Saturday, July 7, 2012

Taming the Birth Snark

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am a stickler for civil discourse during disagreements. I absolutely adore calm intellectual debate in which participants can keep their tempers and their sense of humor, and in which people are polite and loving even while they disagree. What I cannot stand (and will immediately delete) are commenters or discussions that are rude, belligerent, combative, or unkind in any way.

Something that has bothered me greatly as I survey the web is the large amount of bullying that I see going on. Articles written to bully, belittle, or humiliate other writers. "The Mommy Wars." Or when a group of people will actually get together to form a website whose sole purpose is to attack and criticize a blogger or other internet persona. It's sad, and it's sick. I would have hoped for better things (though perhaps not, knowing human nature).

But of course, I would be above such things! (*Insert nose-in-the-air look of haughty superiority*) Of course I would.... until I get smacked upside the head with a reminder of my own sinful nature and the need I have of remembering to be kind to other writers.

This past week, I read an article on a blog that I otherwise have enjoyed, and it really had me seeing red. Not just a pale, mild-colored red, but a brick-red, steam-breathing red that was shooting flames out of my ears. I was upset almost to the point of tears by this article. (Go read it.)

Don't get me wrong - the article had its good points. And it wasn't an outrageously bad article. But the moral of the article seemed to me to be, "Moms who attempt to have input into their births are selfish control-freaks who are only in it for the experience and don't care about their babies." By logical conclusion, it would therefore be a Christian virtue to be and stay ignorant of beneficial vs. detrimental birthing practices, go to a hospital and immediately hand over one's body and one's baby to the established maternity system without asking any questions. (I expect that I am exaggerating. I usually do when I'm upset.)

And immediately after reading this (and dousing those flames that were streaming out of my ears), I began to craft a mental blog post refuting the above article, point by point.

And it was pure snark. Sarcastic, unkind, judgmental, finger-pointing, rage-type snark. 

("So how about that loving, gentle, civil, kind discussion technique thing you talked about?")

Oh. Oops.

You see, this blog is my attempt at birth activism - bettering birth choices and birth care for women of the world through writing. But what happens when I unleash an inner snark, and my writing becomes bitter, angry, and sarcastic?

Not much.

Sometimes it can be fun preaching to the choir (who usually appreciates a snark or two), but the main point is not preaching to the choir - it's changing the hearts of those who aren't "in the choir" - who need to hear the truth about maternity care and how it can be changed for the better.

I won't be changing any hearts by writing through rage. And though I do occasionally need to use this blog to vent (very few birth workers can avoid venting at least occasionally), my main intent is to write with love in order to change hearts.

So I'll be back at a later date to write a rebuttal to this article - when I've calmed down and am able to write like I should.

In the meantime, feel free to jump over to that article (or the next article on the blog, which made me almost as angry as the first one) and join the discussion! They could seriously use some informed birth workers to chime in. (The writer wrote an extra note to the first article after getting so many comments, which did help a bit.)


  1. Uh-oh! You must have meant "discourse", not "intercourse" in that first sentence! :) Made me chuckle, though!

  2. Oops!! Change made, LOL!!! :)

  3. I kinda got the same feeling from that post. There could have been a point in there, but it wasn't worth the snooty attitude. Really unusual for her. (And how did I miss your blog all this time?? Ugh! Sometimes I hate the internet. It's too big!)

  4. Hi, Cindy! So glad to have you visit! My other blog is more active right now (homeschool is taking over my brain), but I try to check in on both of them.

    Yes, this article did upset me... I probably would have unsubscribed if I could figure out how to do it (my account has a problem). And I am going to be writing a birth article very soon, taking off on this - it will be called "Why 'Giving Up My Rights' Does Not Mean 'Please Abuse Me.'" The author and the commenters really seemed confused on that subject (i.e. thinking that willingly permitting birthing abuses was a Christian virtue).

    Have a great night!!!


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