Birth Monopoly’s overall goal is for productive and respectful conversation that promotes understanding of each other and various topics.
We often address topics that touch on our own bad memories, oppression, and trauma. We acknowledge some level of commitment to making our spaces safe for people who routinely experience invalidation around their birth stories and their sexual or birth trauma, as well as their color, sex, size, life experiences, and sexual identity. Please note it is not possible for any space to be 100% safe and we balance this commitment with the need for public conversation and education. Much of the content we post can be triggering for people. Please use our platforms with that in mind.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING
2. RACISM AND SEXISM
3. GENDER INCLUSIVITY
4. “THIS TOPIC DOESN’T RELATE TO BIRTH”
6. YOU GET TO CHOOSE WHETHER OR NOT YOU FOLLOW BIRTH MONOPOLY
1. TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING
- If you feel your heart racing, your head a little fizzy, very emotional, or overwhelmed by memories, you may be experiencing a trigger. It is usually a good idea to sit in that trigger and feel what you are feeling rather than reacting out to others in that moment. Triggers can be very powerful opportunities for us to address where we need healing, and they can also be damaging when we speak out of them in our hurt.
- It is helpful to identify when someone else is acting out of a trigger, and respond by giving them space to process rather than pushing back on their trigger. For example, if someone says, “You should just be happy your baby is healthy and not complain! I had an episiotomy without consent and I didn’t like it but my baby is just fine!” it is usually more useful to simply validate their experience than to argue their comment about you. Like: “I’m glad to hear your baby is healthy, and sorry to hear something was done to your body without your permission.”
- It is healing for others when you show that you are listening and hearing rather than trying to advise or fix them.
- It’s okay to be wrong and to be vulnerable. It is a good way to build trust and facilitate productive conversation by acknowledging you were wrong and/or were feeling triggered or vulnerable.
- It can feel really good to take back your time by walking away from a conversation.
2. RACISM & SEXISM
We operate from an evolving understanding of how U.S. culture and systems were founded by white, land-owning males and slaveholders, with legal and other systems shaped to support economic and social structures that fundamentally excluded women and people of color like indigenous and African-American communities. Birth Monopoly recognizes a responsibility to combat the ways in which that historical reality manifests today in law, public health, cultural biases, and the flow of capital.
If someone makes a comment on our social media platforms indicating they don’t understand racism (for example, “I don’t see color”), we will no longer engage them there. Instead, we will direct that person to anti-racism resources (below) where they can decide how much work they want to put into educating themselves, rather than engage in public discussion that might make Black, Indigenous, or People of Color feel less welcome or valued. If they don’t take on that work and they continue to make comments about how they don’t understand racism, those comments will be deleted and they will be banned. (Read about how we came to this June 2020 policy update.)
There is lots of information available on the Internet about how racism and sexism negatively impact health outcomes and experiences of trauma in healthcare and specifically in maternity care. We encourage everyone to learn more about these topics, and, while we leave room for learning, please expect that our community will be moderated when it comes to racism and sexism.
A definition of white supremacy culture
Document courtesy of Heather Thompson, PhD and Elephant Circle
Suggested by the Birth Monopoly community
3. GENDER INCLUSIVITY
Birth Monopoly’s policy is to use both the terms “people” and “women” to refer to human beings who are or may become pregnant. This is because 1) women are people and our language is a reminder of that in a culture that often defaults to men, and 2) not every person who gives birth identifies as a woman. Our policy reflects our belief that it is important not to erase the identities of people giving birth–those who identify as women and those who do not.
4. “THIS TOPIC DOESN’T RELATE TO BIRTH.”
We get to post what we want.
Birth Monopoly does not delete or ban people on social media, or block their comments on the website, merely because we disagree with someone. We may do so around the following:
- Statements that are factually incorrect
- Statements that perpetuate harmful beliefs around racism and sexism
- Objectionable, inflammatory, divisive, or hate speech
- Disrespect of others, including of Birth Monopoly
- Multiple commenters targeting or ganging up on someone
- The time, capacity, and safety of our admins: Birth Monopoly needs to be safe for the people who run it, too! We will not tolerate admins being harassed or maligned on our platforms.
Sometimes people ask why we do not moderate more aggressively. Usually, this is because we believe there is educational value in allowing public discussion that evolves towards better understanding of each other or of a topic. At other times, it is because we want to give someone space to process or express themselves, even when it is coming out in ways that seem disrespectful or objectionable.
6. YOU GET TO CHOOSE WHETHER OR NOT YOU FOLLOW BIRTH MONOPOLY.
Thank you for helping make this community a special place! It takes work from all of us.
This policy is dated January 2019. It will evolve over time, with or without notice.