What do midwives and lactation consultants have in common with right wing trolls?

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Who could possibly be so heartless as to claim that the survivors of the Parkland high school shooting are actors faking their distress?

How vicious do you have to taunt the parents of the first graders massacred at Sandy Hook elementary school?

How could anyone with a modicum of compassion insist that the Pulse night club horror was faked?

What’s the difference between tormenting a father whose son died at the hands of midwives and tormenting a Sandy Hook parent whose child died at the hand of a gun user? Nothing.

Right wing trolls have done all three. Even more horrifying than their utter lack of decency is the fact that other right wing commentators/Facebook users/Tweeters haven’t rebuked them, but embraced these vile lies instead. Apparently it is easier and more comforting for gun rights activists to believe outrageous falsehoods than to acknowledge the tragedies that arise as a result of their beloved ideology.

Lest you think that such vicious behavior is somehow restricted only to gun rights activists, consider the response of midwives and lactation consultants to the tragedies that arise as a result of their beloved ideologies.

UK midwife Sheena Byrom, ironically author of the a book about “kindness, compassion and respect” in maternity care has relentlessly trolled loss father James Titcombe who has had the temerity to insist that the death of his son at the hands of midwives could have been prevented.

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Highlights include:

oh James-don’t let’s get on that roll again …

and:

getting out of bed in the morning has risks

What’s the difference between tormenting a father whose son died at the hands of midwives and tormenting a Sandy Hook parent whose child died at the hand of a gun user? Nothing.

In the wake of newspaper reports detailing the massive increase in UK liability claims as a result of injured and dead babies, Australian midwife Hannah Dahlen declared that the dead babies were “fake news.”

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For all those UK midwives feeling hammered this week by Fake News remember “thinking is difficult which is why most people judge” #ENOUGH!

What’s the difference between claiming that dead babies are fake news and claiming that the Pulse nightclub massacre didn’t happen? Nothing.

Lactivists are no better. When the story of Baby Landon Johnson broke, the story of a baby who died of dehydration from insufficient breastmilk, various lactation professionals and lactivists weighed in with their belief that the baby didn’t die of dehydration, some people even going so far as to fabricate the vile slander that Landon had been suffocated by his mother’s inattention when she was holding him.

What’s the difference between claiming that Landon’s mother lied about his death and claiming that the survivors of the Parkland school shooting are lying about their suffering and grief. Absolutely nothing!

Even more horrifying than their utter lack of decency is the fact that other midwives and lactation consultants commentators/Facebook users/Tweeters haven’t rebuked them, but embraced these vile lies instead. Apparently it is easier and more comforting for midwives and lactation consultants to believe outrageous falsehoods than to acknowledge the tragedies that arise as a result of their beloved ideologies.

The reason there’s no difference is because midwives and lactation consultants are afflicted by the same problem that bedevils right wing trolls: cognitive dissonance.

In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance. This is done by making changes to justify their stressful behavior, either by adding new parts to the cognition causing the psychological dissonance, or by actively avoiding social situations and/or contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.

Gun rights activists insist that lax gun laws have no impact on public safety. When a gun massacre occurs precisely because of lax gun laws they have two choices to reduce cognitive dissonance. They can give up their treasured belief that widespread gun ownership is not dangerous, or — easier and more comfortable — they can pretend that gun massacres didn’t happen, blame the suffers as faking their suffering, or, worst of all, insist that the survivors are somehow responsible for their own suffering.

Many midwives and natural childbirth advocates insist that unmedicated vaginal birth (so called “normal” birth) is safest. When babies die because of the philosophy of normal birth, they have two choices to reduce cognitive dissonance. They can give up their treasured belief about normal birth or — easier and more comfortable — they can pretend that dead babies are “fake news”, insist that grieving parents are unfairly blaming the ideology, or, worst of all, insist that the survivors are somehow responsible for their own suffering.

Lactation consultants are certain that breastfeeding is best for every baby. When babies die because of aggressive breastfeeding promotion, they have two choices. They can give up their treasured belief about breastfeeding or — easier and more comfortable — they can pretend that dead babies are “fake news,” insist that grieving parents are unfairly blaming the ideology, or, worst of all, insist that the survivors are somehow responsible for their own suffering.

I have some sympathy for those suffering from cognitive dissonance. If you base your identity on a belief that turns out to be not merely false, but dangerous, it is very difficult to reconcile that treasured belief with the even more powerful need to feel you are a good person. It’s so much easier and more satisfying to insist that the tragic result of your belief didn’t happen and to troll the people whose suffering is making a mockery of your treasured belief.

I have no sympathy whatsoever for the wider community that fails to call those issuing vile accusations to account. I have no sympathy for gun owners who won’t disavow the ugly tactics of those who insist that deaths are fake news and grieving survivors are actors. Indeed, I find it inexplicable and indefensible. Similarly, I find it inexplicable and indefensible for the wider midwifery community’s failure to call the Sheena Byroms and Hannah Dahlens to account for their reprehensible claims that dead babies are fake news and grieving survivors have nefarious motives or even deserve their suffering. I find it inexplicable for the wider lactation community’s failure to call those questioning the sincerity and motivations of  the Fed Is Best founders and community members.

What do midwives and lactation consultants have in common with right wing trolls? Their willingness to do and say anything, no matter how vile, to ease their own cognitive dissonance.

  • Anna

    Sheena Byrom is a MONSTER. Just unbelievable in her position to respond like that. She could have said nothing, just ignored the post but instead she posted that. What a vile person. I just can’t believe how awful some of these women are. Every time I think I can’t hear anything worse, along comes something like this.

  • attitude devant

    At the risk of inviting lots of criticism, I’d like to point out that a similar mechanism is in play when we talk about abortion. Now I’ve never had an abortion but apparently 1 in 4 American women have. Many of those women identify as pro-life. I can’t even begin to tell you how many women think THEIR own personal abortion was the right thing for them, but abortion shouldn’t be legal. You’d think that finding yourself in the position of needing an abortion would make you re-think your stance and embrace a fuller understanding of the issues, but it’s apparently not the case. There’s an exception made for one’s self, but everyone else is an evil slut.

  • MaineJen

    She used the phrase Fake News? That’s what she went with?

    Yes, she’s officially on the same level as the Newtown Truthers. Lowest of the low.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    There’s also an element of what they were saying when that zoo staff had to kill an ape to save a little boy a few years back. The boy’d climbed into the ape’s enclosure. “Why weren’t the parents watching the kid?” and “They shouldn’t have had so many if they couldn’t keep watch on one of them” and bs like that. Even my first thought of “that’s why I have a leash” was lame. There are lots of times when my escape artists run off, even with leashes. I’m taking care of one and the other’s run off. You cannot watch someone every literal minute of the day and little kids are little kids. Glad the zoo put more barriers in, though. I’ve plucked my younger monkey off the top of the wing chair thrice this morning. She was going for the top of the bookcase. Those are wedged in front so they lean slightly backwards.

    • MaineJen

      Oh god, Harambe. The life of a child >>>>> the life of an animal, even an ape. Fight me.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        I won’t, that’s for damn sure. Besides, zookeepers do not kill for no reason, especially in this day and age. Especially the endangered ones like gorillas.

        • f2473627

          yes the gorillas that were doing fine until miss cunt and her crothfruit showed up. i wish someone would shoot her.

      • f2473627

        the life of harambe is more important you stupid bitch. your spawn is not an endagered species

    • Box of salt

      An aside: here in earthquake country, they sell hardware to bolt bookcases etc to walls. Doubles as babyproofing. You might want to look into it.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        I know, but I’m not sure my landlord will approve.

        • If you can hang a picture you can use these to keep most furniture from tipping under normal circumstances… or at least till the kidletts are big enough to understand the sentence “No. The shelf will fall and squash you flat.”
          https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-2-in-Galvanized-Corner-Brace-4-Pack-15267/202033914

        • Daleth

          Consequence A: Landlord disapproves and deducts $ from your deposit to pay to spackle and repaint those spots on the wall.

          Consequence B: Your kids get seriously injured or killed.

          The choice seems clear… also remember that you can repair those spots on the wall yourself when you’re moving out, if you want to avoid deductions from your deposit.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            The bookcases are shimmed backwards, not just freestanding. The CPS woman approved.

    • mabelcruet

      This is what you need-they won’t be pulling down shelves any time soon https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef2dee798516a47c404f1d166f217735bdc8cb91d34f8ee23a3aabb20cd17993.jpg

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        lol. I’m pretty sure they’d enjoy it too. And Girlbard would be hanging like a monkey from the top.

    • f2473627

      the zoo had to take extra precautions for a shitty mother, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the fence before the butt monkey rolled in. an ape is a sentient living being impisoned for our viewing pleasure.he shouldn’t have to die because of the actions of a negligent mother. i can’t believe no one is pressing charges. i hope she never finds work as a child minder again and her own child should be taken away too. she proved she cannot be trusted with children.