Open Letter in Response to ‘One Lost Sheep’ from Stillbirthday

31 01 2012

I re-read this, this time carefully. I softened. I felt through you for a minute, and for a minute believed that this really was good, as were our “enemies”, as were you… until I got to the end. The end where you still speak of slander, and where you dare to forgive my friend for her normal reaction to sudden and unexpected opposition. It came across as condescending. When we haven’t slandered, we don’t need forgiveness. When all loss moms are angry and have suffered and want a voice, why are some allowed to express anything about anyone, while others are expected to hold their tongues even while being assaulted? Why are we playing by different rules? Why are some given a free pass on anything, but not my friend? Who approves who we may speak ill of? Is there a list?

Sometimes "lost sheep" are just "black sheep".

The things you said, about her friends, and propaganda… I have a hard time thinking you truly believe that. DO you truly believe that? It really just… simply, blows my mind. My first instinct was that you were twisting and turning it all, using what you know are our feelings and making them your own, so that the roles appear reversed to the reader… a manipulation. But, could you truly feel that this was accurate? Maybe you do. I am trying to remain open to the idea that somewhere inside you actually believe we are allowing our friend’s story to become “lost” in our agenda (which happens to be her belief [system– in reference to the “agenda”], btw, and has been her belief system all along– it was not rocked or challenged by loss.).

We each have “propaganda”, by the other’s standards. Make no mistakes. And we each have friends who help us share our story, so we can tell our truth as we see it. We were drawn to our friend not because we saw someone to mold, but because we saw someone who was grounded and admirable, graceful under tragedy, and we wanted others to listen. We’ve had no effect on her message or her voice other than accessibility. We did not, as some of you have, taken her in fresh grief and impressed upon her our feelings about one birth method being any better than another.

You sit there and tell this woman that she, in her former and her usual peace, is not truly healed… while recommending that she eventually see “the truth”… the truth as your friends have seen it, your truth which from our eyes only held anger and blame in a blanketing sweep. The angry truth. Is that better for her? Because my friend had her head on straight and was mad at no one until she was provoked. The pain she feels now is from whatever is inflicted on her by the blamers, the rage-addicts. In other words, she was fine until you all got to her to intentionally wound her. But she remains the villain in your story. As do I. I could assure you our noble intent, our heart, our truth, goodness and fairness in judgment… but I don’t think you could agree. Regardless, I would challenge you to reexamine, in humility, that none of you are fit to judge this woman, her calm method of accepting The Creator’s plan, nor are any of you properly trained or equipped to, from a distance, tell her who and what was responsible for her loss. An acknowledgment of these things would be nice, but we will not wait or expect.

So who, in this analogy, needs to repent? Repent what? Repent homebirth? Repent defending oneself against new, self-appointed enemies? I don’t know. I just don’t know. But I know lost sheep when I see them, and my dear friends and I… I have never seen such strong, stable, gracious, compassionate, loving, spiritual, in-tune and intuitive wise women in my life. Women who would cry over anyone’s heartbreak, mock no one’s pain, attempt to wound no stranger nor sister, and who attempt to regain balance and healing when life knocks us down. We stand on our own, and maybe we are lucky for that… we are not in any circle trying desperately to fit in, as we have moved past that. I say “lucky” because perhaps different life circumstances would have had us taking a beating and coming back for more, looking for stability and kinship from those who greet us with abuse. So, we are lucky that we have the luxury to have the ability to choose to be tough and say we find this unacceptable. We are, in my eyes, not lost at all. We are found.

Or are your friends the lost sheep, and you are Jesus going back for them?

Perhaps you find the virtue in coming back again, and again, and again after being kicked and slapped. There is some patience in it, but for us, it is masochism. We do not insist on belonging to people who have shown us their hate for us. In fact, we never asked to know of their hate, so we take even that knowledge as an offense. There are places where you will find love and togetherness without sacrificing your happiness or self worth.

I want to go back to sympathizing, to seeing you as real women with hearts, with feelings… but that can never be easy so long as you all are held up here, on some pedestal of your own design… cast as victims and good people who are allowed any transgression with excuses and forgiveness endlessly, while your sisters sit on the other side, scorned, even when they’ve spoken nothing false. You’re cutting the line there. I am thankful for it, because if it’s how you really feel, we need to see that. I wouldn’t want it hidden from sight. It just sucks because, I feel like… we were so close. So close to feeling each other, understanding each other. We were almost there.


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9 responses

31 01 2012
susan

beautiful! you got that so right! (((HUGS))) susan DiNatale

2 02 2012
Guest Post by Michelle: Grieving Mothers Deserve Better, Stillbirthday. « theperfectbirth

[…] that claims to care about the healing process of loss mothers) has aimed her way. They publicly rebuke her and made false accusations, but refused to publish this comment of hers, even though we allowed […]

2 02 2012
The Skeptical Mother

I would trade every screen shot I’ve ever taken to have the screen shots of what Bambi said to Michelle. Let me recap here, because this needs to be said in full, so that people can truly understand the full extent of what is going on here. Bear with me.. I’m not going to leave anything out..

It was November. I wrote a post on my page about midwives that infuriated “the trolls”. It was actually in reference to a conversation that had taken place on this blog in the comment section, but of course I was accused of doing it for other reasons. I can actually understand why it originally came across that way, but even after I had expressed the truth of my intention, my page continued to be attacked for hours- even days.

One of the trolls, Lindsay, wrote a post on my wall that said this: ” Are you even real? You never post pictures or your birth story or anything about yourself. Hey ladies, what do you think?”
Looking back now, I can’t believe I let a post like that remain on my wall( Lindsay did erase it unexpectedly, however). Nevertheless, I allowed it up and explained that just because I’m a private person does not mean that I am not real.

Ahhhh.. here comes Michelle. Sweet Michelle. I could have hugged you. I could have kissed you! I had never seen you before. It was the very first time I had ever noticed you comment on my page. I remember you stood up for me. You were the only one at the time who did ( Elizabeth was not online). You very kindly and very respectfully, told Lindsay and Bambi that I had every right to protect my identity and do what I felt comfortable doing, on my own page. I remember how they both tried to convince you how terrible I was. That you shouldn’t listen to me, that you shouldn’t stand up for me, that you shouldn’t like my page. You were so calm and so collected. I had so much respect for you, Michelle, and was so thankful that you stepped in with your very valid and calm comments.

It wasn’t long before Lindsay and Bambi realized that they were not going to convince Michelle to see things their way, and so of course, they turned on her as well. Michelle never lost her cool.. not even for one second. Even when they became more and more emotional and vicious and mean, she kept it together.

Then it happened. Michelle said, ” I lost my baby in homebirth and I do not blame my midwife. Nothing would have saved my baby. Sometimes, there is no one to blame, no one to hate.”
Keep in mind, no one knew anything about Michelle at this point. They did not know her past, her story.. nothing. Nothing except those words that SHE had said.. ” I lost my baby at a homebirth and I do not blame my midwife..”

The next few comments blew my mind.. they shouldn’t have ( I should have been used to this by now), but they did, because they were SO cruel.

Bambi immediately responded by telling Michelle that she had killed her son. That is no exaggeration, no twisting of words.. she said- point blank- either you murdered, or you killed your son. And that wasn’t all. She also told Michelle she felt sorry for her children. Lindsay liked the comments.

More was said, I’m sure of that, more names were called but those two distinct comments, I’ll never forget. And the most incredible thing of all was that Michelle remained calm and civil despite what was said to her. We are talking about a mother who lost her son during labor and was told, point blank, that she killed him and that her children were pitied because she did not blame her midwife.

Michelle has a right to be angry. She may have been composed at the time but how long can someone remain composed after something like that is said? How would YOU feel if you found out that the woman who said this to you, not only lost HER baby at a homebirth but is also about to MENTOR women who lose their babies after pregnancy and birth?? How would you feel? If she were your friend, how would you feel? Better yet, what would YOU do?

Michelle and Elizabeth have very valid concerns, if that cannot be acknowledged then that is what we call denial. This is not about letting the past go and moving forward. This happened less than 3 months ago. This is valid. This is important. This needs to be heard. This is about protecting OTHER mothers. Period.

26 06 2012
Amanda

I came across this post in a very random manner. I was trying to learn more about what ‘raptors’ were (in the sense of the NCB movement).

Please let me tell you that I was Lindsay’s closest friend throughout highschool and we became close again while i was pregnant with my second child.

I had a very successful homebirth.

She had recently lost her brother-in-law in an accident and I tried my best to be there for her, to show support.

One night (early morning I should say, about 3AM – I had a newborn and was up at this time) she posted on FB about how she was lost. I had replied something in teh manner of “Sometimes we think we’re lost, but we’re never lost completely.”

She immediately shot it down – and responded – “No, I’m lost”

Being 3AM with lack of sleep – i lost it. i responded by stating “Stay lost then.” I deleted the comment, but posted several other comments and deleted them as well – I knew that I had responded in a terrible manner that i should have never said.

Instead of talking to me about this incident – she went and posted every comment that i delete (she retreved from her emails) and told all of her followers on her blog what a terrible person i was – how i was never her friend and that i was a ‘druggy slut’.

how could this come from a person that i shared so much with? i didnt understand it.

she continued to bash me every chance she got (on her blog, fb, etc.) and i never retaliated on my blog – ever. i knew what i said was wrong – i sent her a private letter stating i was sorry – she used this, again, on her blog to embaress me, telling everyone I was a creeppy stalker.

this young woman has something mentally wrong with her. I think she has found comfort in another young lady (Bambi) that shares the same unkind nature.

I feel like I should apologize in some way – maybe if I had not responded that evening the way I had, your friend Michele would not have been on the receiving end of such hatefulness.

Even now – I’m reserved in posting this because I forecast her using this post to create more hate in the future for me and my family…

27 06 2012
♥♂►Elizabeth, ISOTP Birth◄♀♥

Oh Amanda… (hug)

I know you regret saying what you did, and even were unsure of posting here, but you have done NOTHING WRONG. You are a human being with human feelings and you were expressing yourself to a friend. Even when you tried to make it right, it wasn’t good enough. Once they decide that you are the enemy, that is it. There is no turning back… they are dead set on it. My interactions with Lindsay have been extraordinarily foul and I find that she never even attempts to meet me on common ground or see me as a person… everything is only about ridiculing and being cruel, and starting fights.

I don’t doubt that she is going through some powerful shit, as are Bambi and all of their friends. How it is being dealt with, however, is not healthy. I would say that it’s their choice, but when they start lashing out at other people (you, me, Michelle), that is no longer their right. I know one day, maybe not in this lifetime, they will look back at this and feel a lot of heaviness and remorse for how they’ve reacted to us and the world around them. Until that time, my policy tends to be starve the beast (or attack it head-on when it is charging you). For now, their pain is feeding off of each other’s pain, and if you even TRY to stand in the way of that (as any good friend would), you are the enemy. You and I… are the enemy. It’s ass backwards.

Michelle represents everything they hate– peace in the face of grief… something beyond their comprehension. It’s not your fault they came after her.

I only wish your friend could have REALLY heard you, really heard the heart of what you were trying to say to her, for her… And I hope you and your family are left alone, because the reality is that NONE of us are truly their enemies. What they are fighting is something that stems with themselves.

Love,
Elizabeth

2 02 2012
Michelle

She actually insinuated it was my fault several times over. One of the things I distinctly remember was “Your son would be 6 years old right now but he isn’t because of YOU.” (and the word you was in all caps to emphasize that it was my fault he wasn’t here)

It was the online behaviors(from her and others involved in that post) that I saw unfold after that which made me feel angry. Not just because of what was said to me but because innocent people are being hurt or targeted unnecessarily. This is not only unhealthy but it is WRONG.

I don’t have the right to say whether a midwife is to be blamed or not at a birth I was not present for and I never have assumed one way or the other (contrary to what has happened to me regarding my birth where suddenly everyone becomes an online doctor, coroner, and detective and thus decided that they were certain my midwife/homebirth is the reason for my baby’s death). However I do not feel it is appropriate for an entire career choice to be the target of someone’s rage over what they feel happened to them. It is also not appropriate for blame to be placed on individuals who have/express opinions on the internet which happened to be read by someone who had a tragic loss after reading those opinions. And THIS is the kind of behavior SEVERAL of the mentors display which is NOT A HEALTHY WAY TO GRIEVE.

2 02 2012
♥♂►Elizabeth, ISOTP Birth◄♀♥

The Dr. Amy people, the Fed Up With Natural Birth people, the trolls, the Raptors, the Hurt by Homebirth people…

They all are very mean-spirited and target people in aggressive, semi-organized attacks.

They come in varying degrees, and some will seem kinder hearted than others, but their ideology which unites them is the same. It has taken me a year to realize that, after interacting with people as individuals. What draws them into the group is the same.

And Stillbirthday is a front to continue these activities under the guise of “helping people”.

I’m tired of watching people get fooled or hurt. I was one, Michelle was one, Sammy was one… there are countless others. Were you one? Time to let the cat out of the bag. I’m exposing the truth.

2 02 2012
The Skeptical Mother

You know what? You know what would be a nice start? At least in my eyes.. I can’t speak for Michelle and Elizabeth, but it certainly would be a start if Bambi gave Michelle a sincere apology for what she said, and admitted to her that it was wrong. It would be nice if Bambi told Michelle that she would never say this to another mother again. I’m talking about a sincere and meaningful apology.. that would be a start…

I have yet to see Bambi ( or anyone else for that matter) even acknowledge what she did. So easy to pass blame.. where is the responsibility taking? When does that ever happen? It’s always about the ego.. no one ever wants to be wrong. But this *was* wrong and if everyone is going to keep pretending it never happened, we aren’t going to be able to move passed it. I know I have a hard time believing that Bambi has compassion, if she can’t reach out to Michelle and say.. I was wrong. I am truly sorry for what I said.

24 04 2012
Just Quick Clarifications (For the Stillbirthday Debacle) « theperfectbirth

[…] it was occurring.  At that point, it was concerned loss mothers who’d been victimized by the Mentors at Stillbirthday who had spoken up to spark her retraction of endorsing their site in the first […]

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