Sunday, January 2, 2011

Leaky Strong- A Fairytale

Once upon a time there was a quiet but active little community of like-minded people.  That weren't all exactly alike and they didn't agree on everything but at their core they were all united.  This community worked hard to keep things encouraging, supportive and safe for all.  Family minded, the people loved to share stories and pictures of their children growing strong and celebrated even the smallest victory together.  They had a pretty good funny bone and loved laughter but were always honest about the challenges and struggles they faced.  If someone needed to cry they could always find a caring shoulder and a fresh hankie.  It was tight knit but welcoming to newcomers.  As long as everyone could abide by the agreed upon guidelines of respectful dialogue, friendly encouragement, no name-calling or belittling, and give kind, honest support this peaceful community would flourish as a safe haven for many.  Occasionally they would be set upon by trolls, mean creatures that liked to taunt and mock the citizens of the community by poking sticks at them but they were usually ignored and when bored they'd move on to another community to heckle.  Occasionally the community would attract wolves with an evil glint in their eyes, stalking their victims seeking tastes of something forbidden but the people would rally and banish the wolves restoring safety to the land.  And so it was the community was safe, cherished and loved by many, growing in number and wisdom.

Until one morning they woke up and the lord of the land totally wiped out the entire structure of the community.  It was gone.  At first confused and hurt the scattered members searched for their beloved space but alas, it seemed to have vanished. 

Sound like a fairytale?  It very nearly is.

This morning I woke to what I knew would be a very busy day with my father-in-law visiting, lunch out and tentative plans for a family outing.  Planning on going to church I got breakfast rolling, kids dressed, jumped in the shower, changed a diaper of epic proportions and managed to get out of my bathrobe and fairly decently dressed all before sitting to breastfeed Smunchie for the morning.  I noticed a text on my phone and after settling in to nurse and check Facebook, Twitter and emails I opened the text.  Distracted by the fact that The Leaky Boob Facebook page wouldn't load but kept directing me to my newsfeed I clicked my profile and checked the text from The Piano Man.  I puzzled at his text "OMG!!! TLB facebook!" before a sinking feeling hit me.  Looking at my profile there was a post from a regular Leaky (what we call the TLB Facebook "likers") asking where the page was.  Just below that post was one from Jessi, the girl that had originally helped me set-up The Leaky Boob Facebook page: "eep, looks like someone reported TLB.  I just got a message it was removed for violation of TOS."  Just to be sure I tried to get there 1 more time.  Nothing.

Facebook messages, emails, Twitter and TLB forum posts had already begun pouring in before I was even up for the day it turns out.  From around the world Leakies started rallying.  As one put it "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" and Facebook just scorned close to 5,000 not to mention all those that will catch wind of this that weren't already a part of The Leaky Boob.

I'm not going to lie, honesty is something valued around TLB, I sat on my couch and cried.  Not a typical response for me but I wasn't crying for myself.  So many women found woman to woman support, support from her equals that have walked in her shoes and now that place was gone.  A treasure trove of wisdom that empowered her as a mother.  Now this community had it's space taken away.  So I cried for our community.  Then I got my cup of coffee, started reading emails, approving forum registrations and reading the flood of support I slowly grew strong.  Leaky strong.

Laura, a steadfast Leaky in Ireland had already set-up a Bring Back The Leaky Boob page in protest and it grew to over 4,000 in less than 16 hours.  Leakies posted on Mark Zuckerberg's discussion board, asking him to go after truly offensive pages and reinstate TLB. Other parenting and breastfeeding support pages such as Best for Babes, Nursing Freedom, Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths, Bella Luna Toys, Hip Mountain Mama, Accustomed Chaos, Nurtured Child, Job Description Mommy, Wild Mother Arts, The Mandala Journey, Diapeze.com, Elegant Mommy, Near Mama's Heart, Just West of Crunchy, and so, so, so many more posted in an outcry of support.  I'm sure I missed some favorites but the response was HUGE!

I think our fairytale space will be restored, though we don't have an actual ending yet.  I don't believe in endings anyway, just a continuation of the journey.  As we unite together (there's a TLB Support page too, a temporary space for ongoing breastfeeding and parenting support) and show not only Facebook but the world what community and support means to us we can make a difference.  Not surprisingly I have a lot of thoughts on all this but here I just wanted to share the story of what happened to The Leaky Boob space on Facebook.  Thank you everyone that has shown support, we are Leaky strong.

18 comments:

  1. yay! and we're planning a physical nurse in at the facebook headquarters where the great and powerful lord of the land works here in california! we are behind you 3000% and even tho i was never a leaky i was supper bummed to see you gone when i went to suggest you to a friend who is about to have her first and wants to breastfeed. don't worry, leaky, we've got your b@@b!

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  2. I have heard of a nurse-in at their Seattle office, too.

    I am so mad that these things keep happening on Facebook. I hope they reinstate your page soon so mothers can get the support they need.

    Sharing this on my fb now.

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  3. When they say it violates TOS, do they give any more specifics than that? A photo? The name? What?!
    ARGH.

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  4. I am angry, like you, for the Mothers that will not find support they are looking for and help with breastfeeding. You are an awesome proponent of a wonderful breastfeeding community and I look forward to helping you continue the story.

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  5. I confess to being only an occasional reader before -- always loved the posts, but not a regular followed -- but I was well aware how much people loved it. To see it TOS'd (probably for *gasp* pictures of breasts! Feeding children!) ticks me off, and I'm hoping that the report gets reversed soon.

    I'm rootin' for y'all. :D

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  6. This has been so sad. When I read this on Twitter this morning I was so angry because I feel like us breastfeeding women are on this constant uphill battle. Physically we have to figure out how to do it, then we have to figure out how to do it in public, around unsupportive families, judgy friends, etc. No cultural support (here in the US anyway). Even a FB picture is 'obscene.'

    Facebook is so huge! If they had a different stance on breastfeeding would it help change cultural perception? We're doing a nurse-in here in Seattle in support of all breastfeeding women and their nursing children.

    We support you and hope to see your page reinstated with a big fat apology. You have a lot of support. Much love to you!

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  7. I was so sad to see what had happened. After stewing about it all day, I did what I could and sent messages and posted on the walls of other mother-friendly FB pages to spread the word. I also wrote a blog post about it.

    http://attachedatthenip.blogspot.com/2011/01/bring-back-leaky-bb.html.

    What else can we do?

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  8. I, like many of your "leakies" am extremely sad about this. I think we are all taking it a little personally. We are behind you 100%! Can't wait for you to be back! Will follow you here for now.

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  9. Jessica! I am a full supporter! I am so sorry that this happen! its just amazing to me what some people can do.

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  10. ((((hugs)))) We will over come.

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  11. As you know, a member of DBM alerted me to this yesterday morning and, like you, I just assummed it was a glitch! I couldn't actually fathom HOW your page could offend anyone - but this is the internet, and it's SO easy for someone to make trouble if that's what they want to do :( Still, I am delighted to see so many loyal members of TLB rallying round to protect what they care about, and I know that (even though you must feel temped just to throw your hands in the air!) your group has helped - and continues to help - thousands of mothers and their babies! That's why this issue is so important, we can't let FB continue to target and attack breastfeeding in such a way! I hope you have been able to get a ton of press on your side, even though I know it doesn't sit well with you (and I understand that!). This is an opportunity to bring FB to account for this continued behaviour, and (as I hope you know) if there is anything I can do to help, please just ask! With all warm wishes from all of us on the other side of 'the pond' X

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  12. I learnt so so much from your FB page, and the couple of times I was able to give advice to other mums made me feel really valued and helpful. I am outraged and saddened that ANYTHING about TLB was "offensive". GGGGRRRRR

    Im changing my profile picture to "The Leaky B@@b. Bring it back facebook!"

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  13. This would make a much better movie than the stupid origins of Facebook movie... They just have to reinstate TLB or the balance of justice will be skewed in the universe.

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  14. I wasn't part of your community on facebook but I had heard of it. I host the Mamas and Babies blog and facebook page, and I'm seriously saddened and infuriated by this happening. I'm upset for you in behalf of your likers! I've posted on my page about this, and I'm sure your support will be growing more and more as the word spreads. You have my support.

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  15. Cheryl Parsons ThaxtonJanuary 3, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    My breastfeeding days are long over and we didn't even have internet in those days, much less FB or TLB, but a friend of mine is extremely upset that FB has removed the link to this site and if she's upset about it then so am I. Young (and old) mothers can use all the help and support they can get, nursing or otherwise!!! Shame on Facebook!

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  16. I regularly send new nursing moms or moms with questions and moms who aren't even having issues to TLB. It is a GREAT resource! <3 You TLB!!! I've learned so much on the FB page and the forums. And its so nice and mostly drama free that I never feel that a comment I make will be pounced upon and verbally blasted. Such a safe place for moms.

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  17. I would have cried too! You worked so hard and you've built such a wonderful community. Breastfeeding is not obscene, and it will be back. You can't keep a good thing down!!

    ((Big hugs))

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  18. Hi. I read about this via MSN and I think it SUCKS what Facebook has done. So, I wrote the following and posted on my Facebook status:

    Facebook removed an incredibly supportive place for breastfeeding women to ask questions, seek advice, connect and celebrate, deciding that pictures of a mother breastfeeding a child is inappropriate. That page had over 16,000 members and all because Facebook says it’s obscene. Copy and paste this message to your status for ONE HOUR to support breastfeeding mothers everywhere.

    Good luck and here's hoping the page is reinstated. Sincerely, TimCanadien

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