Thursday, September 27, 2012

When the Pot Calls the Kettle Black

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."  
- Arthur Schopenhauer

This is an unplanned post, but one that needs attention.  In response to Monday's post entitled, Finding Fault in Limited Choices, we received a comment that represents well, the sentiment of those that fight so hard to protect their own choices at the sacrifice of others.  These are the same people who have chosen to ignore multiple deaths, injuries, and near misses in the hands of midwives in the Lansing area.  The same people who have indirectly called me a slew of names in response to telling the truth about what happened to our family.  Among them, "cult leader, delusional, mentally unstable, hater of midwives, destroyer of midwifery, persecutor, and now...pathetic."

Much of these accusations have been in  Face Book groups or thorough email behind my back.  More recently, commenting anonymously on our blog seems like a way to vent anger.  The attacks are becoming more direct through my personal email, and now on the blog, yet somehow I'm the angry, hateful one in this situation...?  Yep, that's the pot calling the kettle black alright.  I thought our readers deserved to read firsthand just the kind of people we're dealing with here. 

Thank you "anonymous" commenter for making this point for me from Monday's blog post: "I've also yet to meet a grieving family who steps into the media to be scrutinized, attacked, and shunned just for the fun of it."   

Your comment is exactly the commentary I'm referring to:

     "1 person can do so much good or bad. You claim to want to improve midwifery yet you  
     are really out to destroy it. Don’t fool yourself because you are not fooling others, not for 
     a minute.  You devote so much time to hate, on so many levels including multiple hate 
     groups here on the internet, and in what you spew and write. How do you have time to 
     adequately take care of your family? I am concerned for your mental well being, 
     seriously. Remember, we all become a product of our environment thus you have
     become a bitter hateful person. You are so pathetic that I am very sad for you. I am
     glad to see you say you take responsibility for (only) some things…
    “'Anger is like flowing water; there's nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate 
     is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom
     to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget. Stagnant water becomes 
     dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water 
     travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow 
     your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.”  
    ― C. JoyBell C.'"

The word denial comes to mind... 

de·ni·al  (n.)

An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.

I just do not see how anything about this blog is out to "destroy midwifery".  How is it that telling the truth of the stories I hear from families across the state, as well as my own, constitute hate?  How does asking for higher standards and safer practices represent bitterness?  This blog would be difficult to write if one word of it were fabricated.  Sadly, it flows too easily because every word, and every reference to dangerous practices is something that has happened to a family in our state.  Who in their right mind wouldn't want to  know these things were happening?  Who wouldn't want them to change?  It's not about hate in even the slightest way.  It's about pulling back a dark curtain of lies, misrepresentations, cover-ups, and untruths to reveal an ugly truth that must be addressed if midwifery is going to be a safe option for women.  I do not think the midwives I'm referring to are the majority, but the dangerous few.  If we can't delineate the safe practices from those that area costing lives, we can't work to improve the practice.      

As for spending time with my family?  Well, let's just say I'd much rather be chasing around my 1 and a half year old than telling the world about his preventable death that never should have happened, and trying to make sure it doesn't happen to others.  It's not work I asked for, but it is work I must do.  To be silent about such atrocities, would be concealing things I know are wrong, and I cannot live that lie.  I have two children to protect, one I can see and hug every day, and another whose love and life I had to learn to know differently.  Whether on this earth or not, they both deserve to be protected, defended, and loved when someone brings them harm.  There is no greater honor I can offer Magnus, or any other member of our family, than telling the truth about what happened to us. 

I'm sorry that some people are not able to walk a moment in my shoes, and see what I have seen.  Until your baby dies in your arms because of severe negligence, you can't even begin to imagine my perspective.  Until you read the lies your midwife wrote about you, and realize the lies she told you that put you in great danger, you will never understand why we must take action.  You can make up lies about me that help you cope in a sea of denial.  You can choose to ignore the problems families are facing, and in doing so, it will be the people like you that ultimately do midwifery the greatest amount of harm.   I understand that grieving for a lost illusion is easier for some that facing reality.  

Like I said in Monday's post, I accept the blame, the anger, the "hate" that somehow makes some people feel better,  if it means things are safer in the end.   To those who call loss moms "pathetic" for speaking out and trying to advocate for safety...well, it's that darn pot and kettle idiom all over again.     

"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." - Winston Churchill


  1. Sara, I just want to be face to face with you and give you a hug and say you are not alone in this. You do have support and these that accuse you of hate are the ones calling names and spewing hate. Quite a contradiction and a showing of true colors. I'm so sorry that we have this miserable path in common. Much love to you and your family.

  2. Beautiful. I'm so sorry you have to fight this fight, but hopefully it will be so another family does not have to walk in your shoes. Keep up the fantastic work that you do for Moms, Dads, Families, and Babies.

  3. I thank you for fighting this fight, but am so incredibly sad that you have to due to a midwife's negligence. I only hope that your fight leads to positive changes so no Mom, Dad, Baby, or Family has to go through what you guys have.

  4. I have always been amazed out how non-emotional your tone has been given all you've been through. I see you as a heroic person who has taken a terrible tragedy and tried to bring some good out of it in a helpful, practical, effective way. It's always hard to rock the boat and expose a "cultish" view of certain things. The ridiculous and foolish negativity you receive is inevitable. Keep up your good and worthy fight!

  5. This is one of the most off-kilter and mean-spirited things I've read in a long time. The part of the comment about wondering how Sara finds time to "adequately take care of" her family - which insinuates that she isn't a good mother - is a particularly low blow. It is unfortunate that the people who are the least empathetic, the least imaginative and the most short-sighted are often the ones with the loudest voices.

  6. A few months ago I discovered the Skeptical Ob site which was where I first came across your story. Since then I have been and continue to be utterly flabergasted by the number of deaths, injuries and near misses occuring at the hands of CPM's. I am a midwife and live in Australia where I also trained and currently practice. When I read these accounts which occur with alarming regularity, I always respond in my mind and heart with - what can be done? what can be done? It must be infuriatingly frustrating that law and policy makers seem impotent to do anything about it as there seems to be a lot of ignorance about the CPM credential and how it differs from a valid one obtained via university education. I really wish you well with your efforts to bring about change to legislation and educate and inform the unsuspecting public.

    1. Thank you Love Never Fails. This means a lot coming from a midwife. I really believe in options, and I believe in the gift of midwifery when it's practiced responsibly. An appropriate minimum standard for education and training would do a world of good. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  7. I have always thought that you've handled yourself gracefully and with civility. You have never been rude or hateful to anyone, in actuality, you have always come off as someone who is fair and reasonable. I understand your battle and only wish that others who are fighting the same one as you, would do so with the calmness and fairness you seem to possess. I know that I am much more inclined to listen to what YOU have to say while others I tend to ignore and just see them as extreme and hateful. You have never given me that impression. So, thank you.. and try not to take those attacks personally. I think you are just being thrown in with other people's actions, which certainly isn't fair, but it's clear that this message does not pertain to you at all.

    1. Thank you Skeptical Mother. Your words mean a lot to me.

  8. To: "sad for you":

    Let me introduce my self; I am Sara's mom. I have never been more proud of this bright, intelligent young woman. When in school, all the way through college, Sara was known for standing up for those who were treated unjustly. Despite her own personal safety she would enter into the dispute. It was important, as it is now, for those around her to see right from wrong. This is nothing new for her. When you described her as "mentally unstable, and full of hate" you pushed me over the edge. You know NOTHING about my daughter. To say such a cruel thing to a fellow woman who is grieving is beyond my comprehension. I have never seen a person approach personal tragedy with such poise and perseverance.

    I have been a nurse for over 27 years and have yet to see anyone battle as she has. What I don't understand, is how some one fails to look at their job with out improving their knowledge base or skill set. I do everyday after I leave work. Can you imagine, 'sad' when one of your children, that is WHEN not if, enters the hospital and the nurses approach their knowledge base like those at Greenhouse? Can you imagine what will happen to that child if the nurses refuse to grow like the nurse at Greenhouse? If the outcome is a negative result would you be angry or hateful? The people at Greenhouse are incapable of introspective evaluation. How can a woman think she knows everything about birth simply because she has a uterus, how can someone think they can deliver a breech, l0 pound baby after attending ONE seminar. The Physicians in the specialty of Obstetrics spend over 12 years preparing for the critical life and death issues that are often seen in child birth. Clearly, this was not offered to Magnus from Greenhouse. They failed him by not keeping true to their professional responsibilities. I read the records, I saw the birth pictures, I saw Magnus.

    Ask the nurse at Green house this question: Did you lie and falsify the medical records? If this person says no, KNOW you are dealing with a very, very dangerous individual. If I did the same I would be fired on the spot AND sued. Why isn't this nurse culpable?

    As far as calling Sara pathetic', HOW DARE you make such a slanderous statement? Your comment is a perfect example of the the incredibly dysfunctional group in Okemos! Some day, I will pick up the phone and hear the voice of the daughter I knew before Greenhouse. I know it will not be soon and the path will be difficult.

    I love you more than words can say Sara. Keep up the Great job!

    1. Perfect response! Sara is lucky to have a mother like you, advocating and supporting her like this! <3

  9. If midwifery is to be only a traditional practice by women who refuse education and oversight and responsibility, then it SHOULD be destroyed.

  10. "You are responsible for your life. You can't keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on." ~ Oprah Winfrey

    It is so human to make mistakes. It is even more human to place the blame for the mistakes on somebody else. However, nobody has been given responsibility for your life except you. So, do not waste time, admit your mistakes, laziness, failures and even inability to do something and try again. That’s how we learn in life. Responsibility makes you a mature person. Of course, if you accept it!

    1. Whoa! Sadforyou. Jeez. Compassion would be much more becoming.

      These comments would be most appropriately directed at midwives.

      Midwives need to be responsible for the actions they take as professionals. So, yes. I agree. It would confer maturity and professionalism.

    2. I would encourage you to look up the meaning of "fiduciary relationship", and further your understanding of what it means to be a professional. Then we can talk about responsibility. Your comment is much like telling a rape victim that perhaps she shouldn't have worn a particular outfit, and she wouldn't have gotten raped. Or perhaps, telling someone whose financial adviser who ran off with all of their money, that they should have chosen a different adviser, and known how to invest in the stock market themselves. We choose airlines for their ticket prices, and the services they offer, but hop in an airplane, depending on them to do their jobs and keep us safe. We ask questions, we place our trust, and we allow professionals to guide us every day of our lives. This was no different.

      We hire professionals for a reason...because they are the experts. We cannot possibly be experts in everything in life, and it would be arrogant to pretend otherwise. When those experts are taking on the responsibility of life and death situations, they should be erring on the side of caution...every single time.