they are haters, keep doing the good work, blah blah blah), etc. etc. Yet she never gives me the time of day. Only time she acknowledges me is to “like” a compliment I give her. Okay, whatever.

Got tired of that and stopped following her page. She would start “drama” and then yell at her followers for being the ones with the “drama”, so I didn’t like the vibe. She wasn’t even kind to people who agreed with her on things. As it got more negative and I noticed her “borrowing” things from my page with nary a shout out, I banned her personal profile AND her BWF page from following mine. I wanted to shut her out completely and go about my business. That worked okay, for a while.

Then I did a bunch of posts on Stillbirthday. This really rubbed her raw. See, Amy trolls are involved so I did some exposés. Didn’t go over well since she endorses them. Somehow Heidi (the founder) has January in her back pocket, being a supposedly “good Christian” woman and all, and January would hear none of my or anyone else’s reservations– we were just wrong and that was all there was to it! Not only were we wrong, but we were running a smear campaign. A few fb scuffles on our pages happened and January started a secret group for me, The Skeptical Mother, loss mom Michelle, and several of the trolls and founder of SB to have “Unity and Healing”. The pretense was to work out our differences and come together to finally have peace. They tried to befriend us and get us to drop our guards, share our personal details, and then tried to use that to convince me to lose my posts or back off. They even tried bribery. I refused. January flipped out on me for having not changed my mind and being unwilling to make deals, so after I took enough of her abuse I left the group. Then she trolled my page with her alternate FB profile one last time right after, just to make one final bitchy comment at me. For the record, Sammy and Michelle are my friends and they completely disagree with what happened in the group as well. They cannot stand her either.

So, I try to ignore her for the most part, because her ego doesn’t need any help… but people keep bringing it to my attention. Every day I hear about how someone new was treated unfairly, something else she stole from my or Sammy’s page, or ways in which she snarks on being the best or the only page to do a certain thing. I just can’t seem to get away from the information, so now I can bitch about it in this post. If I could kick one motherfucking ass in the world, maybe it would be hers. January, please meet up with me in person.

Okay, okay… strong words. I wrote the above when I was really angry. Forgive my rash, violent tendencies… I’m only human, after all. Maybe meeting with her in person would be better to actually talk it out, or get to know each other as actual human beings. Wouldn’t that be a nice possibility?

To give you an idea, have any of you seen the TV show “24”, Day (Season) 8? I tried to find you a clip, but, the scene where Jack Bauer is talking to the President, and she keeps trying to shut him up and get rid of him in response to her cover-up, and he says to her, “You don’t want to know the truth, do you?” That whole scene totally illustrates how I feel about January (she would be the President in this scenario, and I would be Jack Bauer… for extra credit in that Season, Charles Logan would possibly be Heidi Faith). Sorry, I just got done watching a backlog of 24 on my DVR. Anyway, if you get that reference, you’ll really get my frustration.  🙂

For more info on Birth Without Fear, Stillbirthday, or any of the groups or individuals named in this blog and why they are here, please perform a search for them right here on our site.


Stillbirthday: The Lost E-mails

January 4, 2013
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The following is the email exchange between Heidi and Elizabeth (In Search of the Perfect Birth). It is being published to dispel rumors and lies being spread about her, her work on the Stillbirthday articles, and their exchange. This is quite lengthy and may only be interesting to people aware of the communications existing between that blog and Stillbirthday, as it illuminates the truth of the matter.

Elizabeth’s Disclaimer:  I honor ALL requests to keep private e-mails between me and others private (which is assumed default by myself), unless it becomes necessary in order to clear up lies. She was given multiple opportunities to not perpetuate libel before this was published.

[Apologies on any of the formatting issues– no matter how many times I corrected it, certain things stayed as-is.]

Hi Heidi. This is on the record. I wanted to ask you a few questions, if I could, about Stillbirthday, and I do plan to use it on an upcoming post where I address receiving qualified care. If you are okay with that, would you please respond to these?

First of all, I had Michelle send this for me as a favor. She is helping me compose this and she may also add some of her own questions in here to mine. Okay, now–

Could you discuss a little about what exactly a Mentor’s role is at Stillbirthday?

What do you think qualifies these women to be in that role? I understand these are women and mothers who have experience with loss themselves. Do they have a backgrounds, training, or degrees in psychology?

Do you give psychological evaluations to any of your Mentors before they assist a grieving mother? Do you feel that these individuals are emotionally and psychologically sound enough to be in such a lofty and sensitive position?

Do you feel there are any potential dangers to someone who is still unresolved in their own issues of grief being placed in a position of trust and mentorship over someone new to grief?

I know that several of you sincerely dislike natural birth, or what you feel are tenets of a NCB community, to an extent of being quite angry or even voicing feelings of ridicule. Do you feel this would be a potential obstacle in offering good counsel or compassion to someone grieving (particularly someone who has utilized natural or home birth as a method, and whom does not feel this was to blame for their loss, and would do it again that way for future children)?

Do you feel that healing from loss is possible, and how do you support others in their quest to get there (if so)?

Do you think it’s offensive to suggest that healing can happen after this level of pain? Do you encourage or discourage joining any particular *groups* after someone has suffered a loss? I’m remembering Margarita in this and how quickly your group took her under their wings when she announced the passing of her son. I can’t help but wonder if that didn’t have an effect on the way viewed her loss.

How do you see yourself handling women who are grieving but not in agreement with any of you in the birth department? What do you anticipate being the response of one of your mentors to one of their former clients, were they to “meet” again in the online birthing communities which often butt heads?

 

Given the “secret groups”, the rage we’ve seen, the label of “trolls” given– how do you plan on ensuring that women who innocently enter your program looking for help can be and feel safe with their mentors?

If there is anything else about the groups you are a part of, and their relation to Stillbirthday, or anything at all else to share with readers, what would that be?

Thanks so much for your time, Heidi.

Dear Elizabeth,
 
Below I have copied and pasted your questions that were sent to me through an intermediary on Facebook.  I want to make sure I have all of the questions before I respond.  Is this the complete and accurate message that was to be sent to me, regarding stillbirthday’s mentorship program?
Blessings,
Heidi

Thank you very much, Heidi. The message appears to be in tact, the exception being, I believe Michelle had added her own question and I’m not sure I see that there. I think she was mainly addressing some hurt she has felt before on this topic. Did you receive that in your correspondence?

Thank you for your patience and openness,
Elizabeth

Elizabeth,
 
Are you still interested in my help with these questions?  It appears as if you have already written an article regarding some of the topics presented in your questions.
 
Regarding the last question that was sent to me, that was out of quotation and was made by Michelle, she assured me that my conversations with her are separate from mine with you.
 
I am interested in your intentions with these questions?  If this is all in regard to an article not yet written, I am interested on the angle, as it appears that your questions have revealed that you have quite a few misconceptions regarding pregnancy loss, bereavement, stillbirthday, who I am, what values I align with, and what interests I have.  I don’t make this list boastfully, but in an attempt to give you a clearer perspective of the potential inaccuries that are likely to present themselves, embarrassingly, in a published article prior to your full understanding of these things.  I’m sure you understand.
 
I would be happy to indulge you in clarifying these preconceptions and/or help you with your article if you are genuinely interested in learning.  I offer that hesitantly, because I know that your blog is used as a platform to serve an agenda that has nothing at all to do with my pregnancy loss website.  I am willing to work with you in good faith, in an effort to bridge this gap of misinformation, but I will not use my time to participate in a manipulative game.  I have a great many pregnancy loss families, including my own, who would be much better deserved of my time.
 
Incidentally, have you read the outline for the mentorship program?  It has been available through the website and I know it answers many of the questions you posed about the mentorship program.
 
Blessings,
Heidi Faith

I am definitely interested.

Obviously I have my ideas of what is or isn’t best for one another in terms of good health, as do we all, but I really wanted your perspective. You appear to be wanting to help women, Stillbirthday *seems* like a good cause which I’m sure is best on good intentions, and even if you disagree with me, I’d like your point of view heard. I can only assume things about you, but you can tell people the truth about how it is from your own standpoint.

And, if you feel that I have an inaccurate idea about you, or stillbirthday, I don’t mind at all if you point that out and talk about it or say why in your answers. It’s totally up to you and your comfort level, though. If you’d rather not answer my questions, that’s okay, too.

I am not trying to be part of a manipulative game, and I appreciate you wanting to steer clear of that. I do think that there are perhaps harmful and dangerous things here! Just as I’m sure you may feel on your side, towards me and some of the things I support. All of us are hoping to remove misinformation, and maybe the more we talk about it, the more we can all truly understand each other. I guess that sounds kind of silly, but, I don’t see enough of us trying.

I can’t promise you that I’m going to agree with you, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to express yourself and represent Stillbirthday in the way you feel is accurate and fair. Truthfully, I’m going to talk about it anyway, but giving you a voice in it and a way to share what it really means to you would be much more balanced. I respect your decision either way– to participate or decline. One thing you DO have my word on is that I will not tell ANY lies (I don’t believe in it), and I will not go off on a tangent and vent my personal opinions on people (something I’m known to do, ha).

I have read the outline on mentorship, yes, and if you’d like to use that question (“have I looked at the outline?”) in response to one of my questions, you may… I just wanted to ask in a certain way and hopefully open the door for you to elaborate on those topics.

Thanks for taking time to write to me… let me know what you decide.
Elizabeth

Elizabeth,
 
I am concerned that you are interested in moving forward with a story, one that has an obvious slant to the questions, one that involves stillbirthday, and one that you recognize has a great deal of misunderstanding on your part, whether I approve of where you are going with this or participate in this line of questioning.
 
I would love to help you out with getting to know me, my website, and anything about pregnancy loss in general better.  That and the article need to occur separately, and I believe that the information, education, and understanding needs to come first.  Based on this, how would you like to proceed?
 
Blessings,
Heidi Faith

Heidi,

I had the misfortune of being pointed to Bambi’s blog where she said some very incorrect things about me and my intentions. I in no way, shape, or form demanded that she be thrust out of your group over the threat of me discrediting you. I only wanted to ask a few questions, and you opted out. I am not sure if these are delusions Bambi is having or if she was given incorrect information, but in light of these new accusations, I will be publishing our entire exchange between you and I.

Bambi, btw, was never my only concern with Stillbirthday. I had several. If I were ever to be so bold as to make threats, it would not mean getting rid of HER, as she would not solve the underlying problem I perceive Stillbirthday to have.

This is quite unfair and untrue and I will make sure the correct information to dispel the wrong will be out and available for those willing to do their own research. I am sorry you did not take the opportunity to speak openly and plainly with me, as I feel we could have eliminated what is becoming a major misunderstanding. This is all hearsay, she-said-she-said, and it really isn’t honest at all.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth,
 
Your blog is available to the general public, and as such, the general public has the ability to make their own interpretations of your work.  Your concerns with someone’s interpretation should go to that person directly; it was not necessary for you to use anyone else to send your line of questioning to me, as stillbirthday is certainly available; it is not necessary for you to use your blog to voice your public concerns against decisions stillbirthday makes as there is a confidential avenue for that at stillbirthday, one that serves to protect all participants in any aspect of stillbirthday from possible negative effects of such public expression (and I continue to strongly discourage you from violating that); you did not have to present your concerns with a grieving mother’s interpretation of your public blog post with me, concluding that you will now violate what you agreed to be a conversation of confidence.
 
I did not opt out of your line of questions.  I shared some concerns I have regarding the vast amount of misinformation – the lack of knowledge – you have regarding many essential aspects that are relevant to your questions and the angle with which you presented them, and I offered to provide you with that information, but asked that you allow me to teach you in an environment conducive to learning, and that offer still stands, although previously, it was you who declined to participate – please know that I am aware that not all of our exchanges are in this forwarded email and that it is apparent that you have altered them.
 
 
Regarding any issue you may have with stillbirthday, the website itself offers a solution to that, one that does not need to be made by voicing those concerns through your blog.  I am certain that your concerns are seated squarely in your ignorance of the important aspects I highlighted to you previously, those that I offered to work with you on, those which you refused to learn about, those which I strongly recommend for your own sake and the sake of grieving mothers you do take time to learn about, whether through stillbirthday or other reputable sources that are approved by midwives, nurses, obstetricians, law enforcement officials, paramedic professionals, grief counselors, and psychologists, as stillbirthday is.
 
Please know my offer continues to stand, to help answer any question you have regarding stillbirthday, and that the concerns you tell me you have but have yet to indulge me in have ample room to be dealt with directly, not publicly.
 
Respectfully,
Heidi Faith

Heidi,

My concerns for how people view my blog are one thing, but I haven’t even published anything about Stillbirthday yet for anyone to interpret, and so any interpretations of my actions comes from second-hand knowledge, or misconstruing of knowledge.

Instead of telling me that it was not necessary for me to “use someone else” to send you questions, I have 2 responses. 1) How do you know? You didn’t even ask me why. You just assume it had no purpose. You guys reaaaaalllly need to start talking to people and hearing them, rather than jumping to conclusions about people. I’m a human being.  2) Why is that relevant, and how does that hurt our ability to now communicate? After all, you are now speaking directly to me, via e-mail, which is what I wanted in the first place.

“It is not necessary for you to use your blog to voice your concerns about Stillbirthday….”
Like it’s not necessary for anyone else to use their blogs to voice their concerns about me and blog posts I haven’t even written yet, based on hearsay? That’s a double standard. We all use our blogs to voice our concerns about many things, including public figures, people, midwives, and other bloggers. Why are the rules suddenly different for me?

“there is a confidential avenue for that at stillbirthday, one that serves to protect all participants in any aspect of stillbirthday from possible negative effects of such public expression (and I continue to strongly discourage you from violating that)”
Okay, and what if someone comes across the “negative” public expression of ANY of your mentors in relation to natural birth? Who is going to protect them from that?

And doesn’t everyone have a right to know who they are receiving care or aid from? Why can’t you stand behind your mentors and Stillbirthday proudly?

“you did not have to present your concerns with a grieving mother’s interpretation of your public blog post with me”
I shared it with you because it originates with you, and you needed to be aware of it. Before, this conversation was just between you and I. Now a third party, your friend, has written a blog blasting something I’ve supposedly done before it’s even occurred. I felt you would need to be aware of that. Again, I haven’t even cracked in to Stillbirthday yet… her wild ideas had to come from somewhere, and I know *I* didn’t tell her.

“concluding that you will now violate what you agreed to be a conversation of confidence. “
So let me get this straightyou want me to let someone lie about me publicly, and have your whole group of people AND the general public believe it (which is libel and defamation, by the way), because you want me to keep our e-mail exchanges private?

You expect me to allow this to happen, and keep letting people come to my page to bug me about it, and do nothing, because… because e-mails are sacred?

Are you serious?

This could easily be cleaned up by you. You wield a lot of power here. You know what REALLY happened, you know I am not guilty of any of the things she claims, and she is your friend. Clean up the mess or I will. I had never even planned to publish our emails, but I felt like my hand was forced.

Also, what do you have to hide? I understand the comfort of confidentiality, but is it really going to hurt you if I share your emails? Why? Why do you feel so threatened by me sharing our e-mails? Weren’t they innocuous enough? I know that I’m happy with how I presented myself… are you happy with your end? What’s so confidential about anything you said? What is so damning that you say that would hurt you more than I am being hurt by the public lies currently on display about me? Or is your ounce of comfort worth it for my pound of discomfort?

I’ll say it again– there are some double standards here, and it’s not right; I am a human being, too.

Furthermore, I need to remind you that the very first thing to you I said in our exchanges was “this is on the record“. Sorry. I hate to pull that technicality on you like that, but, in this case, I don’t see a better way. In other circumstances, I probably wouldn’t have found it necessary to disclose our e-mails, but in light of the comments coming to my page from your group as well as Bambi’s post and all the supportive comments people are making under false pretenses, I deserve the right to defend myself and expose the truth. If you have a better way of doing this, please let me know.

And no I can’t take it up with Bambi… I tried that before when she accused me in another blog of advising a woman I had never even SPOKEN to which resulted in her loss. I left a comment telling her it was untrue, and why it was impossible. You know what happened next? People called me a stalker. Because I was at Bambi’s blog post. Which was about me. And she never took it down, never clarified, never removed her misinformation. Anyone going there now can still see her words and think that I might be a baby killer? No, obviously, I cannot reason with Bambi and if I try, I will only be criticized and tormented. She feels no sense of conscience when lying about people.

As I see it, Heidi, you did opt out. You were concerned about my “angle” and would not say the things you apparently CAN say. You say I am ignorant? I had yet to express my opinion, but, okay. Please, I am giving you the opportunity to show me where I may be lacking knowledge. Even better, I am giving you the chance to say so on my own blog, for everyone to see how and why I am ignorant. In fact, maybe I am ignorant… but ignorant people ask questions and publish the results. That’s called truth and integrity. You have a chance to educate people and you are missing it. I don’t see why this info has to be top secret– it should be available to everyone, for all to see, for all who could benefit from it. How are we helping people if we don’t publish the truth?

And I am partly aware of and taking time to learn some of the things that help the grief process from a professional standpoint, which is where my concerns for Stillbirthday actually stem from in the first place. I actually felt that, given the info I have right now, my questions were fairly objective– I know that might seem hard to believe, but it’s true. Now, if it were just a conversation between you and I, it would be less formal, more relaxed, and I would be freer to throw my opinion around. I was laying off that a little because I want your words and actions to speak for you– not me. I don’t want to be like others. I don’t want to falsify info or put words in your mouth. Speaking of which….

“although previously, it was you who declined to participate – please know that I am aware that not all of our exchanges are in this forwarded email and that it is apparent that you have altered them. “

I never declined anything… you can talk to me openly and freely, educate me, and I will answer you. That’s on or off the record. This still stands, right now. If you still want to answer my questions OFF the record, or work with me privately, I’m not shutting that door. I will still, however, ask hard questions about getting qualified care. I will still publish blogs which ask these questions. Midwives being licensed is important… so why isn’t psychological health? I was trying to get a yes or no from you on answering my Qs for use in the blog, and you keep dodging it, so I took it as you opting out. You keep wanting to deal privately and not publicly. That’s your choice. Like I said, it’s not going to stop me from doing a Stillbirthday post… it’s just a matter of whether you have the courage to answer the questions for me on the record or not.

Now…. that last part… I’m at a loss. I’m not sure what you mean. First of all, “I am aware that not all of our exchanges are in this forwarded email”…. huh? Maybe my email server cut some older ones off? I’m trying to figure out what you meant there. Do you just mean that we have spoken before outside of email? Sure, okay, that’s probably likely. “that it is apparent that you have altered them. ”  That is crazy! Are you actually accusing me of changing these messages? Heidi, I thought you were being sane and rational with me. Please, please, please, don’t make me think you are that warped as to say that. I hope you don’t really believe that. Please show me where they’ve been altered so I can try to see what you mean. I swear on my honor I have not altered anything. I am many, many things you may despise, but a liar is not one of them.

Thank you for your time… I hope somehow we can rectify this, as apparently it is getting ugly. One thing is for sure– I will NOT be had. All I wanted was to ask some questions. If people are out to get me or try to paint me as something I’m not, I WILL expose the full and total truth. Let’s be fair. here. I still haven’t published anything yet, so there is still time. I’m kind of busy. I’m not going to wait around for you or anything, but assuming you may be able to patch things up in a way that made me feel publishing our exchange is NOT necessary, I would reconsider. Otherwise, I should be able to defend myself, and you should expect me to do that wholeheartedly.

Elizabeth

This was the end of our e-mail correspondence. Heidi never responded, never offered any private, off the record enlightenment as she claimed was on the table and she continues to maintain publicly that I refused further private help or education.  From the understanding that I had still be publicly asked questions about Stillbirthday, she has since written posts about Michelle and I a la “lost sheep” via that site, and with no further interest in clarifications to me, Michelle, or to the public. When I attempted to comment on said posts, she refused to publish the comments, but did update her post to goad me. I allowed her to comment on my posts regarding Stillbirthday. She also made her presence known to me around the internet, in liking and commenting on things I had said, using those as opportunities to promote Stillbirthday.

Michelle and I still have yet to receive any sincere explanations– publicly or privately– to what we feel logically and emotionally are valid concerns, regardless of our differences.


“Unity & Healing”: The Secret Group (Part 4)

January 4, 2013
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Eventually, I got tired of the one-sided nature of the relationship. She was the big mighty BWF, and she would share things I shared right after I shared them but with no credit (coincidence, right?). I would come and pay attention to her but she would never leave comments on my page, or reference me, or shout me out… I wasn’t sure if I was being purposefully shunned or if I was just too little a page to notice. However, her personal profile was also a fan of my page, so I figured I had definitely registered on her radar. But once I realized that this was not a give and take mutual thing, and I was fairly sure I did not have her true support, I decided to unlike BWF and I quietly blocked her page, and maybe even her personal page (not sure). I didn’t want her to have access to me anymore if she was only going to rip material off me and only shout out things from her paid sponsors.

Plus, I was a little tired of her shenanigans. She would bring up controversial discussions like circumcision, politics, and abortion, and then get all up in arms when people would have heated disagreements… as if she didn’t know that was going to happen! Her “now now, children, I expected you to be good” responses were wearing thin. Her tone was, “Am I the only reasonable and non-drama-like human being here?” I found that anyone who disagreed with her, even politely, she accused them of “drama”. I lost respect for her. I didn’t care how big and popular she was, I had to start ignoring her. It was no longer positive and informative, it was a way to feel personally powerful and important. Her rude and dismissive nature was rampant and going unchecked.

I found she took that same inflated ego into the secret group with us, attempting to regulate and condescend in a tone I could only hope she did not use with her own children, friends, and family… and I don’t respond well to that. You all know I question authority, and she was attempting to be just that. Whenever she and I would butt heads in this secret group, she would say something like “You and I have no history…” as if to say, “I have no reason to be against you, no preconceived notions…” and I let it slide, and I let it slide. She said it one too many times and I finally responded, “Actually January, we do.” And then I explained the times I liked her, supported her, reached out to her, and that she had apparently forgotten all the times I defended her or supported her, and asked and received nothing in return. This caused her to truly flip. She got even more vicious at that point and resorted to personal attacks, all the while accusing me of being the only problem in the group. “Everyone else is trying, but you.”

Sammy (The Skeptical Mother) and Michelle, btw, to this day do support me and agree with my stance.

Despite my problems with Dr. Amy, the trolls, anti-NCB rhetoric, in the end the thing itself that was vicious enough to make me leave and give up was January, Birth Without Fear herself. It is with great humility that I admit that she made me, the wannabe-hardass, cry. That’s the level of manipulation, cruelty, and table-turning she exercised in that “Unity and Healing” group. And the bullying didn’t stop there.

After I left, she came on my page and did this (yes, January herself trolled):

Then she swiftly deleted it and pretended nothing ever happened. But not before I got the screen shot.

Since then, I have noticed her make all kinds of claims about people copying her, as she ripped things from me, probably other smaller pages, and Sammy. Once BWF had her own style, but since new kid Sammy hit the scene with her new style (uplifting photo material, mostly), there’s been an obvious shift for BWF in that same direction, including from the same exact pages, photos, and photographers. Sammy’s page is now very huge, almost as popular as BWF, and rising. I saw BWF once claim she was the “only natural birth page” to support all choice, including c-section, and she received numerous accolades and kudos from her devoted and appreciative fans. This was done very shortly after The Skeptical Mother did a lot of popular material on positive c-section info. Of course, I suspect that if any of this were brought to her attention, she would say, “I have no idea what you are talking about. :)”

[Future posts will elaborate on Birth Without Fear’s ambition; search for “Birth Without Fear” or click category “Greed”.]

One of the things I was attacked for on BWF’s page right before we created the group was by Heidi, who informed me I would “never be as big as BWF!” It was out of left field, as it had nothing at all to do with what we were arguing about, but to me it painted the picture and set the stage for what inferiority and turf war mentalities we were actually dealing with. A prelude of what was to come, if you will. I never wanted to be her, claim her spot, surpass her… but she does seem to pride herself on being an “only one”, and she will do what it takes to stay on top, even if it means biting styles and “sleeping with the enemy”.

When The Feminist Breeder took back her endorsement of Stillbirthday in light of the facts, there was an uproar. We were all there watching and participating in a back and forth. I believe this may have been one of the occasions that Dr. Amy herself came in with her support of Heidi… a wonderful, caring person doing a great service for grieving mothers, she said… and of course she made it clear that anyone else such as myself trying to diminish that were only purely hateful and cruelty-motivated. Even if she were right (which she’s not), wouldn’t that be the pot calling the kettle black? Amy, concerned with emotions over expertise? Amy, thinking someone else was cruel for caring about the health and welfare of others? That’s rich. January came in and attempted to support them, and luckily Gina (TFB) could not be convinced (or bought). I alluded to January being a sellout and she called that disgusting, which was liked by several Fed Up/Raptors members. I think all of that pretty much sealed the deal for Gina, as well as so many onlookers.

For the record, she is a sellout in my eyes because she was supposed to be about encouraging women to give Birth Without Fear, but instead she was (at that time) posting a lot about birthing with fear, particularly about dangerous home birth and the idea that midwives are dangerous, that unassisted birth can be scary, etc. When you start inspiring fear and doing the bidding of your former enemies, I don’t know what word is more appropriate. In the group I had warned her about remembering her initial message, because women come to her for a very specific reason– a moral support to believe in themselves with birth and overcome their fears. I expected this could bruise her fragile ego (after all, who am I to give her advice? I had about 700 fans at the time), but to her credit, she was surprisingly gracious and accepting of my opinion (on this matter).

Later, January shared Liz’s loss story in support. Mama Birth, known for being a page that was friendly with BWF and allegedly a personal friend of January, tried to share the same story and was over-run with troll attacks over it. January did and said nothing for her friend or the page (at least as seemed apparently publicly), and continued using BWF to support Stillbirthday. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Everything is politics. It doesn’t have to be, but human beings are conniving, deceptive, manipulative creatures. This past election people were demanding Mitt Romney show his tax returns from several years. In the birth world, I want to know if BWF is holding a  Stillbirthday receipt, or if her loyalty was bought with something other than money. Maybe it was bought with fear– the fear of always being targeted and unliked by a relentless group– and the promise of turning enemies into colleagues. She has reportedly had to re-ban several trolls since, so I’m not sure if that’s working out well for her.

[Other posts here will show that it is NOT working out well for her, where we will detail how trolls are still against her.]

Since then, both BWF and Stillbirthday have separately introduced new ways to accept money, including a donation fund for helping women (have better births?), and a cake-making service in honor of lost babies. Heidi, who once told me off over my “flimsy book”, has since used the same exact venue/format to publish her own book about healing. My book In Search of the Perfect Birth, by the way, is my own personal birth stories and account of how I healed from birth trauma. Heidi is a doula, certified childbirth educator, and grief counselor via her founder status at Stillbirthday. Several trolls and friends of Heidi have attacked me over my book, even trying to degrade it’s indie status in continuously harping on it being “self published”, but of course do not sling the same insult over at Heidi.

So much of everyone’s outrage and uproar is money motivated, or ambition motivated, if it is coming from January or Heidi. In fact, maybe that’s it:  before I left, we were all in talks to do a mega blog together… the big daddy of birthing blogs. If you knew all of us were doing a birth blog coming from all these different angles, wouldn’t the readership be tremendous? Of course it would. The blog of course… never came to fruition. They were all trying to use this prospect to coerce me into dropping the Stillbirthday stuff, and I’ll be honest– I almost considered it. They almost had me because for a moment they confused me into thinking that they were all being reasonable… that’s my weakness. It wasn’t power or greed like BWF, or the semblance of peace like Sammy… it’s the seeming of people being reasonable and understanding. They almost had me. What popped that bubble for me in the end was how hasty they were trying to force my hand. Heidi and Lisa kept saying to give me time, and go easy with me, and they tried in their own ways, but January and Liz and Bambi could not be held off that long. If they had, and I had seen them as also being “reasonable”, I hate to think that I too would have “sold out”. Being part of a big birth blog? For what? To become more well known or popular? Hopefully my deep love of the truth would have kept me from falling into those traps as so many others have. But luckily, we’ll never know, because some people never even tried to be reasonable with me. They just didn’t have it in them.

Stillbirthday of course still continues, gains fans, and Raptors are still in positions with the group. Dr. Amy, Birth Without Fear and Vylette’s page are still fans, and The Feminist Breeder is still opposed.

This is just one story of the inner workings and power plays of the manipulative groups and pages on the internet. There are many more that we don’t know about. I was in this one for a brief moment in life, so this was my story.

Some of the alleged events I was not a personal party to were relayed to me secondhand by observers of events as they unfolded. They took place on public pages for all to see, but some interactions have since been deleted.


“Unity & Healing”: The Secret Group (Part 3)

January 4, 2013
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When I would start to get attacked from multiple angles by Liz, Bambi, and January, I would ask Sammy and Michelle to say something (knowing they would not agree with the attacks). I would get told by January that that was childish and to stop asking for my friends to come and have my back. [January, btw, is known for privately beckoning to people for support and getting offended when they don’t rally behind her. In fact, Michelle would later tell me of a few occasions in which January did this to her. I have other friends who have also been personally witness to this trait in January.] I’d get attacked some more, and I would say that my friends agree with me, because I know, because we are discussing it privately. Heidi would inform me that it sounded like I was trying to throw my friends under the bus when they trusted me with something they weren’t willing to say in the group, and I would delete my claims, grudgingly agreeing. I was getting desperate and feeling quite alone, so I guess I was just being human. I didn’t want to be without honor, so I stopped trying to refer to my friends and speak for them. I knew they had my back, but if for whatever reason they were unwilling to say in the group what they had been saying privately, I had no choice but to accept this. I was getting so, so tired of everyone being so secretive. Real truth was the only path to anything productive, yet everyone was here jerking each other around, and I was automatically the bad guy over it.

Eventually it was so overwhelming, getting picked and picked and picked apart with no support, I left. Lisa had been surprisingly patient and kind with me, and Heidi was nice but was still clearly not “getting it”… she kept asking if I could see now or if I was ready now to give up. Much of this group was like a hostile interrogation, and this was not about Unity nor Healing, but clearly about getting three women– Sammy, Michelle, and mainly me– to lay off Stillbirthday for good, if not endorse it.

I made it very clear that I wasn’t here for that purpose and would probably never agree to this, and they should stop badgering and attacking me, and the final straw was January. She and Liz and Bambi seemed to feed off each other with the negative attacks, each giving renewed energy to the other, and January accused me of being a troll more than any of the Raptors or anti-NCB. After all she had been through with them, all I and Sammy and Michelle had, and after everything I had done (unrecognized) to support her, and our supposedly common belief in birth being safe… that was just the end. I guess that’s what someone is (a troll) when they don’t agree with something just because January sanctioned it. Now I was finally starting to see why the trolls always accused January of being a silencer. Maybe that was one thing they were actually right about. So, I said, that’s enough. I’m not here to take verbal abuse. And I left.

A little background: Over a year and a half ago, I became aware of the trolls when the targeted me at an internet forum. They didn’t like that I was discussing pro-UC beliefs on a UC forum (of all places!) and that I felt one could heal from previous birth trauma through a natural birth gone right. When I published my book, I made my page and reached out to January. I had literally just become aware of BWF and I saw a post she made about the trolls and trying to protect herself and family and I could relate. I sent her a message about how I had trouble with the same people, and asked if she could give me more info because I too was trying to protect myself and my family. I received no response. I tried to shrug it off as she was busy, or she didn’t know if she could trust me with that info yet. I was vulnerable and needed camaraderie, solidarity, and mercy, however.

I liked her via FB on my page and would make comments on hers, shared her info, and gave her support. She would gripe about the trolls being mean, how they called her ugly and fat, and I would give her the pep talks, told her how she was none of those things and how important it was she do what she does. And she would like those comments. In fact, the only time January EVER acknowledged me was if I said something that would build her up.

Continued…


“Unity & Healing”: The Secret Group (Part 2)

January 4, 2013
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Liz, who was formerly nice, started getting impatient with me. She popped in on my page to say “isn’t it time to take this down now?” in reference to a Stillbirthday blog post of mine. I informed her that she was jumping the gun, and I was nowhere near agreeing with that. Now in the group, Liz started to get snippy with me. Bambi, who’d been mostly silent, non-participatory, and giving what some of us considered to be insincere apologies, finally starting chiming in on the attack mode and calling the only apology I could give (my olive branch) a bullshit one. They started ripping into me, saying I was being hurtful on purpose, and January went and liked everything they said to antagonize or provoke me, and then she came in with more of her personal brand of bullshit. January clearly thought she was the boss, the mediator, the moral superior of the group… but she had an agenda, and that agenda was to get me to take back everything I said about Stillbirthday.

At one point in the discussions, when things had still been semi-decent, Bambi thanked me for being a supporter of Justice for Vylette, and then asked me why I was so supportive of her and not of Bambi (and maybe of Liz too… can’t recall) in their quests to “make birth safer”. So, I tried to as tactfully as I could explain that I could see that from Vylette’s story, wrongdoing had been done. In Vylette’s story, she was ignored by medical professionals and that is what resulted in her loss. I had to try to admit that I didn’t have the same feeling when I read Bambi’s story. This sent everyone into a tizzy. I had been cornered and asked a very specific question that was potentially holding a painful answer, and they didn’t want the truth. They wanted a pretty lie. They wanted a, “Gee, I never thought about it that way! You’re right!” I couldn’t give that to them. These are the things we are never supposed to say to each other lest we be hurtful, but I was asked a direct question and I was in a private group. My alternatives were to lie or to plead the fifth. There was no right answer.

Honestly, the truth is, everything is hearsay. You hear one side of a story on a blog, fb page, or book. Internet diagnosis is foolish. I have my opinions based on YOUR story, nothing more. That’s all I have to go on. That’s all any of us have, and we could be wrong in anything we discern.

January was furious. What was I trying to do, she demanded? Of course Bambi’s baby was murdered by a negligent midwife, duh. That was obvious. And how dare I openly admit in this secret group that I didn’t know that was the cause, or didn’t feel that way deep in my heart? I admitted how sorry I was for everyone, that I read their birth stories several times, that I had cried for them and their babies, but none of that had meant anything to them because in the end I couldn’t feel the same conclusion or place the same blame. And I had been forced to admit that because of a hard question.

Sammy and Michelle didn’t do much talking. They were both burnt out. Sammy was resolved to just make peace and admittedly did not see all of the back and forth and attacks. Michelle was going through a lot, being very pregnant and having a recent death in the family, so she was equally sporadic and deflated. People were really running on fumes emotionally to be dealing with this, so a lot of it was me vs. the crowd.

Continued…


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    Content not accompanied/supported by evidence is anecdotal and provided by participants and donor submission. Everything herein is factual to the best of our knowledge; however, individual discretion is urged and advised.

    The opinions expressed here through observation and experience are protected by free speech.