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Friday, August 9, 2013

Love Letter to You

In the last couple of days, a stress symptom has shown up in me that I have never before in 35 years experienced - stuttering. It, along with a recurrent eye twitch (also completely new to me) cropped up since "the incident" (click here if you don't know what I'm talking about and for all the ways you can still keep in touch) and it's so bizarre. I imagine once ZP is completely removed from FB it'll taper off and go away, but until then it's kind of unnerving, proving to me that I'm making the right decision, and providing me with further evidence of how deeply this has affected me.

This stress is as a result of not just the incident in the link above, but the unbelievable lack of support I've gotten from a small, but very self-righteous and vocal crowd in my own Zen Parenting community. It's jaw-dropping really. Zen Parent Emma said it really well, "I am absolutely horrified at the continued criticism, attempted emotional blackmail and judgemental comments of people. I am sorry to see this page go and will miss it. I have learnt so much from posts here and have loved being part of the community. I admire and respect Zen. I realise that her comments may be too direct and even viewed as aggressive by some but that is because she is passionate about what she believes in. I am the same. Everyone has a limit on how much abuse they will take and I, for one, would have been homicidal if such awful comments were directed at my daughter. Zen has been a model of restraint compared to that. If people feel any negativity towards her now the answer is simple - unlike the page and never read any of her work again. Why you would choose to go out of your way to continue being unpleasant is beyond me - don't you have better things to do?!! Good luck Zen and thank you. See you on your blog" Ya, Emma, I have been pretty horrified and taken aback myself. I had no idea I'd be facing that on top of everything else. (Queue the stuttering and eye twitching again.) Zen Parent Jamie also did a great job of summing it all up for those who have continued to hit me while I've been down when she said, "Toddlers might not 'use' fb, but they will... They will be able to track and trace everything about them, their family, their everything that has been shared. I agree with removing yourself for the protection of you, your child and your sanity. It's just not worth it. There are LOTS of people out there that jump on board the bully train because its easy to bully behind a screen. It's easy to pick on someone you don't know. It's easy to find anything to push buttons. It's hard to be that target. It's hard to keep taking it over and over. It's impossible to ignore all comments, all the time. I understand wanting this page to continue. It's proven to provoke thought and encourage stronger beliefs in 'taboo' subjects and most importantly to educate. Page owners don't control who their audience is. They don't control who shares what. They put their heart and soul in these posts and try to personalize it to make it real. When that reality is crushed into evil and hatred its time to change direction. That is what she is doing. She's not giving up. Just changing the venue in which she continues her education. Way to stand up for yourself. I'm so sorry you have had to endure this. All of this happened for a reason. You were meant to do more and I can't wait to see what you accomplish. Thank you for what you have taught me." These amazing comments have been the reason I've been able to wade through all the muck - the foul, disgusting muck.

Luckily, those comments have not been the norm. Thankfully and unexpectedly, I've received an outpouring of emotional, heartfelt, loyal, and fiercely supportive comments and messages, the likes of which are overwhelming (literally...I can't answer them all). I keep saying "thank you" to people, but it seems insufficient. I don't just feel thanks for your words, that are so much more than words, but love. I feel love for each and every one of you. I'm not just talking the fake love that gets thrown about online all the time when we think a comment is cool, someone is funny, or one of us has a cute story. I mean love. The real stuff. And I am not one to either blow smoke up anyone's butt or say what I do not mean.

I have gotten message after comment after email after after after from both those whose names I recognize as being very active on the page and those whose names I've never before seen, because they have been silently watching all this time. They're filled with nothing but messages of support. "I'm selfishly sad, but would absolutely do the same thing." "I wish things didn't have to be this way, but am impressed that you're doing the right thing by your family." "I would expect nothing less from you and doing this is what makes you Zen Mama." "I'm disappointed that you'll be gone, but completely understand and support your decision." And every variation that made my heart swell and my eyes fill every time. Knowing that you all get it, knowing that you all understand that my son comes before all and any else, knowing that so many are behind me just chokes me up.

Leaving you all behind isn't easy. I have no real life friends who are like me. I am a donkey amongst elephants, a gentle lover of my child and all amongst childists, a black sheep amongst the flock of lily-white. You all have become friends and family to me. You helped me every bit as much as the slew of supporters have said I've helped them. I've learned every bit as much from you as you say you have from me.

We have been outraged together, hurt together, grown together, challenged each other, and cracked up with one another. I'm not sure what I'll miss most. We have shared of ourselves and from that sharing both taught and learned.

While I am not leaving the blogosphere or even social media altogether, I am not naive enough to believe I will meet you all (or even most) again. I know most of you will stay on FB and not follow me elsewhere and I understand why. So, it is here that we part ways and here that I again say my inadequate "thank you." It's not much, it's not enough, but it's all I have. Thank you. I love you all.

Zen Mama

Special thanks and eternal gratitude go to:

my son, who has always been and will always be my inspiration for all things good and right I do in the world

my husband, who has been a rock during all of this in a way I've seen him be only during labor (and he was amazing though that so...)

my admins, Barbara, Lorna, and Raphael who you never really got to know personally, but who I have been blessed to know and grown to love and adore like family

Our Muddy Boots and On the Fence for always being there for me even before Zen Parenting was born

I Am Not the Babysitter, Love Parenting, Naturally Down to Earth, Evolutionary Parenting, and Barrel of Oranges for supporting me behind the scenes (and, in the case of my favorite, offering to do bad things to Zen Son's attackers for and with me)

you, wonderful you, who will be missed (unless, of course, you follow me elsewhere, which I hope you do!)


  1. I'm so sad to see you go but am so proud of you for making the right choice for your family. I was one of the silent watchers and thought your photo lovely - but that could be my redhead bias - my son got my hubbys blonde instead of my red! I will definitely be following you other places. Thank you for a great time Zen Mama! (PS - you should read Roots Of Desire. It explores the beginnings of red hair and the social constructs we experience today. Very interesting!)

    1. Thank you so much for your support, Kara. It means more than you know.

  2. fuck american airlines, fuck facebook, & fuck all those unutterably rude, worthless, evil little grinshites who said such rotty things. it's somewhat rare that i use such a spate of language, but really, nothing else is adequate. ignorant bastards. i'll continue to read your musings, as always, on the blog site. & for the record, i think your son looks lovely, your breasts look just fine to me, & i share your conviction that parenting is not for dilettantes...anyone who says otherwise is probably best fed to carnivorous zoo animals.

    1. You're preaching to the choir. Fuck them all is right and basically what I wanted to say, but with all the evil things coming from my own Zen Parents, I just wasn't up for the response. Thank you so much for saying it all for me!

  3. I'm just... astounded that this even happened. You have to think, those people must be living such sad, empty little lives to be putting time and energy into calling a child names. We might feel sorry for them if they weren't so reprehensible. Shameless nerd reference, but you know the little bundle in the train station in the last Harry Potter book just wailing in pain from self-inflicted misery and "beyond our help?" That's pretty much what these people must look like on the inside. Talk about soulless. Pathetic, really. Good luck in all your future ventures and may you forget as much as you can about this whole sorry ordeal.

  4. It is unacceptable to speak like that about someone's child. I am so sorry you have had to endure this.

  5. Wow is all I can say. I am also a silent follower who has loved your work. It is devastating & jaw dropping to read such offensive, immature, disgusting & ridiculous comments that honestly make me question the humanity of human beings:( You are an amazing strong person & please let the voice of all your supporters be the positive to come out of all of this. xx

  6. I feel like a dear friend moved and I didn't get to hug her goodbye. It's a conflicting feeling because I love her and need her to be happy and leaving is what she needed to do. Just like in real life, we'll message and email, and things will feel begin to feel like a new normal and I'll adjust....but I sure will miss our coffee dates (i.e. Zen Parenting a la FB). I never even got to know you "irl", but you've been such an intricate part of mine. I thank you, my children thank you...my husband will thank you--one day. You are loved and appreciated ZenMama! <3~C. Amey

  7. This is absolutely disturbing. I'll never understand how people can be so cruel and ugly.

    Your son is quite adorable. Obviously, nobody honestly thinks your son is ugly. They knew just what to say to a mother to break her. :-/ sick, sick people.

  8. I'm so sorry this happened to you! I can only hope that through this horrible assault perhaps there has been a raised awareness and more people are becoming aware of the judgements and bullying that many breastfeeding mums face.

    I wish you love and healing, I hope you feel more like yourself soon.

    I do wonder if these disgusting people are trolls employed by AA or a formula company or something to break us natural mums? Maybe that's me being cynical..?


  9. I am the Emma you quoted and I am happy to know my support has helped you through these awful times. I haven't subscribed to here yet as I have only been on my mobile but I will be subscribing as soon as I can get to my PC. I am a huge fan of your work and grateful for your advocacy on behalf of the Zen Parent Community.

    1. Emma, your support just warms my heart and helps make it whole again. <3

  10. I strongly believe people who say such terrible things about others are unable to accept something about themselves. They try to bring others down. I know it's hurtful but keep your chin up. You are doing the most important work, advocating for children. Your son is so lucky to have such a strong mom!

  11. I am in shock....we live in a society which undervalues anything that has any value...thank-you for raising awareness, even through this horrible display of humanity you are still the victor for raising awareness....for making people see very publicly that there is another way....

    I am sorry that you have suffered, the scars will fade, and you will have made a difference

    ps your baby is just a little cutie-pie :)

  12. I am so sorry about the stuttering and eye twitching. I went through that at 17 when I was kicked out of my step-mom and dad's house. My ever-loving 8 year older sister took me under her wing and in time I healed. You are no doubt stronger than I am and you will recover brilliantly.

    I just wanted to let you know that the hate isn't just directed at people who aren't living the mainstream life in parenting. It just seems to be ever present and everywhere. Last night I read on my birth board that a young niece of a poster was pregnant and posted an announcement on FB. People on the niece's FB page were calling her a liar and that they hoped she would lose the baby. Who in the crap says that? I mean, this is sick.

    I for one, believe in what you do, and if your page didn't exist I would feel so alone. I have one IRL friend who parents like this but otherwise I am the lone wolf out here like you. Keep up the good work, I will be reading.

    By the way, I think your son is a doll. And your husband is awesome too for supporting you.

  13. Hi Zen Mamma, I hope your peace returns quickly, sending peace to you ! I loved your letter ! I wanted to suggest a something for your stress related symptoms. I have had that eye twitch from stress. The link I am sharing is for information, although not he first one I used, I learned about magnesium deficiency from research for restless leg for my husband. It worked for us. Stress depletes our much needed magnesium. Your posts have helped me in so many ways, I want to help you if I can. http://www.mygutsy.com/homemade-magnesium-oil-and-giveaway/ peaceful thoughts to your whole family !
    Be well Zen Family ! ❤

  14. Just wanted to say thank you for normalising so much stuff and for being confident to share your photos. When I saw the pics where you were breastfeeding on the couch watching tv or even having your toddler ask for milk while you were on the loo, I felt so not alone in the normal things that happen in my home every day. A million times over, thank you! !! :-)

  15. Im so so sorry those horrible disgusting vile creatures said those things about you and your beautiful child, im sat in tears reading the disgusting things that were said how could anyone be so cruel, im still breastfeeding my 15 month old and iv had some horrible things said but it breaks my heart to think about what's been said to you

    snuggle your boy tight and tell him how much you and DH love him as that's all that matters, luckily he doesn't know what happened and although you will carry it for a bit just think Hun you're a better person than those scumbags you are feeding your child nurturing loving and caring for him and he deserves the best his mummy, daddy and milky snuggles

    thank you for everything you have shared with us i will continue to follow you wherever you go next